How to Make Prepared and Non-Prepared Applique

Learn the secrets to perfect points, curves and corners from an applique expert.
Related To:


Take a quilt block from ordinary to extraordinary using applique. There are basically two categories - prepared and non-prepared applique - and you can use templates with both.

Prepared applique involves turning the raw edges under before sewing the applique piece to the fabric.

Non-prepared applique is simply cutting the pattern piece and turning the raw edges under with the needle while sewing. No preparation is done when using this method.

Materials and Tools:

long needle (sharp or a mariner's needle)
fine silk thread in a neutral color
permanent marker
safety pins
straight pins
freezer paper
office dots or garage sale labels

Steps for Prepared Applique:

The best time to use the prepared applique method is with a design that has tight curves. Try either of these techniques for curvy appliques.

1. Use an office dot or garage sale label.
Trim the applique fabric leaving a 1/8" seam. Place the office dot (found at office supply stores) with the sticky side up on top of the fabric and, using a seam ripper, turn the edges over to stick to the dot, creating a perfect circle. Once the applique has been stitched on, make a small slit in the backside of the background fabric and gently remove the dot.

2. Make a template out of freezer paper, shiny side up.
Begin turning the fabric edges over the freezer paper and use the tip of an iron to adhere the fabric to the paper. The same principle applies if there is an inside corner. Clip to the inside point about 1/16" from the turn line and then turn the edges over. Tack down with small consistent stitches to the background fabric.

Steps for Non-prepared Applique:

1. Cut out the desired template shape and place the shape on the applique fabric. With shiny side down, press with an iron.

2. Pin the applique fabric to the background fabric. Pin the threads on the backside so the thread won't get snagged on the pins. Remember to keep applique stitches to a small and consistent size.

3. For needle-turning: When fabric has a straight edge, cut and leave about 1/4" seam. (On tighter curves cut more fabric away.) Tuck the 1/4" fabric under with the point of the needle, gather just a few threads of background fabric, and come up through the applique fabric catching the fabric that was tucked under. This is a tack stitch.

4. Create a perfect point by going one stitch past the point. Next, use a pair of scissors to push, pivot, pinch and pull the fabric. Push the point of the fabric under; pivot to tuck the fabric back towards the already stitched side; pinch the fabric to hold in place and pull the thread to create a perfect point. Continue needle-turning the fabric to finish the applique.

5. Corners and inside points: Approximately 1/2" from an inside point, cut into the point approximately 1/16" from the turn line. Place the needle at the inside point and use the side of the needle to turn the fabric under. Using your thumb, pinch down the fabric and slide the needle to turn under the fabric.

Elly Sienkiewicz
The Elly Sienkiewicz Applique Academy

Keep Reading

Next Up

How to Make a Cat Condo

Use everyday items to build a fancy cat jungle gym.

How To Prepare for an Open House

Get It Sold host and home-staging expert Sabrina Soto shares her 15-tip checklist on what to do before opening your house to buyers.

How to Make a Living Succulent Wreath

Make your own hanging garden with hardy, lovely succulents.

How to Make a Geometric-Patterned Trellis

Add architectural interest to your home with this unique alternative to standard window shutters.

How to Make a Trellis Planter

Take your plants vertical with a trellis planter. Use this planter as a focal point or as a privacy screen.

How to Make Wedding Confetti Cones

Adorn wedding reception chairs with these sweet confetti cones so guests can celebrate the bride and groom as they leave for their honeymoon.

How to Make a Backyard Fire Pit

Create a cozy space for outdoor entertaining with a stone fire pit.

How to Make a Rowboat Sandbox

Inspire your little pirate's imagination and add nautical flair to your backyard with a one-of-a-kind sandbox made from a wooden rowboat.

How to Make a Tea Bag

Make morning tea extra special with a handmade tea bag filled with a delicious herbal blend and a special love note

How to Make Rolled Paper Roses

Paper flowers fashioned from old book pages, newspaper or brown Kraft paper are a frugal alternative to store-bought ribbons and bows.


Island Life

6:30am | 5:30c

Island Life

7am | 6c

Island Life

7:30am | 6:30c

Fixer Upper

8am | 7c

Fixer Upper

9am | 8c

Fixer Upper

10am | 9c

Fixer Upper

11am | 10c

Fixer Upper

12pm | 11c

Flip or Flop Atlanta

1:30pm | 12:30c

Flip or Flop Atlanta

2:30pm | 1:30c

Flip or Flop Atlanta

3:30pm | 2:30c

Flip or Flop

4:30pm | 3:30c

Flip or Flop

5:30pm | 4:30c

Flip or Flop

6:30pm | 5:30c

Flip or Flop

7:30pm | 6:30c
On Tonight
On Tonight

Flip or Flop

8pm | 7c

Flip or Flop

8:30pm | 7:30c

Flip or Flop Vegas

9:30pm | 8:30c

House Hunters

10pm | 9c

House Hunters

11pm | 10c

Flip or Flop Vegas

12:30am | 11:30c

House Hunters

1am | 12c

Flip or Flop

3:30am | 2:30c

Shop This Look

Found a living space you love in HGTV's Photo Library? Get the look in your own home with products from Wayfair.

Follow Us Everywhere

Join the party! Don't miss HGTV in your favorite social media feeds.