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How to Appliqué Perfect Circles

How To Make Turned Edge Appliqué Circles with Applipops

Creative fiber artists have been doing Turned Edge Appliqué for many years, but it is much easier now than it was in the past! In this appliqué tutorial, you’ll learn how to easily make perfect appliqué circles to add a fun decorative design to your next quilting or sewing project.

Today I’ll show you how I make perfect turned-edge appliqué circles in a fun, modern way. If you’ve got fabric scraps, join me in making a few of these circles – I’m sure you’ll love how easy it is to make perfect appliqué circles!

Supplies Needed:

applipops for circle applique shapes

I was personally always a bit intimidated by appliqué circles, because I had this idea in my mind that they were hard to make and needed to be hand sewn. Thankfully, neither of those are true! I recently learned how to make perfect turned edge appliqué circles using a small metal device that made all the difference for me and attached them to my project using a sewing machine.

The secret to my success is through using a small device called Applipops. These small round metal circles work as a template as well as an ironing tool to help make perfect circles. Let me show you how they work!

Video Tutorial for Circles Appliqué

You can watch this video or follow along in the images below.

Making Perfect Circles for Appliqué

The first thing to do is decide what size circles you want to make for your project. Applipops come in sets of sizes that make it really easy! You can get them in ½” increment sizes or ?” increments. I personally got 2 of each set. The project I’m making to demonstrate this technique is a small quilt block that features 9 circles. To add a fun modern aspect to the design, I decided to make 3 large circles, 4 medium size circles, and 2 small circles.

modern circles applique tutorial for quilting and sewing

Once you’ve decided what sizes you want to make, grab the scraps of fabric you plan to use for the circles. Arrange your fabric inside two circles that lock it into place.

Trim about a ¼” around the edge of the smaller circle. (this is the part that gets turned under) The right side of your fabric should be showing on top of the smaller circle.

using applipops for modern circle applique tutorial

Flip your circle over so the wrong side is up, and dampen your raw edges with starch. Sta-flo liquid starch is recommended but I’ve found that you can also use glue in a pinch. I tried it with Best Press and it worked a little bit, but I had much more success with glue.

using applipops for circle applique tutorial

Gently and evenly arrange your raw edges towards the center of your circle. Make sure the puckers are as even as possible and there aren’t any sharp points around the circle. 

making perfect circles with applipops for machine applique

Use the hot iron to press it all into place. The heat from the iron will dry the starch. Once the starch is dry, take the iron off and let the circles cool down. Since the applipops are made of metal, and metal conducts heat, they will also get very hot. Be careful not to burn yourself! 

making perfect circles for machine applique

Once cooled, you’ll be able to separate the circles and pop the center circle out of the fabric. 

Press your fabric one more time without the Applipops. Repeat this process to make your desired amount of turned edge appliqué circles.

making perfect circles for machine applique

Machine Appliqué the Circles into Position

Attaching your circles onto your fabric is actually quite easy! Begin by pinning your circles into place on a piece of background fabric. You could also use fusible web to temporarily adhere them, but I found pins to be just fine. 

machine applique circles on small sewing project idea

Next, get your sewing machine ready. I recommend threading your sewing machine with a thread that matches your circle. You can use a normal straight stitch if you like, but I prefer a blanket stitch. If you can adjust the speed on your machine, make it super slow. 

sewing around circles applique sewing project tutorial

Carefully and slowly begin stitching around the edges of one of your circles. 

machine applique tutorial for perfect circles, blanket stitch appliqué with sewing machine

When using a blanket stitch I try to line it up so that the straight stitches are “in the ditch” between the circle and the background and then the sideways stitches come out onto the circle to tack it into place. If you’re using a straight stitch you’ll want them all to be on your circle, an ?” or less away from the edge. 

Repeat the stitching process around the edges of all your circles.

machine applique tutorial, blanket stitch appliqué

Finish Your Appliqué Sewing Project

If you’re making a mug rug like me, the next step will be to layer your appliquéd fabric with quilt batting and backing fabric.

Modern tutorial for sewing and quilting appliqué

Consider turning your small appliqué project into something like a mug rug, pot holder, or zipper pouch! Check out these tutorials below for further instructions and ideas:

Applique Circles Mug Rug tutorial free, free applique circles tutorial, how to make perfect applique circles easy, easy applique for modern quilting

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