Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Tutorial – How to applique a tiny (1 cm) circle/dot

At first glance Snowflake Medallion looks fairly straight forward, if on the repetitive side. 

But, as Linda and I have discovered, it has a couple of challenges - for example, appliqueeing 72 tiny 1 centimetre dots to the flower applique blocks.


For me, tracing the tiny circle onto mylar, cutting out the shape and drawing up the fabric over the shape with a gathering thread was not an option.  Try as I might I simply could not cut the edges of such a minute disk of plastic smoothly enough, and bumpy edges can really show when you’re dealing with pieces this small.  

And the thought of cutting out multiples of these babies?  No way, Jose.

The quest – Find 72 ready-made 1 centimetre circular shapes. 

The solution – Sequins!


(Forget the dimpling – the edge really was smooth.)

I held the sequin on the fabric while I traced around it, then cut out the circle leaving the smallest seam allowance I could get away with. 


Then I ran a running stitch around and gathered up the fabric over the sequin.  I drew it up quite tightly, and just left a small tail of thread (it held OK without securing it, and made life easier a little later). I had quite a bulky little bunch at the back, but this was OK. 








My sequin was ever-so-slightly convex, so I made sure the convex side was on top as it was much easier to sew to the background this way.  I was able to push any excess fabric under with my needle as I stitched the dot down, so the slight bumpiness in the photo above was easily smoothed in the process.

Once appliqueed, I turned my work over and simply cut a tiny circle out from beneath the shape.  Then I prised the sequin out, quite easy to do because I had left my gathering unsecured in that earlier step.








At this stage I could have done a tiny bit  more careful trimming of the raspberry fabric from the back, but I prefer to leave a little bulk so that the dots have more dimension on the finished quilt.

Result? A small (but reasonably perfectly formed!) 1 centimetre dot!

[Now bring on all those jokes about going dotty – I can take it!!]


Footnote: Another advantage of this method is that you can have a whole assembly-line of dots going.  My two packets of sequins together cost me $2 so I wasn’t in the least upset when my sequins often emerged bent and un-reusable at the end.


  1. Ohmygosh! This is an absolutely stupendous idea! You are just THE cleverist! I sure wish I'd let you have the head start on this project. I think I'll be un-appliqueing all MY 1 cm circles and re-doing them your way. Thanks for the great photos and tutorial. You're wonderful!

  2. Great tutorial - what a nice change from tiny little circles of mylar. I'll be sure and link to you later on, great idea :)

  3. What a wonderful tip for applique of those tiny circles. I vaguely remember another tip using those hole reinforcing sticky things from the stationey department, I think they are left in place too. I will certainly give your tip a go, I do like my circles to be actually round, so thank you Di!

  4. What a brilliant idea! (Could it be frustration that is the true mother of invention?) You are so clever to have worked this out. Well done.
    Jett from Belgrave

  5. Thank you for sharing this wonderful idea...

  6. Thankyou for sharing this great idea.

  7. Just when I needed this, I was referred here. Brilliant idea!


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