Sunday, December 9, 2012

How to hand applique skinny stems

Below is a detail of the skinny stems on the Be Merry Journal Cover from my book "Be Merry: Quilts and Projects for Your Holiday Home". These stems are 1/8" wide, and I'm going to show you how I make and applique these stems.  I use a method in which I prepare the stem with a 1/4" bias tape maker. After making the bias stem, I trim one pressed-under edge of the stem. The remaining pressed edge gives me a nice sharp edge to stitch in place first. The other side, which is now a raw edge, I needle-turn applique.

To begin, you will need the following items: 

Your marked applique background
1 - 1/2" bias strip
a 1/4" bias tape maker
needle, thread, thimble, scissors, pins, iron (not pictured)

Following the manufacturer's directions, pull the 1/2" bias strip through the bias tape maker, and use a hot iron to press the seam allowances as you go.

Pictured below is another method for making the bias stem if you do not have a bias tape maker available. Use a long straight pin and pin it into your ironing board cover in such a way that it leaves a 1/4" opening for the fabric strip to be pulled through.

Do-it-yourself bias tape maker
 Next, cut off one side of the pressed under seam allowance.

Baste the stem onto your applique background (I generally use applique pins for expediency). First, applique the pressed-under side of the stem.

The opposite raw edge is next. Needle turn applique this side. You will find how easy it is to turn.

Needle turn applique the raw edge under to complete the stem
Be Merry Journal Cover
And here is the finished "Be Merry Journal Cover" with skinny stems.  If you try my method for making skinny stems, please let me know what you think!

Well, we got our Christmas tree up yesterday, so today is the day to put on the tree lights - not my favorite part. But putting on a little Christmas music can make even putting on the lights a little bit fun. Cookies baking in the oven wouldn't hurt either!

Until next time,