I have received a lot of requests to share my technique for making perfectly round applique circles, the kind used in the two Penny Rugs I recently made from the newest Tilda fabric line, Hibernation, and from my Tilda scrap box of older fabrics.
Needle-turn applique was something I rarely did in years past, but over these last twelve months I've indulged quite a bit in it, honing my skills by trying different techniques until I found one that works for me (and it could be very different to what works for you). But anyhow, the perfect circles on my penny rugs have certainly created interest so I decided to do a detailed tutorial which (hopefully) is easy to follow, and I'm including a second tutorial for making the little buntings which sit along each end of my penny rug table toppers.
First of all, we'll make the circle. I begin with some thin cardboard, and a circle template. The cardboard needs to be thin and I'll show you why later, but it must be thicker than your everyday 80gsm printer paper. If you have some heavier weight 250gsm printer paper that will work well, as does a cardboard cereal box.
Choose what size you want your circles to be. In my two penny rugs I made circles in two sizes - 3" and 3.25" as I liked the shuffling around of the slightly different sizes on the completed table topper. The circles don't need to be a precise size for the penny rug, as long as they sit nicely inside a 4" square.
To make a Penny Rug like mine you will need-
* sixteen, 4.5" squares of assorted fabric
* eight, 5" squares of solid cream fabric (I used linen) for the bunting tongues
* eight, 5" squares of backing fabric for the bunting tongues
* twenty-four, 4" squares of assorted quilting fabrics in your preferred design
* one, 16.5" square of fusible light-weight Pellon, quilt wadding, or Parlan
* Perle 12 thread in cream
* eight, 4.5" squares of thin fusible fabric stabiliser (I use Staflex 3045)
* Aluminium foil
* thin cardboard
I have a lot of pre-prepared circles in my templates box because I use them quite often these days.
Trace around a glass tumbler, a jar, a bangle, or use a pre-made plastic circle or compass on to your cardboard, just making sure the circle is no larger than 3.25" if you're going to make the Penny Rug table topper. I don't have a 4" circle in my collection yet, so I decided to make a couple today as I show you how I make my templates.
Once you have cut our your circle, write in the centre what size it is. Lay it onto a piece of aluminium foil and cut a circle of foil about a half inch bigger than your cardboard template. Fold the foil around the circle. The foil assists in giving a very crisp edge when you press the completed circle.
These are so easy to make that I tend to have around six or eight of each size on hand for projects. I suggest for the Penny Rug table topper you make eight 3.25" diameter, and eight 3" diameter (or all sixteen in one size). Use a template to trace a circle onto the centre of a 4" square of fabric.
I love the little field mouse print, and it's perfect for this type of project! I have loads of 2.5" circle templates so that's what I'll use for today's photos...
Sew a line of running stitch just inside the outer edge of the fabric circle. Place the template inside and pull the threads to gather the fabric around the template. Tie a double knot in the threads, and press the fabric circle with a hot iron on the dry setting.
Once cool, peel the gather over one edge of the circle and remove the template. (this is why the cardboard needs to be thin)
Press the circle again. Perfect. You will need to make twenty-four of the circles for the topper and the bunting tongues.
If you're making the Penny Rug table topper you will need to make the background next. Sew the sixteen 4.5" squares of fabric together in four rows of four. Fuse the Pellon/wadding/Parlan behind the background, and then stitch one of your completed circles into the centre of each square. Your topper will now measure 16.5" square.
Now we need to make the bunting ends.
For this part of the tutorial I'm using completely different fabrics from Tilda because I really want to make a third Penny Rug when I have a spare few days, and this was my way of auditioning the fabrics I intend using. They looked perfect so when I have a chance this will become part of my next topper.
Using the steps above, you will have already made the extra eight circles we need for the bunting tongues. I chose to make this version in subdued creams, blues and pink (there's a wee bit of old Tilda which came to the party after all!).
I'll write the following steps for one bunting tongue, but you will need to make eight in total.
Using the template from the DOWNLOAD SHEET I have for you, trace the bunting tongue shape onto the centre of a 5" square.