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Easy Needle Turn Appliqué 101

I suggest you start with something simple like a flower with two parts - the petals as one piece and a little circle center for piece two or try a heart... once you get comfortable (and yes it takes a few times before it comes easy to you) then you can go onto more complicated patterns or make your own like I am doing for the cars and the sample of the arm I used below is for a Power Ranger. I use many coloring books or other pictures to make my patterns from including wood making patterns.


  • Freezer Paper (you can find this in your stores - I got mine at WalMart has and the price was good)
  • Little Appliqué Pins (these are very small and take a bit to get used to but work much better than longer pins)
  • Appliqué Needles (one for each color thread your using) They are thinner and sharper than ordinary sewing needles. Using one for each color helps save time and thread - if you don't use the complete piece of thread you just set it aside in your pin cushion for the next piece using that color.
  • Thread (matching color to your appliqué fabric - this will help your thread to disappear and not be apparent after you stitch it.)
  • Background Fabric (cut 1/2 inch larger than actual size of your background square. So if you want a 15 inch block then cut your background to 15 1/2 inches. This allows for shrinkage when appliquéing and also allows you to trim to square up your block)
  • Fabric Scraps in the colors you want your pieces.
  • Scissors
  • Blue Washable Marker
  • Thimble
  • Fingercot (optional) These are wonderful and can be found at your local drug store near the Band-Aids or ask the pharmacist. They are like a rubber glove but for the finger only and when worn on your pointer finger they help you to grasp the needle without it slipping. They get old within a few uses and the oil from your finger and air so I buy them by the little box.
  • Clear Upholstery Vinyl (optional) - I have a picture below of using this. It is great if you have an appliqué pattern that is complex and has a lot of overlapping pieces.

First trace your pieces onto your freezer paper (it has a glossy side and a dull side - use the dull side). Then cut your pieces out along the lines. When you trace be sure to label your pieces and number them if you are using a pattern that calls for which piece is placed 1st... etc.

Next with the glossy side down - iron it onto your fabric RIGHT side.

Cut out fabric about 1/4 inch away from the freezer paper (this will give you the edge you need to turn under as you stitch) - I cut out all my pieces before starting.

Now position the appliqué piece where you need it to be (refer to the clear upholstery photo below if complicated pattern) and pin it in place.

Snip with your scissors into any areas that are curved in or come to an inner point - red arrows in the photo to the left show where I snipped for this piece.




Next turn and slip stitch like indicated in photo.

NOTE: be sure to go under the edge of the fold just a little and it will help keep your thread from showing.

Keep going until you have gone completely around the entire piece then bring needle through to back and tie off. Cut thread. Remove pins and peel off freezer paper.

Clear upholstery vinyl - I traced my pattern onto the vinyl (same size as background fabric) and then pined it to the background piece with safety pins along the top (I used 3 for this one).

Then you place your piece under the vinyl and on top of the background block. Move the piece around until you have the freezer paper lined up with the line drawn on the vinyl. Carefully lift vinyl up after piece is in place and pin to background. Then turn and slip stitch.






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