Inset Circles (Set-in Circles) Tutorial~
Inset circles don't have to be scary! If you try my no-pin glue-basting method you are going to find them easier than you ever thought they could be. I use Roxanne's glue-baste because of the precision point, but you can totally get away with using an Elmer's School glue stick or Sewline glue stick. Let's go!
First you are going to use the templates to cut out your circle and the circle outside of your background fabric. Always cut your background fabric square slightly larger than you need it to be so you can trim it down after you've sewn your circle. You can download practice templates for this exercise here. Fold your squares into quarters and press with your iron to form nice creases.
If you are new to templates I suggest using a fabric safe marking tool to trace the template and then cut it out with a rotary cutter or scissors. This keeps the template from shifting as you cut. Make sure the straight edges are along your folds!
Next you are going to add some more crease lines to help you line up your circles. The background is folded into quarters. Unfold it into a half, then fold each side in and crease at the new folds. You will now have 8 fold creases.
Layout your background square and your circle as they'll appear after they are sewn together. Right side up in front of you. Make sure the creased folds of the circle line up with the creased folds of the background square.
Next, you are going to flip the background fabric top and bottom so that it is right sides together with your circle. Apply a small dot of clue on the crease at the top and bottom of the circle, shown below circled in dark blue.
Match-up the crease on the background circle to the glue dots on the circle. Use a mini iron to set the glue if necessary. You want to make sure the glue is dry so your fabrics don't shift.
Next, flip the sides of the background square right sides together, exposing the side creased folds on the circle. You are going to glue-baste these the same way you did the top and bottom.
Now that the crosshair creases are glue-basted, use the same method to glue-baste the other 4 diagonal crease marks!
I like to glue-baste the ENTIRE seam of the circle to help me control it under my sewing machine. Below you can see how I have put a thin line of glue along the edge of the circle.
Next, use your fingers to gently nudge the edge of your background fabric so that it aligns with the edge of the circle. Use a mini iron to set the glue. Do this all the way around the circle, section by section!
If you'd like to see a video of the above process you can find one on my instagram here.
Next up is sewing! You are going to use your 1/4 inch foot and sew 1/4 inch away from the edge all the way around. Keep the bulk of the fabric on top as you sew. You want to guide the unit with your right hand, and use your left hand to smooth the folds/bulk as you sew so that you don't get any puckers or folded parts along your seam. You can gently pull or smooth the fabric as it goes under the foot.
Once you are done, lay the block in front of you right side up and use your fingernail to crease around the circle. Then press the circle. You can use some spray mist or starch to flatten out the fabric. Don't worry if the square is wonky, that is why we cut it larger than it needed to be!
After you've pressed the circle flat, once again fold it into quarters to create crosshair crease marks to help you square-up/trim down your block to size. That is all there is to it!
I hope you find success making inset circles! Stay Quilty.