How to Appliqué a Heart Using the Starch Method! Featuring Kimberly Jolly and Joanna Figueroa


(gentle instrumental music) – Hi, I’m Kimberly with
the Fat Quarter Shop and I’m here with Joanna
from Fig Tree Quilts. Thanks for joining me today. – So happy to be here. – And so in quilting, applique
can kind of be that A word that nobody wants to do,
nobody likes to applique but adding gentle applique
to your existing projects can really make it pop. And so one of the first
things, and one of the things that’s in a lot of patterns, is hearts. So Joanna’s gonna show us how
to do a heart applique today, a very simple way. – So my favorite way to
do, well, the only way I’m willing to do applique
is with the starch method and I’m not a big heart person, but a heart is a perfect
example to show you what to do with an inner
point and an outer point. And so whether you’re gonna do a heart or whether you wanna do any other shape, this is a good place to get started. So even if you just wanna practice at home before you do a project, a
heart is a good way to do that because it has some of those
spots that people get stuck on. – Yep.
– So what I use, there’s a few supplies that
I kinda can’t do without on this, on the starch method of applique. I use the Heavy Starch. And I’ve tried several different kinds but really the Heavy Starch
is the best for this, for me. I use freezer paper. And I use, you can use the sheets. I use double, anything that
you can double will work, because I do two of them. I use a small iron or a big one. If it’s something that you
find that you’re gonna love to do, you’re definitely gonna
want to get a smaller iron so that you can kind
of get into the points. But if it’s just something
that you’re literally only gonna do once in a
while, you can get away with using your regular iron too.
– Yeah. – I use a thin Sharpie. I use a craft brush. You can basically, any
kind of a little brush and if you can’t find
anything with little, you know, short bristles,
you could literally get a bigger one and just cut them off. You just want them to be
kind of a little bit stiff so that it’s easy,
you’re gonna use this to add the starch. I use my size 11 straw needles. And my favorite for cotton
applique is YLI silk thread and it looks like that. And I use it in neutral colors because it blends and it
disappears so completely into the fabric that a few neutral colors, maybe a green, a red, a black,
so that you have a little, and then basically two different tans, is pretty much all you need for
almost every kind of fabric. So those are the, oh and, sorry, and Roxanne’s Glue Baste It. I’ll show you that in a
second on how I use that, but I kind of, that’s a must
have for this method for me. My favorite scissors, for any small kinds of
projects these days, are the Karen Kay Buckley’s Favorites. There’s the two sizes, I love them. There’s something about the way that they’re created
with the serrated blades that just grips fabric so wonderfully. The point is so sharp at the
end it kind of, you know, I don’t know, I love them.
– And it gives a really nice, clean cut so that–
– It does. – When you’re doing
applique you don’t have a lot of shredded fabric on the end. – Absolutely, and it
doesn’t slip on fabric which is all the different
things that I love about it. When I’m using, I use this any time I have any kind of a thread that’s
thicker than probably, you know, YLI’s a really thin thread, but if I use any other kind of thread, I need that.
