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Raw Edge Applique with Spaces

Download the PDF version


  • Fabric - amount of fabric needed is included in each pattern
  • Matching, contrasting or invisible thread
  • Fusible web (I prefer Steam-a-Seam 2)
  • Scissors
  • Clothes Iron or mini iron
  • Muslin or pressing sheet for ironing
  • Rotary cutter and mat
  • Sewing machine (or needle and thread if by hand)


  1. Prepare freezer paper pattern for cutting
    • Number your pieces on the freezer paper and number the plain paper pattern to match. This is optional but highly suggested, if there are many pieces of similar size, shape or color. 
  1. Cut out the freezer paper pattern
    • Cut apart the freezer paper pattern.
    • Cut all border pieces straight to make sure your pattern has nice straight edges. A straight edge or paper cutter is recommended for outside edges.
    • Put all your pieces in piles according to letter. Put all the A’s together, then B’s and so on.
  2. Adhere pattern pieces to fabric
    • Take your background fabric and set it aside for now.
    • Next, take your chosen fabric and lay it wrong side up on the ironing surface. (I usually start with the smallest amount of pieces.)
    • Cut an appropriately sized piece of fusible web that will be just a little bit larger than all of your pieces that go with that color. Lay it sticky side down on the wrong side of your fabric.
    • Iron the fusible web and fabric together using the dry cotton setting on your iron for at least 3 seconds. It may take longer than you think to get good adherence. (You will see the fabric start to show through the paper when you get it fused)
    • Peel off the paper backing from the ironed fusible on the fabric
    • Lay your freezer paper pattern pieces shiny side down on the paper backing of the fusible web. Pay attention to the pattern or direction of your fabric so that your pieces will appear as you like them when they are cut out.
    • Your pattern pieces can be very close to each other to conserve material and create less scrap.


      Press the freezer pieces, with your fingers, shiny side down onto the sticky fusible. DO NOT IRON IN PLACE (it will make it permanent) and you don’t want that.


  1. Cut your fabric pieces
    • Cut along the edge of your freezer paper; do not cut larger than the freezer paper but smaller is okay. If you cut too large it will remove the gaps between your pieces and you will not see the background.
    • If you can’t cut very precise always error on the smaller size, not larger. If you cut too small your gaps will just be a little larger and it will look like you have thicker lines and it will still look great!
    • If your piece is the outside edge you can trim it so it takes the shape you want to see.
  1. Assemble your applique
    • Tape your uncut pattern to a window.
    • Cut your black background fabric an inch or two larger than the overall size. 
    • Tape your background fabric in front of the pattern so that you can see through it. You will be able to see the letters and numbers for placing all of your pieces.
    • Choose your first cut piece and remove the freezer paper from the fusible web backing. (It doesn’t really matter where you start but I work big to small or all of one color first.)
    • Once you peel the freezer paper away place the piece to the corresponding place. You want to place your piece in the middle of the corresponding space on the paper pattern.
    • Repeat the process for each piece placing it in the center of the corresponding location on the paper pattern trying to keep all your spaces even. You can see through the black fabric to the paper pattern below to help keep your edges straight and keep everything in proper position.
    • Once all your pieces are placed, take it off of the window and place it on your table. This is when you can pick up and reposition any piece you don’t feel is quite in the right place.
  1. Adhere the applique to the background
    • After checking the alignment of your applique pieces to each other and adjust any pieces if necessary.
    • Press down firmly on all of the pieces so that they won’t move during ironing.
    • Lay muslin or pressing sheet over the entire applique.
    • Iron the entire applique using a hot dry cotton setting. (It may take up to 30 seconds per section). Don’t move your iron over the pieces they may fold or move until you iron them in place. Pat to iron.
    • Remove the muslin or pressing sheet
    • You will know if you have ironed enough if you bend the fabric and none of the pieces peel away from the background. If they do, repeat ironing.
  1. Stitch the applique
    • Stitch along all edges of each piece.
    • Use a straight stitch around each piece. Or use a zigzag or satin stitch if it will be used or washed.
    • You can use matching thread, even contrasting thread (if you want your lines to show) or invisible thread (take care in ironing later, the invisible thread may melt).
  2. You can add embroidery lines now or when you do the quilting.  
  3. Trim background or border
    • Square up and trim your extra background fabric.
  1. Add a 2” border by cutting 2 ½” strips
  • .
  1. Quilt and finish as desired.