Placing your applique on your background

Hello Everyone

Do any of you struggle with placement of your applique ?

I have been writing applique patterns for some time now and have always included a full sized pattern layout sheet. With this in mind I have been working on turning all of my patterns into PDF downloadable patterns. This causes a problem with some of my applique patterns, as the pattern layout sheets are large and you need several A4 or letter sized pages to complete the layout. ( A lot of taping together ) Also through taping these patterns sheets together it is very easy to distort the design. I have decided to take a look at how to eliminate all these pages and found that some of the patterns from other designers are done with a 1 inch grid. This gives you a guide to placement.

There are several methods, I have been playing with the pros and cons of a few of these methods and these are my results::

Light Box:  For my applique placement I have always printed a full sized pattern layout and used a light box.

Pros: Exact placement and no guessing, especially when you have a lot of small pieces to place.

Cons: Does not work well with Dark or heavy background fabric. Not everyone has a light box.

Using a window as a light box is hard on your arms.

Transferring your applique design onto a clear vinyl sheet: This seems to be a popular method.

Pros: Works with any colour or weight of background fabric. Easily transported and you do not need to purchase a light box.

Cons: Pieces move easily and can be hard to get into exact position.

Some books with applique designs give a smaller picture and you can use it as a guide, making it a more organic placement.

Pros: No need to have a lot of pages taped together. No need for a light box. Your blocks will be more original.

Cons: It will take some practice to create a block with lots of small pieces. Hard to get pieces in the exact place. ( Does this matter ? )

1 Inch Grid: Using a 1 inch grid for placement.

I have seen many patterns printed this way, where the applique pattern is shown with a 1 inch grid for placement. I decided to test this method for myself. I made a 1 inch grid using a clear sheet.

Pros: Easy to print. You only ever need to make your vinyl grid once, it can be used many times. Placement is accurate. Its portable and no need to purchase a light box. Works on all background fabrics. Works well with small applique pieces.

Using the inch grid method

Free pattern Rosa Block

The pattern is not full scale, the 1 inch grid is used so you know where to place your pieces.

The first thing I did was to make a 1 inch overlay, using a transparent sheet. The one I used I got from a stationers and it is for architects. I laid this on my cutting board, I also made sure that my ruler marks and the cutting mat marks are the same.

Step 1_edited-1

I then marked lines in 1 inch segments, using my ruler and a fine black marking pen.

step 2

I then numbered the segments along the top and side of the grid.

Step 3

After making my applique pieces I used the pattern guide and the 1 inch overlay grid to place my applique pieces in the correct position.

Overlay placement

Pic 4

Pic 2_edited-1

Pic 3


Final pic

As you can see, this method worked out well, if you would like to try this block you can download the free Rosa Block Pattern.

I would love to hear your thoughts, and your favorite method.

Happy Stitching



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