– A needle cutter. – A needle cutter, yeah, needle threader. – Okay, so let’s go ahead
and she’s gonna show you how you applique a heart. – [Joanna] So the first
thing we’re going to do is we’re going to take a
shape, in this case a heart, and I just had one cut out here so I basically just
laid it down and traced just literally right on the
line with my ultra-thin Sharpie. Which I love these, it’s
what I use for all applique, it’s just a real simple Sharpie pen. What I’m gonna do then in order
to make a stronger template is I’m going to put another piece right on top of it and I’m going to press the two together. Now freezer paper will press to itself, it will also, as you’re doing
this, press to the board but that’s okay because see
how easily that comes up? So I’m basically going
to then cut out my shape with paper scissors. So you just wanna have
a small set of scissors somewhere around that
you just use for paper because it will dull your fabric scissors. – [Cameraman] Okay, so keep it high. – [Joanna] And one of the things I like to tell my students always is your final shape will only be
as good as your cutting job. So actually sometimes it’s
easier just to do this and cut it out bigger like that and then when you have a
smaller piece to deal with, to do the better job. But if you cut out a
shape that’s all jaggedy around the outside, your final
applique will be jaggedy. So there’s actually all kinds
of methods that people use for making sure that their shape doesn’t have jagged edges. So I don’t know if you
can see that right there, but there’s like a little
piece that’s not curved so I’m gonna go back and I’m gonna look at that and make sure. And up here I’m gonna go and
I’m gonna correct that shape. Especially if I’m gonna use
it a lot, many times over and over again, which is
one of the things I love about freezer paper templates is that you can use them again and again. So one of the things that, I always have an emery board in the studio and if I end up with a
little jaggedy piece, you literally can take the emery board and just kind of go like this on the edge and it will get rid of any
kind of a little mishap that you had with the scissors. So basically once you have
a shape that you know, just remember, if your
shape is not perfect, or you know, it’s not about being perfect, but if it’s not the way that you want it, your final shape will have
the same exact problem. So you’re gonna take that
template that you just made and you’re going to put
it on a piece of fabric and you’re going to press it on there. And, yeah, you’re gonna just go ahead
and just put that on there. And with your starch… You’re gonna prep the
starch as your next step. So when I say that I use the Heavy Starch, and it’s aerosol. Is that right? Yeah, it’s aerosol. So I put a little bit of
it in here, into my cap. (spray hissing)
And it will be foamy at the beginning, here
let me put this over here on this side, actually. So I don’t know if you
can see that in there, it’s gonna start foaming up in there. And so usually I do that
right at the beginning of my process so by the
time I’m ready to use it, the foam has all come out and it’s just liquid on the bottom, okay? So I’m just gonna make sure that this is pressed on here well. So I don’t, I usually turn
off the steam function when I’m doing this so that I don’t, especially when I’m
doing the applique part, when I’m starching it back,
so I don’t burn the crapola out of my fingers.
(chuckling) So make sure that if you
have a steam function that you get rid of that. So I’ve got my foam, it’s
de-foaming, my starch is ready. I’ve got my shape, so
now I’m gonna take my favorite little scissors and I’m going to cut out the shape around. Now how this is cut is not so important, whereas the shape of the freezer paper is, because that’s what’s going
to determine your shape. This is merely the seam allowance that you’re going to be
pressing to the back. So as long as it’s a scant
quarter of an inch around, you’re good. You don’t want it to be a lot bigger because it will get bulky. And you don’t want it to be a lot smaller because you’ll start to struggle with it. So let me get rid of that piece. Now in a heart shape,
there’s a couple places where you’re gonna need to work with the fabric a little bit. In order to be able to
get into that point, you’re gonna need to take your scissors and you’re gonna need to come down. And when you come down, don’t come all the way to the end because you’re going to then lose that. I come a few threads shy of that center of that point in there. On this outside curve, if
it’s a really strong curve, you wanna clip in a few places. One, maybe two, three max. You don’t need to do any
thing on the straightaway. You don’t need to do anything on the outer point at this point. Come back to this and go one, two, three. I started kind of on the end here so I’m gonna give it one more. And that’s all I’m gonna do to this shape to prepare the fabric, okay? I’m gonna put my scissors over here. And at this point is where
