I’d like to share how I approach 1/4″ bias stems – or just stems in general. I’ve used bias tape makers in the past, and they do create a beautifully stem, but the process I come back to again and again is just using my fingers. All that you need are fabric cut on the bias 3/4″ wide – or three times the finished size of the stem – a water spritzer, and your iron and pressing surface.
1. Spritz the fabric strip with water and lay down wrong side up on your pressing surface. Make sure your iron is dry and that the steam is off so you don’t burn your fingers. You don’t need spray starch or sizing for this method. Just water works fine.
2. Fold up the bottom edge about half-way, so that it meets in the middle, and iron.
And when you’re done – Wah-la!!
Perfect 1/4″ bias stems. So quick and easy. If there are noticeable bumps and bobbles, I just cut those little areas out and use the rest of the stem. But I got just as many bumps and bobbles using the bias tape maker. This method is quick, easy, and allows you to make LOTS of bias tape in only a little bit of time.
I also wanted to share a little bit of how I prepared this block for needle-turn applique. The first thing I needed was an overlay, which I made from frosted vinyl bought at a fabric chain store. I got the thicker width and it’s been lovely to work with.
The problem was that by the time I got it home, it had stiffened and wrinkled so that it wasn’t useable. No worries, though, I cut a 15″ block from the creased yardage
Now it’s time to make the templates. I use full sheet mailing labels to print the templates on and cut them off. Then stick them to the appropriate fabric and trace with chalk or pencil, and cut out with a scant 1/4″ seam allowance.
Once all the pieces are traced and cut and the stems are made, it’s time to position it on the background block using the overlay. To be honest, I lay the stems down without the overlay; just laying the block down over the paper pattern. But if my background were black or brown, and I couldn’t see through to the paper pattern, I’d use the overlay for that part, too.
I only lay down a few pieces at a time, so that I’m not overwhelmed. Needle-turned applique is still new to me, so I’m going to take it in bite-sized chunks. But the overlay is wonderful in helping to position everything accurately.
I keep the rest of the pieces, which have been pre-cut in a folder lined with batting made by Piece o’Cake designs. I’ve laid the pieces in the order that they’ll be stitched so that they’re easy to find and place.