Welcome back for the final installment of my needle-turn hand appliqué series. Glad I didn’t frighten you off! LOL! If you are just joining me, you can read the other installments here: Part 1 and Part 2. In those parts I covered my favorite tools, tips on using templates, preparing the appliqués for stitching, preparing the background and motif layout, and stitching.
Now in this final installment, I will cover how to make stems for your projects from bias strips and how to stitch difficult areas like points and inside corners. Let’s go!
Making Stems from Bias Strips
A lot of appliqué projects include floral appliqué motifs. Because of this, it’s a good idea to know how to make stems from strips of fabric. Here’s a few of my projects that include stems made from strips.
Both of the quilt projects above include straight and curved stems. I use bias cut strips so if I want to curve a stem on a project, the bias strip makes the stems more pliable. However if your project only has straight stems for the floral appliqués, you can cut and use just straight strips if you prefer.
Here’s the steps to cut bias strips and make stems:
Step 1: To cut bias strips first lay out your piece of fabric on the cutting mat, usually with the width of the fabric running horizontally, and align the 45 degree line of your ruler with the bottom edge of the fabric.
The fabric I used for this example is a fat 1/8 (9 x 20″) and I have the 20″ side running horizontally, facing me. Then I place the 45 degree line of the ruler on that horizontal edge (photo on right).
Now using your rotary cutter, make the first cut and then cut strips, on a 45 degree angle, the width required by the project.
Cut the bias strips 1/2″ wider than the stem width you want. For example, if you want stems that are 1/4″ wide, you will need to cut bias strips that are 3/4″ wide. If you want stems 1/2″ wide you will need to cut bias strips 1″ wide.
Step 2: To make stems from the bias strips, fold in the long sides of the strip 1/4″ in on each side. I like to use a tool called a bias tape maker. Here’s what mine looks like:
To use the tape maker you slide the fabric strip, wrong side up, into the wider end of the tool until the end of the strip starts to come out the narrow end. You will notice that the sides of the strip are folding in. Start pulling the bias strip through and press to keep the folded sides closed, making the strip the stem width you want. There are different sizes of bias tools to make different widths of stems.
Here is the completed stem:
To secure the sides of the stem in place, especially if you are making a lot of stems, you can use a few dots of Roxanne’s Glue Baste-it on the wrong side of the strip inside the folds.
As I discussed in last week’s post, stems are usually positioned and stitched down first when you have a floral appliqué project. Because of this, it’s a good idea to make all the stems you need for a project first before laying out the design.
Here’s my mini video tutorial on making stems for a project:
I made this video for those among us who are more visual learners and need to see a technique demonstrated. Hope it helps!
Stitching Points and Inside Corners
Many quilters just learning to appliqué (and even some experienced stitchers) have trouble with stitching points and inside corners. I found that this is the question most asked when I am teaching an appliqué class. Because of this, I decided to make a short mini tutorial video on stitching that includes points and inside corners. It’s easier to demonstrate than to explain in words, so hopefully this helps you understand this part of appliqué stitching.
I hope the video helps give you an idea how I handle these areas on an appliqué motif. Feel free to search out other’s tips on this.
So that’s a wrap on this series on needle-turn hand appliqué. I hope you learned some new tips and are inspired to do some stitching! Leave a comment or ask questions below and you will be entered into the drawing for my pattern, Winterberry Glow and some appliqué supplies.
The drawing will be on Monday, July 17th. Good luck!**We have a winner! Congrats, Mary Borocz!**