Machine Applique Ornament Hotpads

Oct 23, 2015 9:00:12 AM / by AccuQuilt

Hi, fellow GO! Getters! It's Gina from Gem Hill Quilts. I'm back to share with you a wonderful project that is just perfect for the holidays! It was quite a pleasure to work on these projects and I think you will feel the same.

Using the GO! Snowflakes – 7” (55450) and the GO! Big Circle-4", 6", 7", 8" (55462), I made three hotpads, each in the shape of an ornament! P&B Fabrics provided the yummy materials! It is a great project to make for yourself as well as gifts to your friends and family. It is also a good way to learn and practice several quilting techniques. So, come with me on this journey and let me share some tips and tricks so these hotpads are a breeze to make!


You know how no two snowflakes are the same? Well, the GO! Snowflakes – 7” (55450) die includes three distinctly different snowflake patterns that are 7” in diameter each.  And, luckily for us, the GO! Big Circle-4", 6", 7", 8" (55462) die includes an 8” circle that makes the perfect circular background for a 7” snowflake!  Can you see “the plan” coming together?

Rough-cut a square, say at least 8” square, from your snowflake fabric. To save time, cut three squares so you can cut three snowflakes all at once and you would be prepping for three hotpads all at once as well! Before cutting the snowflake shapes however, make sure you apply a paper-backed fusible onto the wrong side of each of the square. (Remember to NOT remove the paper from the fusible until much later.)  Now you're ready to start cutting!


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Center a square on each snowflake shape on the die and run it through the super-awesome GO! BIG Electric Fabric Cutter. (If you have the GO! Fabric Cutter or the Studio 2 Fabric Cutter, they will work with the snowflake die, too.) Notice that while you get a nice snowflake shape from each square, you will also likely get an intact square with a snowflake shaped hole in the center. I think of this as a “negative space” applique piece. Don't toss this away! Use it to practice your machine applique stitching. It may even become another hotpad!


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For these projects, I used the same background fabric so I was able to fan-fold the fabric strip and cut three 8” circles at the same time by using the GO! Big Circle-4", 6", 7", 8" (55462) die with the GO! BIG Electric Fabric Cutter. I have used circles in several of my projects and I just absolutely my AccuQuilt circle dies!  So perfect every time! (See my Green Means GO! Quilt Pattern (PQ141359-7) where I used a lot of small circles, cut with the GO! Circle-2", 3", 5" (55012) die.)

Machine Applique

Now, take the paper off the fusible side of a snowflake shape and center the snowflake on a background circle. Fuse in place. Take your “negative space” applique piece and fuse that on a scrap background as well.


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It is better to use 100% cotton or even silk thread in your applique as well as in the general construction of these hotpads. For applique, I typically use a thread that matches or is just a shade darker than the applique shape. Practice your applique on the “negative space” applique piece to determine which stitch to use as well as your preferred stitch width and length. The zigzag stitch is one of the more versatile stitches you can use while the blanket stitch that I used here, usually requires a little bit more patience and practice.


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One more tip – use a stabilizer when you machine applique the snowflakes. It helps to keep the project nice and flat!

If this is your first time to do machine applique, consider taking a class at your local quilt shop, read a book (Alex Anderson's Hand & Machine Applique (10673) is a really good one) or find a good online video or class by a reputable quilt teacher.

So, now, stitch those snowflakes down! Just remember to take your time and take a break every half hour to stretch a little. When you are done with the applique, trim as much of the stabilizer off.


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If you would like to skip the Machine Applique portion of the program altogether, simply use a heavier fusible and go on to the next step!

Finishing and Quilting

Place a rectangle along the edge of the circle and stitch in place with a 1/4” seam to form the top of the ornament shape.


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Because these are hotpads-to-be, use an insulated batting or you can use cotton batting with a layer of the silver fabric that is commonly used to make ironing board covers.


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Baste the top, batting and backing together and machine quilt around the snowflake shape. The hotpad may not hold the heat as well if the insulation is repeatedly perforated with machine quilting stitches so do go easy on the quilting! Plus, less quilting means you are finished quicker and you can make more hotpads!


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Baste along the edge of the hotpad and trim away the excess batting and backing. Don't forget to sew the loop to the top edge.


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Bias Binding

Projects with curves such as these hotpads are typically bound with strips cut on the bias. This is because bias strips can stretch and mold around the curved edges, allowing the project to lay flat. Straight binding can be much less forgiving – even on quilts with straight edges.

Prepare a 9”-12” wide strip of binding fabric by pressing it with spray starch.

Since the hotpads are small, a narrower binding strip will fit better so I used the GO! Strip Cutter-2" (1 1/2" Finished) (55025) die with the Angled Guide Lines. Place the fabric on the die, aligning the cut edge with the 45º Angled Guide Line. The corners that are “falling off” the die can be trimmed off or folded in to align with the strips. Place a sheet or two of paper to cover the fabric before placing the cutting mat and running it through the GO! BIG Electric Fabric Cutter. The spray starch and the paper really help ensure that the strips do not get stretched in the cutting process.


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Stitch 2-3 strips together to get the approximately 25-30” of binding needed for each hotpad.

Be sure to use a scant ¼” to sew the binding onto the hotpad, starting at the bottom of the ornament shape.

The inside corner of the hotpad where the circle shape changes into the rectangle is reminiscent of the edge of a Double Wedding Ring quilt and can be tricky to sew. There is no mitering at this inside corner. Instead, a simple pivot at the ¼” point is all that is needed. However, the binding fabric will want to bunch up on itself! One trick is to push the rectangle section up and away from the circular section to make the edge look just a little bit straighter. This, in turn, makes the binding a little straighter also and consequently, easier to sew.


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You're nearly done – just handstitch the binding down and the loop up!

Now, wasn't that a breeze?


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Just one more tip – Three hotpads hung vertically would make a pretty cool wintry wall hanging.

Come on over to my blog and see what else I've got cooking for the holidays!


Topics: Gem Hill Quilts, GO! Big Electric Fabric Cutter, GO! Snowflakes, Holidays, hotpads, Tutorials


Written by AccuQuilt

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