Turned-Edge Applique: Challenge #4

Smooth curvesThe fourth challenge we are going to tackle is turned-edge circles. So far, we have addressed marking the lines, turning under the seam allowance, and achieving smooth curves. Since we used a round shape for all the smooth curve examples, it seemed fitting that our next challenge should be turning perfect circles. We’ll look at three options: needle-turn, gathered, and Apliquick.

Needle-turn Circles

Before I learned the second two options, I needle-turned many circles. It can be done but it can be a challenge!

Needleturn Circles

Needle-turn Circles

If you recall the explanation from the last challenge post, an outside curve has excess seam allowance and the extra fabric must be eased in as the seam allowance is turned under. This becomes particularly tricky with a circle as you approach the final few stitches. How can you ease in the extra fabric when you have no room to maneuver?

Last stitches of needle turned circle

Last stitches of needle turned circle

Remember the tips for turning smooth curves – reducing the width of the seam allowance, taking smaller stitches, and needle-turning smaller segments – and add this trick. Push all the remaining seam allowance under, almost until it forms a straight line.

Push in circle seam allowance

Push in circle seam allowance

Then use the tip of the needle to pull the seam allowance back out into a circle shape. Somehow it is easier to complete the circle from the inside out rather than from the outside in.

Gathered Circles

A great way to deal with excess seam allowance is to gather it. Here’s how it works for turned-edge circles.

Mark the circle on the wrong side of the fabric and cut out with a generous 1/4” seam allowance. Take a running stitch in the seam allowance, approximately halfway between the marked line and the raw edge.

Running stitch in circle seam allowance

Running stitch in circle seam allowance

Place a heat-resistant circle template on the marked line and pull on the thread to gather the seam allowance around the circle template. You can purchase ready-made circle templates or make them out of Mylar. Brush liquid starch over the seam allowance and press.

Press seam allowance over heat resistant template

Press seam allowance over heat resistant template

Gently release a bit of the gathering to remove the circle template, then pull the thread back into place. Perfect!

Gathered circle

Gathered circle

Apliquick Circles

The Apliquick method makes turned-edge circles a breeze. I used a circle for my original demo video, so you can see exactly how this option works.

The Apliquick rods provide such unprecedented accuracy, I have been able to appliqué turned-edge circles less than 3/16″ in diameter!

Tiny turned-edge circles

Whichever option you choose, you can create beautiful perfect turned-edge circles. Now that we’ve mastered smooth curves and circles, our next challenge will be points. See you next time!


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Comments

  1. Just found your blog and read through challenges 1-4. Learning a lot already. Your tips about smooth curves are great. Thanks. I’ve been trying some applique lately and can’t wait to apply what I’ve learned. I’m getting better. Practicing on hearts but need to find a design to practice inside curves.

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