the little craft brush comes into play. And again, you just want
something with short little bristles so that it’s
easy to paint your starch on. So at this point my starch
has more or less de-foamed enough for me to use it. I’m just gonna get a
little bit on my paintbrush and I’m just gonna start to paint it on, literally just painting it
onto the seam allowance. And people always ask
me, well, what happens if a little bit of it gets onto my fabric, I mean onto my paper? Well, nothing will happen. If you get a lot on there it
will start to curl your paper and it won’t make it as
an effective of a template so I try and stay off of it. But if a little bit gets on
there, nothing will happen. So once I have pressed it, I’m sorry, once I’ve gotten
my starch all the way around, I’m going to move my starch out of the way and I’m gonna grab my iron. And this, like I mentioned before, if this is something you’re
going to do a lot of, you’re gonna want to get you
a favorite iron that’s small. There’s lots of good
small irons out there. This is a Rowenta. You can also, you guys see that it’s steaming right now, so I’m gonna turn it off
from the steam to the dry because otherwise I’m gonna burn myself. So I’m gonna start on what
we call a straightaway ’cause it’s the easiest spot, and I’m literally going
to fold the fabric over with my finger onto the template. And because it’s been starched, it goes very easily where I want it. And I pull every tiny
little, you know, piece over with my finger as I go. And again, and then I just press it until I know that it’s down. Okay, and then I move it over. And for this step, a
lot of people use a tool like an awl, a stiletto, again, my favorite tool for all kinds of things,
a chopstick, a skewer. I love to use my finger and my nail. People ask me if I’ve burned myself. I have. But I find that I have the best sense of what the fabric is
doing with my finger. Sorry, that’s my head in the way. So as I’m coming up, so that curve was really
easy because the fabric was, it’s all wet, so it turns
real simple right to my shape. When I get to this inside point, I’m gonna basically use the iron and I’m gonna make like a sweeping gesture for the best shape that I can get. So I’m gonna literally grab that in there and I’m going to go into the corner, or into the edge, and
I’m gonna sweep around and I’m gonna hold it there. And if you can see, it has gone pretty well into that center piece. If that didn’t work out for me, or if at any point during this process I didn’t like the way
that the fabric turned, I would simply put a little
bit of starch back on it and I would do it again. So don’t worry if you turn
something and you don’t like it, you can go back and fix it. So here actually, here’s a great example. So while I was doing that center, this piece pressed on me
kind of all the way out here and it’s gonna be jaggedy. So what I’m gonna do is
I’m gonna go back with my paintbrush and I’m just gonna put a tiny bit of starch back on
that so that it’s soft again so that it’s easy for me to turn it. So it’s very forgiving. I mean, you probably don’t wanna go back and do the starch on there like six times but, you know, adding a little
bit isn’t gonna do anything. So I’m gonna just push
that out with my finger and I’m gonna keep going. I’m gonna pull it and press, pull it and press, pull it, pull it. I’m gonna sit there for a second just to make sure that it’s set. I’m gonna turn it. Pull it, the straightaways
are always the easiest because that doesn’t require much. Okay, so we’re coming up
to my outer point now. So we’ve done the inner point where you saw me sweep the iron kind of around that point
to get the fabric in there. On the outer point, you’re going to press all the way past it, straight into the second side, you’re basically just gonna keep going. See that, you just kind
of went right past it? And then you’re going to
turn it to the other side and you’re basically gonna fold it over from the other piece. Now if it’s a really very tight point… Let me just finish that and show you. Okay. So if you can see that here, I went here all the way to the open part, I closed that on itself. If this was a really tight point, some of that would stick
out from the other side and you would just go back and trim that. In this one you don’t
even need to do that. So here, let me just grab
my scissors and show you. So on this part, if you turn to this side, you can see that no part even sticks out, it’s all completely hidden. But it’s a tiny bit bulky. So I would go in before I
started to hand applique it and I would literally just
trim that much of it off so that there’s not so much bulk. But not because it was sticking out, because there’s just a
lot of fabric under there. If it was a tighter curve
