Easy Peasy Circle Applique and Drunkard’s Path Quilt Blocks

The circle and the  Drunkards path ( a quarter circle place on one corner of a square) are two patches which send a shudder up any beginner quilter’s back!  I had to encounter both when working on the just takes 2 quilt – a 2012 mystery quilt along! There were plenty of circles -I was quite okay with those! But one of the blocks was the drunkard’s path which I kept putting off till the last – until I went back to the site today! Gay Bomers of Sentimental Stitchers has provided a brilliant tutorial to appliqué it instead of piecing it! She back- basted a circle to a square and cut it into 4 to yield four pieces of the block!
I loved that, but decided to make it even simpler…using the method I use to applique circles. There is nothing new about this – nothing that I have come up with! Learnt it long long ago, do not even remember from whom and when! Am sure many of you use this in any case, but for those new to sewing and piecing, it may be of help! So here goes!

How to appliqué perfect circles

You’ll need

Fabric (Squares) for the background

Smaller squares for the circles

Compass, pencil,  graph paper (optional)

Washable glue  or thread/ needle for tacking

Washable fabric marker pencil/ pen (optional – you could use a lead pencil – I do!)

1. Draw your circle (ready size) on paper. I like to use inch graph paper ( which I download from the web) , using one of the line crossings as a centre. Paste it on stiff card ( greeting cards are great) and cut out (without a seam allowance). This is your template.
2. The circle fabric needs to be a square approximately 1/2 to 3/4″ larger than the ready circle.
3. Using the card template, cut out circles from the circle fabric squares, adding a seam allowance of roughly 1/4″ all around. You need not be very accurate.
4. Increase your sewing machine stitch length to the max. Start with a long thread tail ( 4″ thereabouts)and sew about 1/8″ inside from the edge all around the circle. Again leave a long tail before snipping the thread. Prepare all your circles like this. I like to sew by hand, so I skipped the machine and did a running stitch all around! 🙂
5. Place your circle template on a   prepared fabric circle and pull the thread tails on the right side to gather the fabric on the template, like this!


6. Tie the tails together and iron to set the edges. Gently remove the template. Prepare all the circles like this.
7. Now we get to work on the background squares! Place the template in the centre of the square on the right side. Some amount of accuracy is necessary here – it helps to fold the square and mark sharp creases near the edge.

My template was on graph paper, so I could line it up accurately against the creases and centre the circle accurately.
8. Trace the circle on the background square, just a teenie weenie bit inside the template. Do this for all the squares.
9. Place your fabric circles on the background squares aligning them accurately on the pencil line. You can use washable school glue placing tiny dots of glue less than 1/4″ inside the circle.


Or you could tack them in place by hand! Like the circle on the right below…

10. Sew them in place using your favourite method. Machine them or – like I did- appliqué them by hand!

So you have your perfect appliquéd circles in less than no time!

Drunkard’s Path
This is real fun! All you need is your rotary cutter and ruler! Cut the circle appliquéd blocks into quarters!

Here are my 16 drunkard path patches, made from 4 appliquéd circle blocks!

And here they are, as they will look in my final drunkard path block 🙂 all done in less than two hours!


This was a finished 9″ block, but imagine how quickly a whole drunkards path quilt could come up, using lager circles and squares! You could trim the little background quarter circles from the back and use them in a border – making the drunkard path blocks the regular way.

Happy trip down the Drunkard’s Path! 🙂

Author: Mads

In alphabetical order: daughter, mother, painter, philosopher, poet, quilter, seeker, wife...

2 thoughts on “Easy Peasy Circle Applique and Drunkard’s Path Quilt Blocks”

  1. Nice way to get around your fear but honestly I did a sampler with Craftsy last year and the Drunkard’s path was one I found least challenging. In fact i thought of doing a full quilt with it.

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