My Hand Applique Process

1. I use an extra fine point Sharpie marker to trace applique shapes onto (the matte side of) freezer paper.

2. I cut my freezer paper templates with paper scissors.  I cut my fabric applique shapes with serrated scissors.  Serrated scissors are more accurate, help to prevent fraying, and allow for precise notching or nicking into fabric.

3. I iron the freezer paper template to the RIGHT side of the fabric then place it on a sand paper board to prevent slipping and distortion as I trace around the template.

4. I use a (0.7mm lead) mechanical pencil to trace my pattern onto the background fabric.  I use the same mechanical pencil to trace around the freezer paper template onto the desired fabric to make my applique shape.

5. I keep the freezer paper template in place while cutting the shape from fabric. The freezer paper gives body and stability to the shape I am cutting.

6. I use the freezer paper template to help create a 'memory' for the seam allowance of my applique shape. On the draw line and at the edge of the template, I fold the seam allowance and pinch to create a crease. This 'tells' the fabric where it is to turn under and is especially useful with the straight leaf stem.

I KNOW this is NON-traditional - I use (black label) Elmer's School I am preparing the straight stem portion of the leaf for placement onto my background fabric. I will glue and heat set this seam allowance so it can be placed under the vine and hand appliqued into position with ease!

7. The vine and leaf have been glue basted and heat set into position. They are now ready to be appliqued. NO back basting, NO pins, NO glue stick. I learned the Elmer's School glue and heat setting technique from Sharon Schamber at a class in Hershey, PA several years ago.

8. I begin with hand appliquing a leaf in place.

I continue this process as I work to hand applique my sixth Flower Pots block.

And, here is the completed block!


6 responses to “My Hand Applique Process

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  2. Jo

    The most wonderful serrated edge scissors I have found have a green handle with big finger holes and are made by Karen Kay Buckley.

  3. Carol Thompson

    I’m new to hand applique although I’m determined! I got a BOM Baltimore album I’m working on. Just a quick question — what brand of serrated scissors are you using? You’re not talking pinking shears, are you? I’m anxious to try your hints. I am following your method except for the serrated scissors and the glue. I will try both with my next leaf! Thanks.


    • Vicki

      I was wondering the same thing about the serrated scissors. I did find a pair by Clover…they call them Patchwork scissors but do have “Serrated blades preven fabric slipping” written on the front of the box. I am also new at hand applique…so much to learn…I do love it. I think its just practice, practice, practice to get the hang of it. Please feel free to email me..would love to hear from you….I live in the Pacific Northwest…..

      • pennyz

        Gingher makes a great pair of serrated scissors. However, I’ve had mine for ages and can’t find anyone who can sharpen them, so probably have to send them to Gingher for that.

  4. Pingback: Step by step trace to prep « Piecefully

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