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Shipping Label Appliqué Method

This is an easy way to pre-form accurate appliqué shapes. It requires only a shipping label and a starch basted glue pen; very portable. Once the individual appliqué shapes are formed, they can be glue basted together, moved around and auditioned on background fabric. The glue baste remains stable so the appliqué can be easily handled. I find this a great design tool; you can hedge your placement bets until the last minute!

Materials Needed: 

  • Avery Shipping Label 

  • Apliquick Tools or Stylus

  • Starch based water soluble glue pen

Sylvia Pippen Applique Shipping Label

Step One. Tracing the design onto a shipping label

The shipping label does double duty: the shapes cut from the label are the turning guide for your appliqué shape and the negative space left in the shipping label becomes individual windows used to audition your fabric. As you trace, expand the design, leaving room between the individual shapes.

Applique Shipping Label Traced

Do not add any seam allowances when tracing.Trace your appliqué shapes using a light box, window or printer. If you use a printer, trace an expanded version of your appliqué onto paper first and use that tracing to copy onto a shipping label.

On the right side of the shipping label, mark the corresponding letter or number onto the appliqué shape. Next to the negative space left in the shipping label, also mark the same letter or number. This really helps keep your pieces oriented.
illo of shipping label marked with letter or numbers)

Step 2. Cutting out appliqué shapes from a shipping label 

With sharp pointed paper scissors, cut out the appliqué shapes, being careful to leave the windows in the shipping label intact as possible. Use scotch tape to stabilize the cuts.

Applique Shipping Label Audition

Step 3. Auditioning your fabric and cutting out appliqué shapes

I usually start with the most important appliqué shape first, such as the center of a flower. Place the window on the right side of the fabric to isolate and audition potential placement. This is especially important when working with small appliqué shapes.

When you find the best spot, remove the paper on the back of the appliqué shape shipping label, and place it sticky side down inside the window on the right side of the fabric.

Applique Shipping Label Trace

Cut around the label template leaving a 1/8" to 3/16" turn-over allowance on your fabric.

Applique Shipping Label Turned

Step 4. Forming the appliqué shape

  • The label placed on the RIGHT side of the fabric works as a turning guide. It will be removed later.

  • Turn the appliqué shape over to the wrong side.

  • Clip any tight curves or V's up to within a few threads of the edge of the shipping label.

  • Using a starch basted glue pen, apply a small amount of glue around the edge of the fabric.

  • NOTE: The best way to remember where the glue goes: wrong side of fabric to wrong side of fabric

Shipping Label Applique Glue

Step 5. Turning press-over allowance

Press it over to the edge of the paper using a small flat edge screwdriver, stylus, or your fingers. A stylus works well to grab and gather the fabric when pressing over sharp concave or convex curves.

Shipping Applique Label Turning

Sylvia Pippen Applique Shipping Label

Step 6. Assembling appliqué shapes

  • When you have turned all the edges of your templates, you can assemble the pieces.

  • Place the original paper pattern in a plastic sheet protector.

  • Remove the labels from the turned pieces and place them on top of the plastic protector to align the design.

Sylvia Pippen Applique Shipping Label Finish

Step 7. Glue & Appliqué

  • Glue baste the design to your background fabric.

  • Appliqué the design down to background fabric. If your points are too stiff to turn properly, simply moisten the point; that will soften and remove the glue enough to manipulate the point.

  • You can also leave points free and not glue baste them down.

  • The glue baste is easily removed by either washing the entire quilt or by wiping exposed glue with a wet cloth.