So now that you have the leaves, flowers and other templates traced and ready to go, it’s time to make stems. I like to cover making stems because so many applique projects include floral motifs that have stems in the design.
The type of strip you cut depends on whether your stems need to curve or if they are straight. The photo on the left is of a project with curved stems and the one on the right has straight stems.
For straight stems, cut straight strips. For stems you need to shape into curves, you’ll want to cut strips on the bias. If your project has both straight and curved stems, you can use all bias strips if you like. Here’s how to cut bias strips:
First, lay out your chosen stem fabric on your cutting mat as shown and align the 45° line of your long (24″) ruler with the bottom of the fabric (the arrow in the photo is pointing to the 45° line):
Now, using the rotary cutter, make your first cut. Then measure and cut out the amount of strips you need. If you need stems longer than the strips produced, you may have to stitch a few strips together before preparing them into stems.
Cut your strips 1/2″ wider than your desired stem width. For example, if you want 1/4″ stems, cut your strips 3/4″ wide.
To prepare the strips into stems, you have to fold in the strip on both long sides. You can do this by hand, but I prefer to use a bias making tool:
To use the tool, you slide one end of the strip into the wider end and pull it out the other end. As you are pulling it out, iron the strip to get the sides to stay folded over.
Here’s your stem!
If I am making several stems for a project, I like to use a few dots of Roxanne’s Glue Baste-it to keep the sides folded over.
Unless the stems are on top of any part of the applique motif, it’s best to position them on the background and get them stitched in place first before adding any more of the design onto the background.
Below is my video tutorial on making stems.
There’s still time to enter the drawing! I will be drawing a winner for my pattern, High Prairie Blooms, on Friday October 4th. Comment below to be entered.
Never fear though…. the applique tips posts are not ending yet! Come back next week for laying out the design and stitching. ***We have a winner! Congrats, Ariel K.!***