31 January 2014

Starch & Glue Appliqué

I am a huge fan of needle turn appliqué, however I have seen lots of great appliqué quilts made using the starch and glue method, so I decided to give it a try. I have spent this afternoon preparing the Orange Peel Blocks for the GT & SB quilt.  I think this method is brilliant for simple shapes such as these, but I am not sure how easy it would be for more intricate designs. I will also need to soak my finished blocks to get rid of the starch & glue before I trim them up. I decided to make a tutorial for you in case you also want to try it :)

You will need: Freezer Paper, Template Plastic, Laundry Starch, appliqué glue (I use Roxanne's Glue Baste It) a small paint brush, marker pen, fabric scissors and paper scissors.

 Iron two sheets of Freezer Paper together to make a double thickness sheet; make a template of your appliqué shape from Template Plastic and use it to draw the number of shapes you need onto your FP.  Carefully cut these out with your paper scissors on the drawn line. It is really important to cut as accurately as you can.

Iron the FP template to the wrong side of your chosen fabric, for curved shapes like these, place the template on the bias (45 degree angle) not the straight grain of your fabric as this will help you get a smoother curve.

 Cut out adding a scant 1/4" seam allowance all round.
 Spray a little starch into a container (or the lid of the can) and carefully paint it all around the seam allowance.

 Using the tip of your iron (I have a small travel iron which works well) press the seam allowance over the FP template - I also use a stiletto to help push the fabric over. Keep your fingers well out of the way!
Make sure the starch is dry and then remove the FP template, pull it out in one quick motion like pulling off a plaster :)

 Press the fabric shape again from the right side

 Cut your background square at least 1" larger than you need (you will trim and square it up after you have finished the stitching). Mark the centre of the square by folding on the diagonal in both directions

Apply a couple of small dots of appliqué glue on the seam allowance. You don't need a lot of glue - less is more!

 Carefully centre your shapes on the background, making sure the points are exactly in the centre, press with your iron to speed up the glue drying.

Applique in place, I like to use a long milliners/straw needle and YLI 100 silk thread
When you have finished all the stitching, soak and rinse the block to remove the glue and starch, iron dry and then trim to the correct size.


  1. Thanks for the tutorial. I was wondering how this worked with freezer paper. Two thicknesses -- ahhhh!!!

  2. Thanks-I'll bookmark your tutorial. I love needleturn for some patterns, and I use the EPP method for small leaves and flowers, basting the fabric to the paper pattern. Maybe glue is faster than basting!
    I'm going to browse your list of blogs which look so interesting. Thanks, again.

  3. Great tutorial Elaine. Thanks for sharing... I've done the starch and turn but avoided the glue and just basted with YLI Basting Thread. Anxious to see your finished block and thanks again!

  4. Great tutorial and good to try other methods isn't it? This way looks like you get beautiful smooth curves. The 1930 colours are lovely !

  5. Great tutorial and beautiful fabrics :-)

  6. hello Elaine, I arrived here blog hopping and thought I'd say hello. It's nice to meet a fellow British quilter and stitcher. I have enjoyed seeing your projects and look forward to following your progress with the Green tea and sweet beans quilt.

  7. this is an interesting method, I'll have to give this a go, thanks!

  8. A useful tutorial, many thanks, watching your progress with interest, lovce the fabrics your putting together