Preparing to Applique

To begin our learning process, we will begin with only one shape: a heart. I start beginner students off with this shape because it contains many of the same elements they will come across in other projects: a straight side, curves, a point and a concave area. So we'll start our learning process here with this shape, and hopefully you will enjoy it and apply it to other designs.

Depending on the applique method you choose to work with, you might find yourself working with the same shapes over and over again. In that case, it is recommended that you use a template that can be used many times over, for many different projects.

Click here for heart template

Trace the pattern onto whatever template material you have chosen. This could be thin cardboard, sandpaper or a thick plastic sheet. I personaly prefer the latter, as I can use it over and over without wearing off the edges.

Cut your background block -- don't forget to include your seam allowance. I usually cut my block a little larger - sometimes when applying many pieces there can be a little shrinkage, so I prefer to trim my block down to size once all the pieces have been applied.

A word about thread

Choose a thread to match the color of the applique piece, not the background fabric. This will help "hide" your stitches better. Although a little on the expensive side, I prefer using silk thread for my applique projects. It is very difficult to see this thread at all! On the down side, it is very slippery, so takes some getting used to. If you want to give it a try, you can use an off-white silk thread for light colored fabrics, and a gray thread for darker fabrics.