Sunday, June 12, 2011


Hello everyone, thanks for visiting my blog.  Make sure you check out everything I have here for you, and be sure to vote in the polls!  I loved all your sweet comments about Talia in my last post.  Just to clarify, she is not married yet, (we still have more stuff to do) we just had a bridal portrait shoot so we can have some pictures to display at the reception.  Two and a half more weeks.  It is very exciting.  I will post a few pics after the reception.

So finally, here is the tutorial I promised you about making bias vines/stems.  This is one of the easiest things to do, and it can add so much to at quilt.  As far as applique goes, stems and vines are one of the best ways to fill up space:
"A Walk in the Park" from the book, Stitched Together

"Carousel" from the book, "Stitched Together"

Let's start with these tools:
These are Clover brand Bias Tape Makers.  They are the best on the market.  In the picture above, from the left, is a 1/4",  3/8",  1/2",  and 3/4".  They come in some larger sizes, too, but this is all I have ever used.  (You will notice that the 3/8" looks a little different because it is the fusible type, which can add a strip of fusible tape to the finished bias--but I never use the tape.) 

Start by cutting a strip of fabric on the bias --diagonally half way between the two grainlines.  The width of the strip depends on the finished size.  Cut the strip double the finished width + 1/8".  
For example, if I want 1/4" finished bias tape, I would cut double that--1/2" plus an extra 1/8" = 5/8".

 In my photos I am making 3/8" bias tape, so I cut my strip 7/8".
First, spray the strip with starch or sizing.  This is important because it helps to hold the crease in.

 With a hot iron, press just the first inch or two of the strip to dry the starch and stiffen the fabric.

 Now you can feed the fabric strip into the Bias Tape Maker.  Turn it over so that the wrong side of the fabric is facing the colored side of the Bias Tape Maker.

On the bottom of the Bias Tape Maker is a slot.  You can see the fabric through the slot.

Use a pin or awl to poke the fabric and slide it along to come out the other end of the Bias Tape Maker.

Now turn the unit back over so that the colored side of the Bias Tape Maker is up.  Pin the fabric strip end to your ironing board to hold it in place.

 Stick the tip of your hot iron in between the pin and the Bias Tape Maker. 

Slowly pull back on the Bias Tape Maker as you slide your iron along behind it. The fabric strip will come out folded, and the iron will press it in place.  That's all there is to it!  It is really that easy.

 Now you can shape your finished bias tape into any curves you need using your iron.  For this part I like to use steam, so that it re-activates the starch you already have in the fabric.  This will help it keep the shape you press it into.  Don't respray with starch here, or the moisture will undo the folds in the bias tape.

 If you are following a pattern or placement diagram, you can place the bias tape right along the lines and press into the shape the pattern provides. 

 Here's another hint:  Sometimes you have a design that has a mirror image, and you want to repeat the same shape reversed.  Once you have one side done, to get the same shape again in reverse, just lay your bias tape on top of the finished design, with the wrong side up.  Follow the shape with your bias tape, pressing with a hot iron as you go.

 On this design, I have "copied" the shape of the vine on the left with the light green bias tape.   My bias tape will stay in this shape and just needs to be placed on it's own background and glued down with Jillily Studio Appli-Glue! 

This design was from a pattern I have called BUD BERRIES.  I wrote this pattern specifically to teach my applique method.  It sure is a cute little pillow,  and a fun way to learn to applique.  For my new readers,  I posted a tutorial about applique shapes a few weeks ago.

Get some applique all prepped up and go sit outside in the sun to stitch.  What a fun summer  


moollin said...

How sweet!!
The Bride is beautiful. and such a good sport. How could she not mistaken for a princess!!

Charity said...

You make it look simple. One of these days I'm just going to have to give it a try.

Miss Hillbilly said...

Well, I have voted, and I am hoping to jump in and learn applique very soon. I have been saying that for a month but I have some charity quilts to get out first. Maybe one more month. (I hope)

Carrie P. said...

I love those bias makers. I used to use the bars and then discovered the makers. Best invention ever. Your patterns are beautiful.

JudyCinNC said...

What a nice tutorial to come across today. Love this Judy C

Anonymous said...

Thanks for a great tutorial! I have wondered how those I need to go and find one or two!
Jacque in SC

Christine said...

Perfect tutorial! I've learned this from you first hand and rereading your method with pictures was a perfect reminder about a few things I "may" have been doing wrong. hehe... freshening up on my skills is always helpful :) thanks!

Patsy @ My Sister's Quilts said...

Love this tutorial, thanks Jill! When we get sorbet in the store we would love for you to come do a trunk show and demo. Enjoy your princess for now!

Pip said...

Your tutorial is great, I made bias a couple of weeks ago with a Clover bias maker, it was quite easy, but after reading your tutorial I can see a couple of things I could have done to make it easier. Thanks.

Kristen said...

Thanks for the tutorial! I'd seen those things a million times, and had thought about buying one, but never did. I read your tutorial and when I was at Jo-Ann Fabrics yesterday and saw all quilting notions on sale for 50% off, I had to bite the bullet and get one. Can't wait to try it!

Jill said...

Had to visit your blog as my name is also Jill. Thanks for the helpful tutorial - I had never thought about using spray starch - how clever! Your designs are quite delightful. Jill x

Sparky said...

What a sweet idea...and I have all of those bias tape thingies lol. Ok, Jill, I am in...when you coming over ...

QuiltSoup said...

Thanks for such an enlightening tutorial. I didn't know you could press the tape to mimic the lines of the curves! You are so smart.

Thanks mostly for the wonderful pics of Talia. I am so excited for all of you!

Rae Ann said...

Okay Jill... You make this look so fun and easy! I am going to get right on trying this out. I love your quilts and have several that I am dying to make. You are right... Good summer project! Thanks for the great tutorial my friend!

queenopearls said...

Sweet tutorial Jill, thank you! Sometimes I really DO need things spelled out for me. :)
Your photos are fabulous, instructions clear and pattern beautiful!
~Christina in Cleveland

Barbara Sindlinger said...

Thanks for the tips. I never knew you could pre-shape the stems.