You’re welcome

I am only kidding with that title. I’ve been wracking my brain working on a method so that I would not have to hand applique those large wheels from yesterday. Not that I am averse to hand applique — I quite enjoy it. I just don’t have time to hand applique those wheels right now. And I WANT THAT QUILT DONE while it’s still fresh in my mind. Oh, and the ric rac applique edge wasn’t going to fit my vision. What to do, what to do?

Complicating things is the open center in the wheel. Yes, I know I could applique a circle over it. But let’s solve this in one fell swoop, shall we?

Yes, let’s.

OK, pretend this is one of the wheels. I’m starting with a 6 1/2″ square and a 7″ square of Pattern Ease. Any lightweight non-fusible interfacing will work. I’ve used fusible for a similar application, but let’s not get the iron messy, shall we?

SO, here’s your “donut” circle and a square of Pattern Ease that is slightly larger:

Lay the donut right side down on the Pattern Ease square — you may want to carefully pin these two together to lessen any shifting:

Stitch 1/4″ from the outer and inner raw edges:

Trim the Pattern Ease even with the outer and inner raw edges — I also clipped the inner curve:

Next, cut into the Pattern Ease only — halfway between the inner and outer edges

Now, flip the Pattern Ease over the outer edge, essentially turning it inside out so that the Pattern Ease goes to the back:

Use a chopstick or knitting needle to smooth the outer curve and press the outer edge.

Turn the Pattern Ease left around the inner ring to the back:

Smooth the inner seam with a chopstick or knitting needle and press.

Here’s what the reverse side looks like at this point:

Trim away most of the Pattern Ease leaving it approximately even with the 1/4″ seam allowance:


This finished circle can now be machine stitched to the background. Now, if one should desire, this circle could also now be hand appliqued to the background. See, with the big wheels, there are a lot of seams around those edges. The thought of dealing with that while maintaining a lovely 1/4″ turn-under was a little daunting. Problem solved. Yes, I know that you can still see a tad of the Pattern Ease. Well, be more careful next time. And/or applique to a white background. You’re welcome. 🙂



  1. Katy said

    oh, you are a flipping genius, aren’t you? Well, thank you, thank you very much. How on earth did you come up with that, then? If only I could spend just one day inside that head of yours. I’d be able to take over the world (well, maybe not, but my world would be greatly improved). Luckily you’re just here so it’s ALMOST the same.

  2. brilliant! Good luck with your wheels. It’s going to be a beautiful quilt when it’s DONE!

  3. Stephanie said

    Thank you clever girl!

  4. Lisa A said


  5. Bloody genius idea!!

  6. thanks a lot, i will certainly try that one with those lovely big wheels i am quite fond of right now.. 🙂

  7. What a clever girl you are! 🙂

  8. lily boot said

    see you’re too good for me. I would have completely balked at all those seams – can you imagine hand appliqueing that!!!!!! Dan and Anabel would have to move out. And the dogs would run away!!!! I would have been a complete cowardly custard and whacked them on with some machine, raw edge applique. But you … you are one clever chick. Hmmmm – today is cushion making day for the living room – and I’m doing a Dresden Plate (thanks to Erleperle), a Flying Geese (thanks to Anita) and now, I may need to do a wheel. Yep, a wheel thanks to Amy. But … I’m going to be that cowardly custard and machine applique it on :-0

  9. Sharon said

    Clever idea. I love your fabric choices for the wheels, very graphic. I came to your site via Be*mused blog. Lovely pictures.

  10. Carol said

    I’m sitting here with my mouth wide open! Man, you’re good!!! I don’t think even I would have thought of that. Brilliant!!! Truly brilliant!

  11. Carla said

    Amy, your wheels have really been turning!! Ha, ha, ha. I crack myself up!

  12. Fabulous – thank you!!

  13. Janet said

    Need is the mother of invention, definitely the way to go! I’ve seen a similar method for other machine applique as well but this is perfect for circles.

  14. Miriam said

    That is a very clever solution!!

  15. Sarah said

    So smart! I love how quilters come up with ingenious ways of doing things. I will try this today!

  16. pratima said

    Working with the seams on the edge can be very tricky. I like your idea… Thanks for the ‘how-to’ : v :

  17. Pure genius!! thank you for sharing.

  18. Susannah said

    GENIUS. Am so glad you use your super powers for good rather than evil…

  19. Gare said

    Great idea. I am doing some scrappy applique and am going to use this, thanks. I am really looking forward to seeing your circle quilt.

  20. MichelleB said

    You are such a clever chickie. Hey – congrats on being named one of Kaffe’s and Liza’s favorite blogs! We all know how fabulous you are – apparently they do, too!

  21. kathy said

    Now that is really clever!!!!! I guess I am gonna have to make some wagon wheels now!

  22. Joanna said

    This is very much like the Eleanor Burns method where she sews interfacing to the shape, cuts a slit in the interfacing, then turns it right way out and appliques it on. I haven’t tried it – I keep coming back to my plain ol’ needle turn applique! It’s a great alternative though!

  23. ibby said

    Love those wheels!

    Congrats on being one of Kaffe and Lucy’s favorite blogs! I knew I would see your blog on their list.

    Also – remember those lanterns you were making with Kaffe fabric last year? Coud I send you a picture of a quilt made referencing the old quilt?

  24. nanette said

    Pattern ease? Not familiar with it but intrigued. This is a great process you’ve created here! Fabulous really. I have to bookmark this.

  25. bethism said

    Oh this is awesome! Applique is way less scary now, I’m so thankful you shared this. But your attitude, that’s the best part. Annnnd I’m subscribing.

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