7 October 2016

A Little Happy Sew Along ~ Merry Christmas Mini Quilt ~ Part 2 Applique and Hexies

Welcome to Week 2 of the Merry Christmas Mini Quilt Sew Along!  It's been so lovely seeing all your mini quilts in progress!  This week we're going to cover the Christmas tree applique and the sweet little hexies.

BEFORE STARTING Always Remember to:

1. Read all instructions before you begin.
2. RST means right sides together.
3. All seam allowances are  1/4”.
4. WOF means width of fabric.
5. If you need help, please do get in touch!


H - (1) 2 1/2" x 5 1/2" rectangle (cut last week)
I - (1) 2 1/2" x 3" rectangle (cut last week)
J - (1) 2" x 10" rectangle (cut last week)
3" piece of ribbon
(5)  1/2" English Paper Piecing papers available HERE

You will also need for the applique either Vilene Sew in L11/310 or Bondaweb both available HERE.


There are many different methods for applique, which is great, because it means that there's a method for everyone.  Today I'm going to give two options for how to applique the Christmas tree, the interfacing method, which provides a neat finish and gives the impression of traditional needle turned applique (but believe me is a lot easier!) and raw edge applique.  I'm also going to share how I appliqued the sweet little hexies.

First off, we're going to need a template for the Christmas tree,  the Christmas tree is made up of three isosceles triangles placed one on top of the other and a piece of folded ribbon for the branch.

A. To make the template for the triangle, draw a horizontal line 2 inches long.
B. Bisect the horizontal line, by marking the center point and draw another line perpendicular to the original. (as indicated by the dashed line). On the vertical line, mark a point at 1 1/2" up from the horizontal line.
C. From the 1 1/2" mark to the corners of the horizontal  line, draw the final two sides of the triangle.

Please note the triangle template is the exact finished size, without any seam allowances.

You may want to make the template out of quilters template plastic, we have this in the shop, but due to the size and fragility can not post.... sorry!  Or do what quilters have done for years and use a cereal box.  Make sure you label the template so you know what project it is from and keep it safe ..... personally I keep mine in a pretty tin.....but you guessed that right?!

To applique my Christmas Tree I used the interfacing method.  This is my favourite method of applique.....here's some examples from previous projects including the Block of the Month quilt.

To use this method in addition to your fabric, you will also need a light weight sew in interfacing, I use Vilene Sew In L11/310.

Here's what you do.  Draw around the template, I use a pencil or Frixion marker, make sure your line is clearly visable.  Roughly cut out around the shape with no less that 1/2" seam allowance.  You will need 3 triangles.

Pin the vilene on to the right side of your fabric.  This method is great if you're looking to fussy cut as you can see through the vilene, which enables you centre the applique perfectly.  However for the tree fussy cutting is not required.

Using your sewing machine, sew on top of the drawn line, all the way round, stitch over your first few stitches to secure them.

A little happy tip.......make sure your stitch is nice and small, on my Janome I make it 1.5 and always start at the half way point on an edge rather than at a corner....both of these will ensure a strong seam!

Now carefully cut out the shape with an aprox 1/4" seam allowance.  I also like to trim the corners, cutting away some of the excess fabric, but be very careful not to cut too close to your stitches.

With small sharp scissors, cut a little cross in the centre of the interfacing then turn the applique through.  

Carefully using a pointed hera marker or as I do, a chopstick, to push out the corners..... be gentle and do not to push to hard or you will rip either the fabric or vilene. 

Press the applique on the fabric side.  Pin the triangles and the ribbon in place.....my Clover applique pins are perfect for this!  You can see from the picture that I overlapped the triangles by a smidge and the bottom triangle overlaps the raw edge of the ribbon by aprox 1/2".

Before I appliqued the triangles, I carefully lifted the bottom edge of the bottom triangle and added some additional stitches to the ribbon to secure it.  Using tiny little whip stitches applique in place.

A little happy tip...... For a lovely neat finish, I bring my needle up from the back of the background fabric skimming the side of the applique, rather than directly into the applique.  I then sew into the applique fabric and not through the vilene.  Then when you take the needle back down into the background fabric it will sandwich the vilene underneath, entirely out of sight. 

A note on the thread, I used 50wt Aurifil thread for my hand stitches......the applique rule being to use matching thread to the applique fabric rather than the background fabric.

Once you have finished the applique, press from the back rather than the front, which helps the appliques retain a slight puffy feel rather than flattening them, which I prefer.  

You could of course if you prefer machine the appliques in place, or use a decorative stitch such as Blanket Stitch, you can find a tutorial for this HERE.

So if you don't fancy the Interfacing method of applique, why not try raw edge applique using Bondaweb.  Bondaweb is a double sided adhesive.  I wrote a comprehensive tutorial for how to applique with Bondaweb a few years ago, which you can find HERE.   If you choose this method remember to secure your ribbon in place before ironing the triangles in place.

Moving on to the hexies.  First off you need to baste your fabric to your papers, on this occasion I chose to thread baste, can see how to do this HERE.  The basting stitches remain after removing the paper and help retain the hexie shape.

A little happy tip....punch a hole in your papers prior to basting and iron the hexies prior to removing the paper, the hole makes it easy to pop the papers out.

Centre the hexies in position, remember just like the tree to allow for the extra 1/4" seam allowance that will be taken up when you add the binding (on the right hand side).  Pin each individual hexie, then whip stitch in place.

I added some decorative stitches to my hexies using 12wt Aurifil #2021.  I simply added stitches starting a smidge in from each corner to the centre of the hexie as shown....

I hope that you'll join me next week when, I'll be sharing the embroidery patterns and don't forget Mum (Penny) and I would love to see your progress, so please do use the hashtags, so we can take a peek! 

#alittlehappysewalong or/and #prettyfabricsandtrims

Happy Stitches!


  1. Keeping my fingers crossed that this is my Friday night sorted!

  2. really enjoyed my first attempted at interfacing appliqué. Many thanks, fab sew along. X


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