I was contemplating applique and perfect placement of same when I thought about using freezer paper. So I decided when I traced the pattern out of the Dear Jane book onto freezer paper - to use the template as well as the applique pieces.
So trace the block onto freezer paper. Cut out the pieces to be appliques (the circles in this example) and iron the freezer paper to the background fabric. Also iron the freezer paper circles to the applique fabric and trim.
You can then place a circle onto the background fabric and pin in place. Needleturn applique - turning the fabric until it meets the edge of the freezer paper on the background fabric.
Then take the freezer paper off the appliqued piece.
Continue until you have appliqued all pieces.
Then take off the freezer paper.
You will then end up with perfectly placed applique pieces - and in shape also!
Here is another example.
I had to re-iron the centre piece of freezer paper after I had appliqued two of the shapes - because it comes away a bit - but it will re-stick down and you can continue on with the remainder of the pieces.
Then take the centre piece of freezer paper off.
And take the background piece off - to reveal your perfectly placed applique pieces.
Too easy - well - some of the cut outs are a bit tricky to iron onto the background fabric - but persevere and the results speak for themselves.
Cheers and happy applique!