and I had any part of it sticking out, I would simply
trim that little piece off, just being careful to not
go anywhere near the end because then later on when
you’re doing the hand applique, you won’t struggle with that part. So basically you have your perfect heart and you’re now going to
take out the freezer paper. Again, you wanna open it
somewhere on a straightaway, you never wanna pull it out at any tip or even where you have a lot of curves. So I’ll open it right here and in one gesture, I’ll pull it out. And I’ll put it aside. I’ll put my shape down and I’ll lightly press it just
to make sure that it’s flat. And that’s it, I’m done with it. This piece, this shape here as you can see is still
in perfect condition and I can use this over
and over and over again. Sometimes I’ve used a shape up to 20 times before it has started to
curl around on the outside and then I would just make another one. So if you have 40 leaves in a quilt, you don’t need to make 40 shapes. You make one until it runs out of use and then you make another one. So here’s a heart, I’ve made a couple other
ones just to show you. So here I started off, so I wanted to show you basically, like on this little yellow one, there was a little piece here that I wanted to show
you a mistake, right? And how I might fix it. So on this one, I have like a little part here
that’s not a perfect curve. So I probably would’ve fixed that before I took the template out but if I didn’t notice it until later, I could literally kind of
put my finger back in there, put in a tiny bit of starch back on it… And even without the template in there, I could pull back. – [Cameraman] Your head, Joanna. – Sorry. Pull that back with my finger and press it into a better curve. You guys are gonna see the top of my head way too many times today. I keep wanting to bend over onto my shape. Okay, so there’s that, it was a fix of it, okay? Another thing, oh, here. This is another example
I wanted to show you. So if you can see that, it’s hard to see, let me bring something darker underneath so it’s easier, this is the
background I’m going to use. Can you see on there how
from that tip right there there’s the fabric
sticking out from when I, there’s a little piece right there. So that would be the kind of piece where, if it was too much of it, and before I’m gonna applique, I’m gonna go in and I’m literally
gonna trim that piece out. I’m gonna make sure, and
even if there’s a tiny bit sticking out there, I can leave
a little bit of it on there like that. Because when I’m putting,
when I’m doing the stitch, I can pull that under. But anything that’s bigger
that’s sticking out like that you can get rid of. Okay, so those are just a
couple of the different little, here’s another one that I
already prepped ahead of time. And here I’ll just, again, find a straightaway… Pull it right out. Everything here will stay. And it will stay for quite some time. So all of the work in the
starch method of applique is basically on the front end. So you spend the time prepping it but then your shape is the perfect shape that you want it to be, you
can take it with you to travel. I carry them in little baggies with me and then use them when I’m, you know, at my children’s soccer
game or on a road trip. I don’t have to spend a lot of energy or a lot of time worrying
about how my shape is gonna be, how I’m gonna needle turn it, because it’s already all finished. So the next step I’m going to show you is the actual stitching part. Okay, so we have prepared the heart and we’re ready to actually do
the gluing and the stitching. So the first thing you’re going to do is you’re going to turn your shape over and you’re going to use little tiny dots of my favorite glue, which is
the Roxanne’s Glue Baste It. Sometimes it takes a
while to get it started, but if you can see that, basically little tiny dots
maybe every 3/8ths of an inch or so all the way around. Make sure you for sure have
one dot right there in that tip ’cause you wanna secure that. And just go all the way around it. And that’s it. It’s a water-soluble glue so if you were ever to
wash it it would come out. I’ve never had any problems with it ever, been using it for years. And you’re then going
to position your piece and you’re just going to gently press it down with your fingers in preparation. Okay? What you’re going to do
then is you’re going to prepare your needle and your thread. So I use the YLI silk
when I want my stitches to disappear completely. And there’s kind of two tips, there are two things
that I do with my thread. One, YLI silk thread is
incredibly thin and very slippery. So if you don’t do something to make sure it doesn’t
slip out of your needle, it will slip out of your needle. So given how thin it is, you are literally going to thread it and you’re going to tie it to the needle. Yep, you’re going to take
