Monday, September 19, 2016

Round in Circles

Reader Mary B. hinted for a refresher on how I'm making my Quilty 365 circles.  I'm glad she asked, and here it is.
I had seen this method in a couple other places.  I think the first time I saw it, the quilter was demonstrating making shapes for an orange peel quilt in this way.  I tried it out with a little sample block and it worked slick as a whistle.  Ditto on the circles.
You need a very lightweight, NON-fusible interfacing.  I've bought it twice at the local JoAnn store, and it was a little different each time, but both kinds worked.  It's not a woven fabric interfacing but the usual synthetic type, and the sheerest one (basically no stiffness).  If I knew the exact name of it, I'd tell you, but mine unfortunately didn't come with that flimsy printed plastic sheet that often accompanies interfacing off the bolt, so I don't have the details.  I'm guessing it's a Pellon product. 
Anyway, I trace my handy-dandy, homemade cardboard circle template onto the interfacing with a Frixion pen (marks disappear with heat).  I put a piece of paper underneath the interfacing because the interfacing is so sheer, the ink will transfer through to whatever's underneath it.  Leave space between the circles and trace as many as you feel like, and then rough-cut them apart between.  You don't have to be super fussy about that, just leave a good margin around the traced circles.

The circle template I'm using is just over 3 inches in diameter.  The neutral background fabric squares are 4.5 inches.

Take your scrap that you want to make into a circle and lay one of your traced circle interfacing pieces on top.  I usually pin it once in the center just to hold it together until I start stitching.
Then stitch around the circle right on the line you traced on the interfacing.  You'll probably want to sew slowly here, and I also used a pretty short stitch length, 1.8 on my machine.

Trim around the stitched circle leaving somewhat less than a 1/4-inch seam allowance, probably like 3/16 inch, but I never really measured.  You don't want/need a lot of bulk when you turn it, is the point.
Then carefully pinch the interfacing only, and snip a little slit in it so you can turn the circle right side out through the slit.  The lightweight interfacing is, well, lightweight; you'll want to be gentle as you turn it so you don't rip a bigger slit, which might then warp the shape of your circle.

At this point, I take a a chopstick or my Kwik Clip...and stick it through the slit, shaping and finger-pressing the circle all the way around.
Then I give it a quick press with the iron—use a lower heat setting than you usually do with cotton.  That synthetic stuff the interfacing is made out of does melt with higher heat.  Only had to wreck one circle to find that out.
Pin your circle to your background square, pick your favorite applique stitch, and sew it down.
Now if you want to reduce bulk in your block, you can flip your appliqued square over and carefully pinch the background fabric only in the center, snip a hole so you can fit the point of your scissors through, and then trim both the background fabric and the interfacing, leaving a 1/4 inch margin.

I think the pictures make more sense here than words.

So there you have it, how I do my Quilty 365 circles.  Everybody's got their favorite method for appliqueing circles and other things.  What's yours?
Finally, I'm sharing the song that's been in my head as I've been typing this whole deal.  Will It Go Round in Circles?  You bet!


  1. thanks for the tutorial... I've wanted to make the circles, but still haven't gotten aroundtuit.

  2. That was me thank you so much for the tutorial. I purchased the ring of Templar circle templates in all different sizes. I have it on my list to look for the stabilizer on my next trip to the store. thanks again, Mary B

  3. Great explanation. Thanks so much for taking the time to write it up and snap some pictures to show us.

  4. Great and simple tutorial. I was thinking if you cut the backs out carefully you could 'maybe' make some smaller circles, for another project? Or if the starting circles were bigger anyway :)

  5. Great tutorial. The picture of the back, with the decorative stitching done and the interfacing cut off, looks so pretty, even if it is the wrong side.


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