I belong to several excellent, online quilting groups. Lately, there has been quite a bit of discussion regarding the best method for appliqueing circles. I have always used Template Free preparation to prepare and baste the circle in one step, and then needle turn to applique it down. My grapes, berries, etc. have always looked acceptable but I am always looking for ways to improve my work. So, I set out to test a few of the methods discussed in the groups. I can say that there is no one definitive way to make circles and that personal preference plays a huge role. So instead of trying to sway anyone towards one particular method, I decided to record both the pros and cons I experienced as I conducted the great circle experiment of 2011.
Gathered over a Freezer Paper or Card Stock Template
The first method I attempted required me to draw several circle shapes on either freezer paper or card stock and them cut them out. Well, it seems I must been out the day they taught circle cutting in Kindergarten because I could not manage to cut out a circle that did not have a flat edge. Like most things in
Gathered over a Mylar Template
|Place the fabric circle under a medium iron until the starch/sizing dries.|
Gathered Around a Mylar Template and Pulled Through a Round Hole
|Place Mylar template in the center of the fabric.|
|Gather fabric around the template and twist.|
|Pull excess gathered fabric through red template that comes with the tool.|
Arrange the gathers such that the circle's edges are nice and smooth.
|Spray the front with sizing and place under a medium iron until dry.|
|After it's dry, remove from template and trim excess fabric.|
|Several circles ready to stitch.|
|Trimmed circle. Clip knot and remove |
one basting stitch at a time.
|Remove basting stitches and needle turn as you go.|
|Not perfect but not bad.|
The biggest PRO to this technique is that it it TOTALLY portable and does not require any extra chemical (i.e. starch or sizing). The CON is that you need to be fairly good at needle turn get a good result.
This is by no means all the methods out there. But, this grouping is a good representation of the basic techniques available. I did not find a perfect method. Each has it's fair share of CONS. However, each method has great PROS that I can use to my advantage depending on the project and my objectives. For example, if I have a machine applique project I will use the Gathered over a Mylar Template method. If I have a community quilt or other project where time is short, I will use the Gathered Around a Mylar Template and Pulled Through a Round Hole method. If I am working on a needle turn, hand project I will stick with the Template Free Preparation and Needle Turn method. Finally, but most importantly, this was a completely unscientific study. The Pros and Cons are my personal opinion. The only way to find what works best for you is for you to try techniques on your own.
I invite you to please leave a comment if you have found this blog entry useful. Or, if you have a circle technique that you love and would like me to try. I am always looking for way to improve my quilting!
Until next time...