how to create easy applique circles

Making Beautiful Circles Easily

Tags: applique, applique stitching, hand applique, how-to

If you have been following me for a while, you know I have several blog posts and lessons on different applique aspects. Today I will be explaining how to create beautiful circles easily and this is a process that can be used for any applique that has turned under edges.

Here are some of the other applique topics I've included previously to help you with needle turn applique

I start with my freezer paper template and press it to the wrong side of the fabric. This one I centered over a small flower on the fabric just to make it a little more interesting, watch for that when I turn it over to the front later on.

Press template to back of fabric

Press template to back of fabric

Now cut it out leaving a small seam allowance - 3/16" is all you really need, unless you have a fabric that frays a lot, then you might want it to be a little wider.

Trim leaving seam allowance

Trim leaving seam allowance

The next step, which a little different than we learned in a previous post, is to make a small gathering stitch around the outside of the circle within the seam allowance. Try to get as close as possible to the edge and keep the stitches small. I usually use the same color thread I'll be stitching the circle on with, but this time I wanted to use a contrast so it would show up in the photo.

Make a small running stitch around it

Make a small running stitch around it

Stitch completely around the circle and then gently pull the thread tight so the seam allowance gathers and pulls in toward the center. Make sure the gathers are smooth around the edge of the freezer paper, then give it a press to make a nice crisp edges to the circle. Check the front to ensure there is no points, use your needle to smooth any puckers away and then press again.

Pull up the gathers

Pull up the gathers

After a good press, gently remove the freezer paper. I prefer to take it out now, especially on these tiny circles. Another method is to stitch it in place and then cut out the background from underneath to remove it.

Remove the freezer paper

Remove the freezer paper

Now we are ready to stitch it to the flower using those tiny stitches. Did you notice the flower design on the fabric?

Press template to back of fabric

Press template to back of fabric

I'm stitching my circle to the center of a spikey flower so I'll need to stitch the petals on first.

All petals are fully attached except over the center where the circle will cover them

All petals are fully attached except in the center area where the circle will cover them

Now it is time to add the center circle. 

Add the center circle to applique

Add the center by positioning it in place

Use a couple of pins to hold it in place while you stitch - careful you don't prick your finger like I did! See my lesson on how to hand stitch if you are unfamiliar with needleturn applique: needleturn stitching

Secure center circle with pins

Secure with pins

Now it's complete.

This flower is created using needle turn applique

This flower is created using needle turn applique

And this is how the back looks. Note: you don't see the circle stitching here because I'm only stitching through the petals and not through to the back of the work.

Stitching on the backside of hand applique

Stitching on the back

Are you stitching along too? The points on this flower are the hardest of all so be sure you trim back the excess seam allowance before tucking it under. 

Back to Blog

© Copyright 2003- Arbee Designs. All Rights Reserved. This content is copyrighted by the respective teachers or authors of articles or lessons presented on this page. Unless otherwise indicated, all other content is the property of Arbee Designs. Copies of the material for others may not be made without the permission of Arbee Designs.

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.

Subscribe with RSS feeds

You can subscribe here with RSS feeds: click here to subscribe

Subscribe to our newsletter

Be the first to know about new collections and exclusive offers.