I knew I'd get back to my blog at some point!
Back at the start of the Easter holidays I decided I needed a new little hand-sewing project to take away with me on a mini-break to Barcelona. I didn't have room in my hand luggage for a big project and before I knew it my brain had cooked up a little applique project, using a rainbow of tiny circles.
When I started to plan this project I felt that just doing needle turn applique may not get me the perfect circles I was aiming for. So, I took an English Paper Piecing approach to it instead.
Here's how I did it:
I used a 1 inch circle punch that I've had for ages but if you don't have this you can find something the right size and draw round it instead, then cut out with scissors and a steady hand.
Now, this is an important bit: you will need firm cardstock, an old cereal packet or teabag box would be just fine but it will need to be firm and you will see why as we go through the photos.
Keep stitching through the gathers and pulling the thread as tight as you can until you feel the gathers are firmly held.
Make a couple of small overstitches to secure your gathers and then cut your thread. Your first gathered circle is very nearly done!
Heat your iron on its hottest steam setting and then press both the front and back of your circles for several seconds. Just hold the iron down onto the circle, don't iron back and forth. Press them really well - you can't press them too much at this stage as this will help your circle hold its shape. I tend to gather a whole load of circles and then lay them out and press them all together to save time.
To secure your circles to your background fabric ready for stitching there are several methods you can use. For the mini quilt at the start of this tutorial I used a dab of fabric glue pen and then tacked the circles on with thread.
In hindsight, I would not have used the glue in the centre as it created a dip in the middle where it was stuck to the background fabric and I had to sort this out after stitching - however a couple of small dabs around the gathered edge would work.
For my second tiny circles project I just positioned the circles on the background and then held it in place with a pin while I stitched.
To stitch your circles to the background use a thread that matches or nearly matches your circle. Bring your thread up through the background from beneath and catch the edge of your circle, just slightly underneath the edge if you can, with a tiny stitch.
You only need to catch a couple of threads in the fabric, then stitch back down through the background, again slightly just inside the edge of the circle if you can.
The aim here is tiny tiny nearly invisible stitches like this.
p.s. I'd love to see if you have a go and do ask if you have any questions.