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June 09, 2011


Mary Flynn

I'm not a big applique person (meaning I haven't mastered it myself but have done a bit).

What about using lapel stick? Also...the applicator for Roxanne's I only ever hear complaints and so people by applicators from craft shops to replace....with that said...Elmer's glue (small dabs) works well and dries quickly with a set of the iron. Do you ever visit Carrie's blog "A Passion of Applique?" She is a pro and can give you awesome tips. Good luck


That is one reason why I put the freezer paper on the right side of the fabric. It is so difficult at times to get it out. Another reason I put it on the right side is that when you pull the template off the fabric it 'puffs' the fabric up a bit and it looks not 3-d, but it does stand out a bit.

Karen L.

The only thing I know about applique is to use silk thread because it blends so well into the fabric.

Karen L.


Nicole, I use a toothpick with roxanne's glue, and only a small dab of it in places that make the piece not move. And the wax paper method, I iron a few pieces together first and then cut out the shape. I find it easier. Really I think it is a waste of freezer paper. But that is just my personal opinion. Your leaf looks great. Good job! great points. Lizzie

Karen C

I learned to applique using 2 layers of freezer paper. The beginning of the process is the same as yours .... iron the template to the back side of the fabric, trim the allowance to 1/4 inch max, starch and iron to the back. But then I iron the whole piece again to warm up the wax on the template and remove the template (gently) if any edges pop up a bit... just touch them with an iron. Pulling the template out at this point does not remove the crease. Now that the template is out, I use the teeny-tinyist amount of Roxanne's glue baste it on the edge you turned under but not right on the edge but back a 1/8 to 1/16. With this method I'm able to reuse the templates as long as the wax lasts on them. Hope this helps.

Pam P

Hi Nicole - Try drawing your applique shape on one piece of freezer paper, then fuse it to the second piece of freezer paper and cut out your shape. Do the Starch & Press for your seam allowence & then remove the freezer paper. Now you can glue baste your shape onto your background - many applique bloggers ay "dot, dot, not alot". You can also try reading Erin Russek's blog (One Piece At A Time) - she has a ton of great advice & lots of tutorials :) Good luck! You're off to a great start; you'll find your way - there are many different methods of applique - but this is the way I do it. Also, No, I don't cut the back of my quilt - I just can't bring myself to do it :)


I do everything that Karen C does. I double my paper so that I can reuse the templates again. Use glue sparingly. It is very difficult to 'needle' through on those pesky little points! I use Roxanne's glue stick...just a touch. I use tiny applique pins to hold my pieces in place. An absolute must is silk thread. I love Kimono silk and use mainly neutral colors. A friend introduced me to Bohin #10 them! They are extra thin and very long. They take a bit of getting used to but I can get a good grip on them and I don't need to use a thimble.

Barbara Anne

I'm learning such a lot! Thanks for your good questions, Nicole, and thanks to everyone for sharing your favorite techniques and for the links!

A friend who does a lot of applique told me she cuts the background fabric out from under her large applique pieces (leaving the seam allowance of course) because that makes them lie like the machine sewn seams. She leaves the background fabric under her small applique shapes.


Susan Ramey Cleveland

I like the idea of using two layers of FP. I had never heard of that, but I'm going to try it.


Hi Nicole! I cheat with applique- there's a product here called "Floriani- Stitch and wash". It is the same priciple- you iron it on to the wrong side of the fabric, cut the shape out and then put a glue line around the seam allowance and stick it down. I then roxanne it on to the background and blind stitch around it. The product doesn't have to be removed because when you wash it, it kind of disolves- it doesn't entirely disappear but you can't tell that it is there and it definitely isn't stiff! I'm not sure if you can get it in America but I don't see why you couldn't!


Why would you keep the freezer paper on until after you have appliqued it??? Remove it after you have turned the seam under/over and before you place it onto your background fabric. Once you remove the freezer paper then your applique piece will lie nice and flat. Use just a couple of very, very small dots (pinhead size) of baste it glue or the small clover applique pins to set your piece in place "voila" ready to stitch. I use double layers of freezer paper because it gives you a stronger edge for turning the fabric over on. Templates can then be used more than once if you require more than one of that shape and you don't have to draw the same shape over and over.


If you are making a lot of the same shapes go buy a package of Templar template plastic. I use the starch method using it. The benefit is you can pop it right out.


I take the paper out, too, and just glue or pin on my fabric. I also like the double-layer of freezer-paper. I learned most of the method I use from Pearl Pereira ( but I've improvised my own method. Love that you're sharing this and having fun! Makes me want to pull some projects out for summer appliqué!


I haven't done a lot of applique but my method is to remove the freezer paper before I pin the piece to the background (I pin rather than glue but the glue method sounds worth a try). I use the freezer paper only as a guide for ironing the raw edges under and getting smooth curves, etc. But I leave it there until ready to pin to the background, just to prevent the piece from losing its shape while waiting.

I do cut the backing out from behind larger shapes (not small ones like your leaves, and maybe the apples can be left too - hard to tell how big they are). That reduces the bulk and is essential if you plan to hand quilt. If you are going to cut the backing out anyway, then you can safely leave the freezer paper in place until that point if you think it helps maintain the shape while you sew it down. Be careful not to sew through the freezer paper though.

