Welcome back! I guess I have not scared you off of appliqué since you have returned. This is the final installment of this series. The first part covered tools, templates and preparing the appliqué for stitching. If you missed it, click here. In part 2, I covered preparing the background, laying out the appliqué motif and stitching. You can find that post here.
Now on to part 3, the 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 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 like to use bias cut strips so if I want to curve a stem on a project, it’s more pliable. However if your project only has straight stems for the floral appliqués, you can cut and use only straight strips if you prefer.
Anyway, here’s how you 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.
My photo on the left is a bit cut off but the fabric I used was a fat 1/8 (9 x 20″) and I have the 20″ side running horizontally, facing me. That is the edge where I placed the ruler (photo on right).
Now using your rotary cutter, make the first cut and then cut strips, on a 45 degree angle, the width required for the design.
Cut the 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 strips that are 3/4″ wide. If you want stems 1/2″ wide you will need to cut strips 1″ wide.
Step 2: To make stems from these strips, the long sides of the strips need to be folded in 1/4″ on each side. I like to use a tool called a bias tape maker. Here’s what my old one 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 strip through and iron the folds of the strips closed to crease them, making the strip the stem width you want. There are different sizes of bias tools to make different widths of stems.
Here is what the stem will look like when you are done:
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 on making stems from fabric strips:
Hopefully, actually watching the process of making the stems helps you to understand my written instructions above.
Stitching Points and Inside Corners
Most people 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 it’s often asked, 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.
Of course, this is just the way I handle the points and inside corners. Feel free to search out other quilter’s ideas on handling these. The more information you gather will serve to strengthen your skills in this area!
So that’s it for my appliqué series. I hope by reading these posts the last three weeks and watching my mini tutorial videos you have a better understanding of needle-turn hand appliqué. Perhaps this series will lead you to you try this fun technique if you have avoided it in the past. Leave a comment or ask questions below and you will be entered into the drawing for my appliqué prize kit:
The drawing will be on Monday, January 9th. Good luck!**We have a winner. Congrats, Debbie Toth!**
Happy Stitching & Quilting,