Thursday, December 9, 2010


I want to start a series called ask refashionlisa. You can ask any question having to do with refashioning, sewing, or even fashion and I will do my best to answer. Just e-mail me. The information is on my side bar.

Question: My sister is working on appliqueing some stars on quilts for her boys. Do you have a tutorial you could send her way? I tried to describe your technique to her but of course failed. Can you help her out?


Funny you ask Joy. I have a quick story. I had this same question from the girl who I didn't know when I first moved to Pittsburgh. I did my best to teach her but the technique I knew was complex. Then she invited me to take a hand quilting class with her. We learned this far simpler technique from a dear old lady named Maxine. Her quilt finally got completed with all of its little stars right before we parted ways. She became and still is one of my dearest friends. Hooray for applique.
Just to make it applicable to this blog I thought I would include this picture. My sister used this same technique for a pair of jeans that had holes is them, they were my neices and now they are my daughters. I paired it with this shirt I made out of two old t-shirts and I think the outfit is adorable. Let's begin.Freezer paper. You must have it. You can get it at your local grocery store. It is usually with the alumin foil and Ziploc bags, however sometimes it can be found in the baking section, look around. I know there are tutorials on using old dryer sheets which is nice in theory but so much harder to do. It is cheap around 3.50 a roll and you can do a million appliques off of one roll. It is worth the investment.
I have always seen it with a little craft do-hicky on the side.
Find a star on the web. Print it.
Trace it on a piece of freezer paper. Not with a sharpie. I did it only so my marking would be visible. Use a pencil.
Cut it out.
Iron it on to your fabric. Don't use steam it will warp the paper. Iron it shiny side down.

It will stick to your fabric.
Then cut at around a quarter inch seam allowance all the way around. I use to measure. Now I just eye it.
There you are. This is what your front will look like.
Here is the back.
Clip in at every inward point on the star.

Clip the tips a little bit.
Now pull out your glue stick. Any glue stick will do. I haven't found one brand works better than another.
Glue along the edge of the applique. Then start by pinching all of the points in.
Then pinch the fabric onto the freezer paper. Use small careful rapid pinches move upward from an inward point to the outer point all along the star.
Tuck the fabric and use a little more glue so the points will look like points. Do the best you can. As you can tell from the picture mine isn't perfect either.
Apply glue liberally to the back side of the star.
Place it where you want on your quilt. Just like you are in Kindergarten and you are gluing a star to a piece of construction paper.
Then use a straight stitch to sew along the very edge of the star. If you blow this picture up you can see. I have the cut out nich of my pressure foot along the edge of my applique piece. The needle follows the pressed metal nich, so it should be barely over from the edge.
I use a small stitch length. Usually a 2. You can start anywhere but when you get to an inward or outward point just put your needle down into the fabric, lift the pressure foot and pivot the piece of fabric. Then continue sewing. Then when you reach another point stop, put needle down, pull pressure foot up, pivot, and continue. Easy. When you get to your starting point run over it by five or six stitches, then back stitch and you are done. (This will ensure your applique threads won't gradually come out over time.)
Walla. You have a little star appliqued right on your quilt. Or on your kids jeans.

WARNING: This is not a tutorial for appliquing on a t-shirt or a onesie. A tutorial like this will come. I promise. This is not it. HUGS.


  1. Horray for applique:) Lisa, check out this girl skirt refashion.

  2. Love SM's shirt in the picture. I am getting very excited about girl clothes!

  3. Thanks for this Lisa! I'm going to try it!