it with a standard knot that I can’t seem to do right now. And you’re going to knot it once around the eye of the needle and you’re gonna knot it a second time around the eye of the needle. So that knot will not bother you at all, it’ll slide right through your fabric but now your thread is
not gonna go anywhere. It’s a god send. It was a tip I learned from
someone like a decade ago. The other thing you’re gonna
do is you need to be able to create a knot at the end. Now I know that there’s
a lot of, you know, very special ways of doing knots. If you haven’t already figured out, I’m not that picky of a quilter. (laughing) So this is literally what I do. I take my finger, I loop it once and I slide it off my finger and I just kind of go
like this a couple times until it makes a knot at the end. I’m serious, that’s what I do. It’s not pretty but it works. I always have a knot, it’s usually about the
size that I want it to be and it hardly ever comes out. So there’s one right there. I’m gonna take that now and I’m
going to start at the bottom underneath my fabric. So I’m going to start
from the bottom so that that very unbeautiful knot is well hidden. It’s a very thin thread so
it’s never really a problem. And I’m gonna come up right along the edge. So in this kind of applique
I want the stitches to hide. So I’m trying to have as
little of the thread show as possible on the front. So I’m literally coming
up right on the very edge of that fabric, I’m gonna
pull it all the way out. And I’m going to go into
the background fabric in exactly the same position
that I just came in. So I know this is probably
really hard for you to see. So I’m gonna come over about
a scant eighth of an inch on the underneath and I’m gonna pull it back up again, barely into the fabric. And then I’m gonna go again. Right outside on the background at the same position where I was and I’m gonna come over underneath. So I’m basically making
movement underneath and as little as possible on top. So all I see on the front is
that one little tiny bite, that’s the tiny little
bite that’s from right here to the background in the same position and then I go under
where I make my movement to the next stitch, I don’t
know if you can see that. It’s all underneath. And I’m basically, it’s
a tiny little whip stitch is all that it is. I always hold it with my left hand, go under. Oops. Got caught on something there. And then the tiny little
bite on the outside. There I am on the inside, tiny little bite on the outside. And I’m gonna keep doing this for a little bit until
I get to the inner point so I can show you that. I used the neutral thread,
this one is my favorite neutral YLI thread, I
use it for most fabrics. If I’m gonna have something really dark or something really light, I will use a black or a red or a cream on very light fabrics. But most of what I’m doing I will work with one or two neutral tones. And you’ll never see the thread, it’ll literally disappear
into your fabric. So I’m coming up to my point, my inner point. And I’m just gonna, you wanna handle an inner
point as little as possible because the threads there,
there’s less of them, because you’ve trimmed it in closer and it’s the place where
it might fray the most. So you just wanna handle
it as little as possible. So I’m gonna come up into it and I’m literally gonna go into it once on one side and once from the other side. And that’s it, then I’m
just gonna keep going. Sorry about that, I keep getting stuck on the edge of my little board here. I’m gonna come around to the other side. And I would go all the
way around the circle, what I’m gonna show you now,
that’s gonna take too long, what I’m gonna show you now is what I would do at the end. So if I was working here on
the other end of my circle and I was coming around here, let’s just pretend that I’m already there. You’ll see a big piece of
thread across the heart, just pretend that it’s not there. So I’m gonna come up
again and if I had a piece sticking out at this point,
this would be the point where I would take my needle and I would just tuck
that little piece under. In this particular point there’s nothing, I’ve already trimmed that piece and so I would just go there, remember that there is a
little bit more fabric there so you’re just gonna have to
make sure that your needle will go easily through that but the YLI thread will
have no problem there. And I do the same kind of
thing on an outer point, I will just go in from one side, try to handle it as little as possible, and go in once from the other side. And that’s it, now I’ll keep going all the way around my
shape until I’m done. And we’re gonna pretend that
this is where I would be done. I would go back into the back of my shape and I would literally just, I would secure it into
the back by going in once, looping through my thread one time just to create a little knot and I would probably
do that a second time. Just into that background
fabric, loop it through to secure it because that
