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Turned Edge Applique Using Glue Stick

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·         Fabric – see fabric utilization page

·         Matching, contrasting or invisible thread

·         Plain paper pattern

·         Freezer paper pattern printed in reverse

·         Washable glue stick

·         Pointed tool – sharpened dowel, toothpick, dental tool…

·         Scissors

·         Scotch tape

·         Clothes Iron or mini iron

·         Rotary cutter and mat

·         Sewing machine (or needle and thread if by hand)


1.       Prewash fabric, dry, iron and set aside

2.       Prepare freezer paper pattern for cutting

a)      Choose which direction you will assemble your applique (down to up, left to right…) Tip – Starting at a straight edge with larger pieces is easier than working from the center or many small pieces.

b)      After you decide which direction you want to assemble you can mark your patterns

·   Mark where your overlap will occur. This overlap will be where you have your ¼” seam allowance to attach the adjacent piece (see steps 5 and 6).  In the image below F = turned edge (folded) and O = not turned (overlap)Pattern labeled

·   Mark the pattern with colored tick marks that go perpendicular to the pattern lines. This will help you line up your pattern pieces in assembly. Make them at least ½” on each side if possible. 


·   Number your pattern pieces and number the plain paper pattern to match. This is optional, only necessary if there are many pieces of similar size, shape, color.

3.       Cut freezer paper pattern

a.       Using scissors cut straight down the middle of the pattern lines.  Important do not make corrections in your cut. Do not trim paper from individual pieces. If you remove extra paper it will create gaps in your applique design. If you don’t follow the line precisely it is okay, the matching piece will still fit snuggly against each other and it will be the new line. So don’t worry.

b.      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.

4.       Adhere pattern pieces to fabric

a.       Take your chosen fabric and lay it wrong side up on the ironing surface.

b.      Lay your freezer paper pattern pieces shiny side down on the wrong side of the fabric. Pay attention to the pattern or direction of your fabric so that your pieces will appear as you like when cut out.

c.       Leave at least ¾” between your pieces to allow for the ¼” seam allowance

d.      Iron the freezer paper to the fabric using the dry cotton setting on your iron for at least 3 seconds. It may take longer than you think to get good adherence. Tip - Don’t iron more pieces than you will be able to cut out at one sitting, the freezer paper could release if it sits too long or is handled too much.

5.       Cut your fabric pieces

a.       Start cutting your pieces ¼” larger than the freezer paper (½” on outside edges). Use fabric shears or rotary cutter, based on your preference.

6.       Prepare your pieces

a.       Apply glue (washable glue stick) and fold over the seam allowance to adhere the fabric down to the freezer paper, except where the seam allowance should stay flat to stitch the adjoining piece (as identified in step 2)

b.      On curves you may need to use scissors to snip the fabric so that you do not get pulling or gapping. Be careful to cut close to the fold, but not past it so the cut will not show on the other side.

c.       Use pointed tool to help you fold over edges for gluing. Helps to keep your fingers from getting so sticky.

7.       Add embroidery lines (optional timing)

a.       If this pattern has embroidered lines that stay on 1 pattern piece you may choose to add that line now. You can turn your piece with the paper pattern up and sew directly through the paper with a straight stitch with your chosen thread color.

b.      If your embroidery lines cross many pieces I recommend you wait and add those lines later.

8.       Assemble your applique

a.       Starting where you decided in step 2, lay your first piece on the paper pattern (typically an edge or corner piece).

b.      Tape with scotch tape.

c.       Put glue on the turned edge of the adjoining piece and lay on top of the unfolded edge of your taped piece. Gluing on the turned edge keeps from getting excess glue on your applique. Repeat until applique is built (you may assemble smaller sections at a time if the pattern is separate pieces that lay over a background).

9.       Stitch the applique

a.       Now that your pieces are glued together you stitch the overlapping seam allowances together.

b.      You can use a straight stitch, hem stitch, zigzag stitch, satin stitch or hand stitch.

c.       Stitch down the line where each pattern piece overlaps.

d.      You can use matching thread, contrasting thread (if you want your lines to show) or invisible thread (be careful of ironing later).

e.      Do not stitch along the border edges, but you will stitch along any edges that are to be overlaid on a background to keep the folded under seam allowance secure.

10.   Add embroidery lines (optional)

a.       You can turn your applique with the pattern up and stitch directly through the paper with a straight stitch with your chosen thread color.

11.   Remove freezer paper from the back side

a.       Turn your applique over so that you can see all the freezer paper.

b.      Tear the freezer paper along the seam lines to remove it from the back of the applique.

12.   Attach applique to background (optional)

a.       Depending on the design you may need to overlay your applique on a background. If so, you will need to attach your applique to the background.

b.      Lay your applique on the background as desired.

c.       Stitch around the entire outside edge of the applique using a zigzag, satin or hand stitch. Also stitch around any center opening that may be showing the background.

13.   Trim background or border

a.       Using a straight edge square up your background or ½” seam allowance around the edge of the applique

14.   Use the finished panel as needed. You can now add borders, incorporate into a quilt, make into a pillow…have fun!

15.   Remember to wash your applique to remove any glue residue or remaining paper before you add the backing