How to prepare your Appliques

There are many ways of preparing your fabric to hand applique. I am going to show you  my favorite method. I will be talking about the products and tools I use. I like to have my edges turned under so there is no raw edge. You can use this method of machine or hand applique. I enjoy hand applique while watching tv at night to wind down.

I like prefer the freezer paper and liquid starch method or preparing my Appliques. The only other things you need are a paintbrush and a hot iron. Some people like to use a mini iron or a craft iron. I am so used to using a regular iron. You do have to be careful no matter what type of iron you use that you don’t burn your self.


There are many type of liquid starch and freezer paper.  You can use any type you like.  I like Best Press for my starch and  C. Jenkins Brand brand for my freezer paper. The freezer paper sheets are thicker than the kind you can buy at your local supermarket.  You can easily use the same piece of freezer paper multiple times. I do use spray starch that get that is in a spray can also, but sometimes they leave white marks on the fabric. I also use the  big roll of freezer paper if I know I am not going to need it again or is a really big piece,


Your first step is to trace your appliques onto the non-wax side of the freezer paper. I usually use a pencil. If using a pen you just want to make sure it does not smear. Most patterns that have a lot of pieces either number or give each shape a letter.  You are going to label of your pieces the same as the pattern.  It will make you live much easier later.  The pattern I used in the example is “Lucky Charm” designed by Edyta Sitar of  Laundry Basket Quilts.

The next step is to iron the wax sideof the freezer  to the wrong side of your fabric. Cut a ¼ inch seam allowance around the freezer paper. With the starch you will paint a thin amount of starch on the seam allowance. If you get a little starch on the feezer paper it is no big deal. You just dont want to paper to get to wet.

You will then take the hot iron and press the seam allowance fabric to the wax paper. The spray starch will make a nice crisp edge. You will press all around your piece that needs its edges turned. I use my fingernail just ahead of the iron to fold the fabric over.  This is were you need to be careful you do not burn yourself. I am usually about 3/4 of an inch ahead of the iron.


This photo my seam strange to you the direction the iron is going.  I am a Lefty so I iron left to right.

Sometimes you will not need to cover all the edges. If you have an applique piece that is behind another piece or is in the seam then you can leave the edge raw.

This takes practice. There is a learning curve. One of the things I like about this method is it is not permanent. You can do it over again. Just iron you fabric flat again, add your starch and re-iron it.

When you have all your pieces prepared. It is time to build your applique piece. You will start from the back and build up to the front. I like to a have all my appliques pieces in places before I glue baste them down.  I like to use Roxanne Glue Baste it.  There are other glue products available.  You just want to make sure it is water soluble.  That way if you change something ot need to move a piece after you glued it you can get it off.layout           I glued all my pieces on the snow globe before I glued it to the base.  Then you are ready to stitch your block either by hand or machine.

Next week I will show you how you can prepare you apliques with appliqué papers and glue stick.

Happy Quilting




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I am the owner of Fabric Expressions, a quilt shop in Littleton CO. We have over 4000 bolts of fabric and offer many fun classes.

3 thoughts on “How to prepare your Appliques

  1. Thanks! I’m the only right-handed girl in my family, but I must do some things left handed, because your picture looks normal to me. =)

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