Applique Tutorial: Curves

August 11, 2011

One of the most asked questions on my blog is about how I applique curves. So when I was making the baby blocks I snapped a few pictures of how I do the curves. I hope this helps those who were wondering!

My first tutorial on applique. This font can be found here.

First, there are 2 kinds of curves, inside and outside.



And for a tip: when I do all applique, I put my hands right on top of the project and use my fingers to maintain full control over it while I stitch. And go slowly while you sew!!

To do OUTSIDE curves I leave the needle down in the applique and lift my presser foot and make tiny adjustments. I make them every stitch or two, depending on how big of a curve I’m sewing. Go slow!

Leave the needle down in the applique,

make tiny adjustment

then sew one stitch and do it again.

Leave the needle down in the applique,

and make the tiny adjustment.

It’s the exact same principle for INSIDE curves, except this time you leave the needle down in the fabric and make the adjustments.

Leave the needle down,

and make the little adjustment to straighten your stitch.

Sew one zigzag stitch, leave the needle down in the fabric,

and lift the presser foot and make the little adjustment.

If you look closely you can see what I’m talking about. See how the stitches are farther apart on this side:

and closer together on this side:

from the little adjustments you made?

It comes out neat and clean and even.

I hope that helps! Please ask questions if it still doesn’t make sense!

85 Responses to “Applique Tutorial: Curves”

  1. Melissa said:

    I’ve never used stabilizer and haven’t had any problems!

  2. Van said:

    What a great tutorial! Thank you. I’m definitely pinning this for future reference.

  3. Mayven’s Pink Rainbow & More | Pretty Lady Baby said:

    […] the current quilt I am working on!  Let me first say thank you to Stitching Grandma for suggesting this tutorial to help me with my appliqué.  Let me just say it worked!  Here are the […]

  4. Rajyalaxmi said:


    I loved your detailed tutorial on how to applique curved edges. I have one doubt though.

    I am planning to make a bunting with “happy birthday” sign on them. Can I applique over the raw edges or do I have to make a small fold over the edges of the letters?

    Thank you.

  5. Nerissa said:

    Can you explain the difference between IN THE APPLIQUE and IN THE FABRIC, it sort of means the same thing to me (the novice). Thanks!

  6. Melissa said:

    No, leave the raw edges. You’ll sew over them and they won’t fray.

  7. Melissa said:

    It means just that–either you’re leaving your needle in the down position in the applique you’re sewing on, or in the fabric of your project.

  8. Applique basics | Sewn Studio said:

    […] out this tutorial for sewing around the curves of your […]

  9. Handmade Christmas 2012 - April Project: Superhero Capes - Sew Like My Mom | Sew Like My Mom said:

    […] For more information on applique see my applique tutorial and tutorial on appliqueing curves. […]

  10. How To: Sew Your Own Greek Letter Shirt- A Step By Step Tutorial (Part II&III) | Pretty Little Letters said:

    […] […]

  11. Applique Tutorial - Sew Like My Mom | Sew Like My Mom said:

    […] More information on how to applique curves. […]

  12. Pinned it/Tried it/Loved it | Applique with Sewing Machine | All Glorious said:

    […] for my Sewing Tips board on sewing an applique with a standard sewing machine (found here and here). The first is a basic how-to on stitching an applique onto a shirt and the second is a how-to on […]

  13. Kiihele West said:

    Occasionally I do applique on bags or blanket tops, etc. but just wing it and, of course, it looks like that. I was so pleased to accidentally find someone that repinned this tutorial. It was so clear and so concise and makes such sense. Mahalo.

  14. Kristine said:

    Where do you find the alphabet letters that you show? I love them and can’t seem to find them. If you could share, I would appreciate the help! Thanks again!

  15. Melissa said: Check out for more info!

  16. Zarin said:

    I dont have zigzag sewing machine how can i appliqe

  17. Dansie said:

    will this technique also work with an applique stitch? I’m using that instead of the zigzag stitch.

  18. Christine Trebendis said:


  19. Quiet Name Book » said:

    […]   […]

  20. Chase said:

    Any advice for getting around corners?

  21. Scrap Fabric pt. 3 | todiyitry said:

    […] […]

  22. Duncan said:

    What are your stitch settings?

  23. Melissa said:

    I have a vintage machine so they probably won’t be the same as yours. In the first tutorial I say they’re about 16 stitches per inch, but you should play around with what looks best to you.

  24. Dani said:

    Ah ha!!!! 😀

  25. SJ said:

    Ive been sewing for years and I just started dabbling in appliques. Your blog is absolutely amazing. THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!! This is SUCH a HUGE HELP!!!!! My curves on my first one look super messy, but hey, we all have to start start somehwere, and i am confident that this tutorial will help my technique immensely. Thank you thank you thank you!

  26. Maria said:

    Is that a regular sewing machine with a zigzag stitch?

  27. Melissa said:


  28. DIY Turkey Applique Shirts | Full Tutorial! said:

    […] a hard enough time sewing–I couldn’t bear to pause to take photos.  That said, I found this fabulous tutorial on how to sew on appliqué {since I had never done it before} and recommend that you check it out if you need sewing tips for […]

  29. Debe said:

    Do you lift the presser foot every time you make a tiny adjustment? TY

  30. Christine Danneels said:

    What a nice tutorial ! Thank you so much.

  31. Kathleen Crawford said:

    So helpful. Thank you for sharing!

  32. Letters for Applique - Sew Like My Mom | Sew Like My Mom said:

    […] I’ve covered HOW I applique in multiple posts. The most comprehensive of these is the Ultimate Applique post. It covers basics about doing characters and objects with layers of applique. This post contains links to two other posts on a general applique how-to, and how to qpplique curves. […]

  33. Selva Monterrosa said:

    Very helpful…THANKS ..

  34. Dana Dusek said:

    Thank you. Yourvintructions are very helpful!

  35. DIY Turkey Applique Shirts | Full Tutorial! said:

    […] have a hard enough time sewing–I couldn't bear to pause to take photos.  That said, I found this fabulous tutorial on how to sew on appliqué {since I had never done it before} and recommend that you check it out if you need sewing tips for […]

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