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Secrets to Positioning Appliqué with Precision 
by Rachelle Burleson, York Street Quilting Co.


Appliqué is so much fun! Wonderful patterns and books are everywhere and are brimming with delightful projects. If you’re like me, you want to do it all! I want to share with you a technique that I learned from the gals of Piece ‘O Cake Designs for laying out appliqué in a precise and easy way before you stitch. No more guesswork!

You’ll need a piece of clear vinyl cut to the size of the block you are working on. Vinyl can be found at fabric, craft and discount stores and is usually 54” wide and rolled on a tube. It is not necessary for the vinyl to be thick. In fact, a lightweight vinyl will work just fine. 

Using a fine to medium point Sharpie permanent marker, trace the design onto the sheet of vinyl. If the pattern has centering lines marked, you’ll want to trace those as well. Be sure to reverse the design first if the pattern calls for that. To denote the top and “right side” of the traced design, put a capital “R” in the upper right hand corner. Be sure to save the paper that comes with the vinyl. If you will be saving the overlay, you will want to place the paper over the top of the traced design before folding. Though the marker ink is not transferable once it has dried, if the right sides of the vinyl overlay meet for any period of time, the ink from one side of the overlay will transfer the to other and you’ll have much difficulty seeing the original pattern.

Now that you have your design traced onto the vinyl you are ready to position your appliqué pieces. Lay your overlay onto the background fabric and center the design. Begin positioning the appliqué pieces so that the edges correspond to the design that has been traced onto the vinyl. Remember to work from the bottom up – placing pieces that will be overlapped by others down first. Once all the components are in place, remove the overlay. You are now ready to fuse, pin or glue-baste the pieces in place so that you can begin the actual work of appliqué. Have fun!

This article is for personal use only. Permission for any other reprinting must be received from the author.

Written by, Rachelle Burleson
Owner, York Street Quilting Co.

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