creates a little knot and I would be done. I would just trim it about half an inch. And if you can see, I’m not sure that you can. But all of the stitches,
basically, that are showing are here on the back side. So those are all, so if you can see, stitch, stitch, stitch, stitch, around there, I could
show that with a pen. So there are your stitches, there’s one, there’s one, there’s one, there’s one,
there’s one, there’s one. So that’s where it’s kind of
a scant eighth of an inch, the stitches are going
around along the back side, that’s where you’re moving
forward on the applique. And on the front, all you have is the tiny, tiny little bite from edge to the background,
from edge to the background. So when you’re done with it, and even when the fabric kind of comes up a little bit, it’s
almost impossible to see, which is part of why I
love these YLI silk threads for this kind of applique. Now, if you don’t have that and
you don’t have access or you just wanna try it with
something that you have at home, you could absolutely use your favorite Aurifil
thread if you have that. Here I’ve got a piece ready with a green, I’ll just show you the
difference of one that disappears and this one that’s just
the color that’s matching, this is the regular 50 weight that we have in our Fig Tree collections. And Aurifil is coming out, they’re prototyping this
currently, it’s an 80 weight and it will be available
at some point in the future and I can’t wait to try it. It’s specifically for
applique and it’s thinner so we’ll have to see how that
works, it feels very nice. So that would be another
option in the future, it’s just a prototype at this point. But so with my regular 50-weight Aurifil, I’m not even gonna glue this on here just so that we can see the difference. But this is my regular 50-weight Aurifil. I would come up, again, from the back and take my little bite. And this is just the difference
from between the YLI, something that you’re trying
hard to make sure disappears, and then the case where perhaps
you have the perfect color, or perhaps you wanna
do a decorative stitch that you actually wanna have show. Or perhaps you’re just
not that worried about if you can see the thread
a little bit on the outside and you just wanna experiment
with a little applique without worrying about
100 supplies quite yet until you fall in love with it. So there’s a couple of
stitches, if you can see that, of the 50-weight Aurifil. Because that color happens
to blend in so well with that fabric right there, you can barely see that
as well even though it’s not technically a
specialty applique thread. So I just, I would love for you
guys to try it this way, I tried probably 10
different applique methods before I found starch about 10 years ago and I hated applique. And once I was able to do this, because all of the work
comes in the prep part, by the time it comes time
to do the applique part, I love it because I get
the shape that I want. So another thing that I
love about the starch method of applique is once you’ve
done all of your work in prepping your shape, you
can use it for hand applique or you can just as easily
use it for machine applique. When I have a tight deadline on a project, I will prep everything
with the starch method and I will machine applique all of it, especially if my shapes are bigger. I will do that almost
always on all of my projects that have stems or long,
thin strips of anything, handles for baskets, large
circles for Dresdens. I will do almost all of that on my machine as those kinds of pieces that
don’t have a lot of tight inner points are really
simple to do on the machine. Most machines have some
kind of a little overlock or an applique stitch, a blanket stitch, so you could experiment with your machine. But even if you’re stuck and in a bind, you could do a small little
zig zag on your machine. And you would use that Aurifil 50 weight, it’d be perfect for machine applique and you already have
the shape that you want and you’ll still get wonderful results without having to do the hand work if that’s not something that you enjoy. – [Kimberly] Thanks for sharing all of your applique techniques. – Yeah, it’s my pleasure. I hope that it, even if one person out there
wants to do applique after that then that’s a success. – And for me, you know, that little tying the knot on the needle? I’m gonna do that. I’m gonna try that on 50
weight, that was pretty cool. And I’m always so scared of applique but having a video like
this where I’m at home and I can go back for free and look and try it out myself, you
know, it’s really empowering. So I’m definitely gonna
be referring to this video and I’m just like you guys,
scared of it just like you. But I know we can do it and, you know, take it to the next level. So make sure to like, comment
and subscribe and watch all of Joanna’s other videos
at the Fat Quarter Shop. (gentle instrumental music)