Quilting, Tutorials

Freezer Paper Appliqué

Freezer Paper is one of the must-have supplies in my quilting room. It helps to cut shapes out of fabric and it’s very useful for turning the edges of appliqué pieces when I prepare them for machine stitching…as I never have time for traditional needle-turn appliqué.

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What You Need For Freezer Paper Appliqué:

  1. Plastic Coated Freezer Paper – It can be found in the grocery stores (near plastic wrap, aluminum foil, wax paper, etc.), or you can buy it on Amazon.
  2. Spray Starch – Any spray starch will work; I like to use Quilter’s Starch Savvy by June Tailor. If you can’t get a spray starch, you can just use a small amount of Vodka.
  3. Small Container for starch.
  4. Pencil for tracing.
  5. Paint Brush for applying starch; I use a Scruffy Paint Brush with a flat top by Donna Dewberry.
  6. Fabric Adhesive / Basting Glue – Liquid Stitch works great for me, but anything similar will work as well.
  7. Paper Scissors for cutting templates from Freezer Paper.
  8. Fabric Scissors for cutting appliqué pieces from fabric.
  9. Iron for pressing.
  10. Fabrics & Pattern.
  11. Thread & Needle – I use Aurifil Thread 50wt with Embroidery Needle 75/11.
  12. Sewing Machine with Utility Stitches or Decorative Stitches.

Trace the pattern pieces onto the dull side of the Freezer Paper, so that the shiny side is facing down when you draw. Freezer Paper is translucent, which makes it easy to see the lines of the pattern when you are tracing it. Using your paper scissors, cut out the templates as accurately as possible, making sure that the edges are smooth and the corners are sharp. With the shiny side facing down, position your Freezer Paper templates on wrong side of the fabric and press them in place with a hot iron (do not use steam). The shiny side of the Freezer Paper is lightly adhesive and will stick to the fabric temporarily after hot pressing, so be sure not to stick it to the hot iron by mistake.

Cut out fabric pieces with approximately 1⁄4″ seam allowance around template…no need to be precise here. Clip the concave edges and corners of the fabric towards the template (just not too close!); this will release the tension while turning the edges. The convex edges and corners do not need notches.

Spray the starch a few times into a small container or plastic lid. Apply starch onto the seam allowances with a paint brush, working a few inches at a time. Wrap the starched edges around the template and press with hot dry iron as you go, being careful not to bend the template while turning the edges, as it will distort the shape of your appliqué. After pressing around the entire edge, gently remove the template and press the edges again. Save your used templates though, as you can re-use them many times!

Position your appliqué on the background fabric as you like. Using a Fabric Adhesive / Basting Glue, apply a few drops at a time around the folded edges on wrong side of the appliqué, pressing them down with your hand as you go. Allow the glue to dry before stitching, following the instructions of the adhesive label. You might want to test your basting glue prior to using.

Choose a matching thread that blends in with your appliqué and stitch around the edges using stitches of your choice. You can make a few samples to find the best settings on your machine: Hem Stitch, ZigZag Stitch, Blanket Stitch, Satin Stitch or other decorative stitches.

Appliqueing On A Domestic Sewing Machine

The images in this tutorial are associated with my Josefina and Jeffery Elephant Pillow pattern.