A few of the quilts I am working on have one thing in common: lots and lots of circles! Let me tell you about “Perfect Circles”, a product that should be in every quilters toolbox. I would not attempt to make an appliqued circle without them! “Perfect Circles” is a set of Mylar circles that range in size from 1/2″ – 2″ in diameter.
They are very easy to use but over the years I have come up with a few tips that I would like to share with you. The very first (and most important) tip is that when you have a lot of circles (like 98!) you need some sort of motivation!! I am prepping my fifth block of Sue Garman’s Friends of Baltimore and just about fainted when I saw 98 fairly small circles!
So I came up with a plan. Every time I completed 20 tiny purple circles, I would reward myself with a few chocolate covered cranberries!! Let’s be honest…chocolate covered anything would work!!
Here are the steps I use to make my circles:
1. Trace the circle on to the wrong side of the fabric. You can layer your fabric and cut more than one circle at a time.
2. Cut the circle out leaving a decent 1/4 inch seam allowance.
3. Thread a needle with some contrasting thread. Take your first stitch so that the knot is on the right side of the fabric. (This is important!)
4. Do a running stitch around the circle, halfway between the raw edge and the traced line. Don’t go too close to the edge or your seam allowance will shred into nothing-ness! (Trust me!)
5. Take your last stitch so that the needle comes out on the right side of the fabric, right beside the knot from where you started. (This is important!)
6. Gently pull the thread so that the seam allowance gathers around the Perfect Circle. I like to pull the thread towards myself.
7. Use a paint brush in your left hand to dab some spray starch onto the seam allowance. It should be moist, not wet. You should still be holding onto the thread with your right hand. Take a breath at some point!
8. With your left hand, use your mini-iron to press the seam allowance flat against the Perfect Circle. You should still be holding the thread tight. Turn the circle over and press with your iron to make sure that the fabric is absolutely dry.
9. Very gently, pry open the circle where the knot and thread meet. Remove template.
10. Very gently, pull the thread so that the seam allowance lies perfectly flat again.
11. Knot the thread or take a few back stitches to make sure the seam allowance stays in place.
12. Clip the thread and press one last time! Isn’t it perfect??
13. Repeat 20 times and have some chocolate!!!