Paula Zumaris

Like Julie, I use no-melt template plastic. You get a nice crisp edge and then pops right out before you put the piece in place. It also works well to slide into stems before you press. Many shapes will work again for other projects. I would rather baste a little than use glue.


I don't use glue at all but baste my pieces in place with thread. What I do is I cut out the freezer paper to the correct size of the applique piece, fuse it to the top of my piece and cut around it 1/4". Then, I place my piece on my background with the freezer paper still fused. Baste using a contrasting color of thread around the entire piece right next to the freezer paper. Remove the freezer paper. Then, as I needle turn applique, I take out the basting stitches as I go. The basting stitches keep it from shifting and gives you a nice line to work with. Also, there is no glue to worry about.
For your question about cutting out the back, I don't think you lose the strength because just like piecing, you still have 1/4" seam.

Paula Stuplich

I am also learning applique. Once I have my seams pressed down, I remove the FP. I then glue down the piece or use applique pins to place it on my project.
I love my Clover iron but you do need to be watchful when using it. I bought a 12" ceramic tile to lay it on. I only use mine on the medium setting and always turn it off when done and unplug it.
You are doing a great job and look forward to seeing your finished project.
Thanks for sharing the info.

Keep on stitchin!


I will many times remove the fabric that is behind an applique, especially if there are any seams in it. It does not make the quilt any less strong, if your applique stitches are tight and small. I professionally quilt, and see many that do not remove the appliques, and the appliques just don't look as good if you see a seam through it, or in some cases, a darker fabric. I think that removing the bulk always makes the finished quilt look better. If the applique is only on a single piece of fabric, it could go either way, but a slit behind the applique will in no way affect the finished piece.


Hi Nicole, I love the Petite Press Iron. You can get it at Joann's with your 40% off coupon. It has a adjustable head and it stays hot enough to do the job. I love the Hobbico also and I had a stand made for it for about $15.00 through Morning Star Quilts. Good Luck! It is rather addicting once you get going and creates such a nice sharp edge to applique on. Wish you could come take a class up made it so easy!


I take the freezer paper out before I begin sewing the piece down. Using the starch makes the shape stay put. Also, I actually don't like using the glue too much-just the smallest amount is enough! I can't wait to see your finished project:)

Sandy (Strlady)

Okay, I think everyone covered what I had to say. I was not feeling the whole cutting into the back of my pieces after I had stitched the applique on, but I was testing a technique once and went ahead and did the cut. I spritzed the edge of the appliqe with water to dampen the glue and the paper came right off. After I finished I looked at the back and it made sense to me because it looked like a pieced block with the 1/4" seam allowance around each appliqued piece.
I just got that DVD from Pearl Pereira that I commented about. Of course I had to immediately watch it. She pulls the paper out BEFORE stitching as many others suggested here. The idea is that since you have starched down the edges, pulling the template out will not affect the piece. If it does lift a bit when you remove the (double layer) of freezer paper, you just dab a bit more starch and press again. Something new to try!


Isn't the internet wonderful! I think the great advantage of having lots of experienced people's advice and then trying different methods means you find what suits you, even if it is by trial and error! I think I've probably tried all of the above, double/single freezer paper, plastic templates, glueing/pinning/basting, leaving in papers/taking out/cutting from back.
For me, keeping it as simple as possible was best and most time saving route.
So, my method is: I copy as many shapes as I can free-hand, such as leaves and simple flowers, and use coins for berries etc, drawing with a pencil or fine marker. If shapes are more complex, or if exact size is very important for placement, I use single layer freezer paper which I remove once I'm happy the shape is in place on the background, then I can use it again for cutting the next piece. If there are layered pieces I leave the freezer paper in until I'm ready to sew - means cutting more paper shapes though. I use small pins rather than glue, and needle-turn applique using silk thread as Karen L mentions above.


I don't do much applique, but when I do, I cut it out leaving what appears to be a quarter inch seam. It then resembles a pieced block. When I did my first one I was afraid to cut and wound up with an "unbalanced" top because of the double fabric where it was appliqued. Leaving the back is great if you want to do something puffy, but for a flat top that feels balanced, that back needs to go.

Eden Hunt

This is the low-down on freezer paper... use a single layer if you are needle turning the seam allowances as you stitch. Remove the paper either from the back with a slit or just before you sew the last edge of the piece down. Use two layers (iron the layers together first, then trace and cut out your piece and then iron it on your fabric if you want to) if you plan to press your seam allowances under before stitching the piece down. This is the method I prefer... I use a little liquid starch and paint brush, paint the seam allowance with starch, turn it and press with an iron until dry. Once the whole piece is turned and cool remove the paper, DOT a little glue baste it on the seam allowances (you really only need a tiny dot every half inch or so). If you use this method, you can iron the two freezer paper pieces with the waxy sides together and then the freezer paper is just used like a regular template - it won't actually stick to your applique piece, but you can trace around it, cut out your piece and use the template as an edge to press against - the thicker the better. I will use three layers sometimes on templates that I plan to use several times. You can also skip the freezer paper all together and use heat proof template plastic instead. The applique block in this flikr link was made using the plastic or freezer paper template and starch method.

Good luck, stick with it - there are nearly as many ways to do applique as people who do it!


What great questions! I don't appliqué much, but I have learned lots from reading the comments. Good luck with the appliqué :-)

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