Playing with a new toy ... and a little tutorial for you

Saturday, February 5, 2011
Well, it's sort of a new toy - a quarter inch bias tape maker.  I've had a wide bias tape maker for years and have found it very useful, so when I saw a quarter inch one available, I knew it would be great for making the narrow strips that I could use for applique.

So this week I had a play with it.

Here's the result - appliqued knot on a quilt I am making from some gorgeous oriental fabrics.

I thought I would give you some tips and insight on how I did this applique.  For me, the big secret to successful use of a bias tape maker is to spray the fabric strip with spray starch before pulling it through the gadget.  This ensure that when you press the made tape to set the folds, it actually stays pressed flat and doesn't spring open, as it loves to do - smiling from the ironing board saying "I liked it better before"!

Here's the sprayed fabric coming through the bias maker. Press the tape close to where it comes out before it dries and springs open again. A pin in the end stops it moving as you gently pull the gadget down the fabric.

The tape is all made.

To make these knots, I ironed some fusible webbing onto the back of the strips. 

I didn't have any 1/4 inch webbing strips which you can buy these days, so had to make do with my big sheet.  With my quilting ruler I used the rotary cutter to cut 1/4 inch strips.  I know, it blunts the blade, but it was already on the way out anyway.  It's so long since I cut webbing strips, that I had forgotten that I had kept an old blade specially for cutting paper! So I cut my first strip on my cutting mat and carefully peeled it off to find that most of the glue bit was beautifully stuck to the mat and all I had in my hand was the paper!  It took a few goes to realise that if I turned the webbing glue side up to cut it, I had a lot less chance of it sticking to the mat!!!  Duh!

I then placed the pattern on the ironing board under my applique mat.  (You could use baking paper if you don't have one of these wonderful little teflon mats.) 

Give the tape a little stretch.  On top of the mat start in the centre of the pattern, leaving 1/2 inch or so excess tape. (This is a "Justin-case", to be cut off later) and slowly shape the tape, following the template which you can see underneath.  Press each section as you go. A little spray of water helps bend the tape around the curves and a pin through everything helps to stop movement of pattern, mat and tape! 

Cut the excess fabric off and pop the end under the cross-over bit where you started. First one I did I tucked the end under the wrong bit and found I had two "overs" together instead of the over/under idea, but that was easily fixed. 

Then it was just a matter of lifting the prepared applique off the mat, all beautifully in shape.  A quick fuse in place, a length of black thread in the needle, some small stitches, pleasant music in the background, and it was all done.

As always with all my quilts, it's very uncomplicated piecing and very simple quilting but I think it looks quite effective.  It is going to have some of my favourite Prairie Points around the border, and I'm hopeful of finishing it this week.

Thank you to everyone who expressed concern for us in the recent devastating cyclone.  Thankfully we are 1500 kms south of the area hit so were totally unaffected. Our lovely State of Queensland is doing it tough at the moment with disaster upon disaster. I can't imagine what it must be like to see everything you own totally destroyed.

Next week I plan to have the next instalment of the Consider the Lilies free BOM pattern available for download. 

I hope you've enjoyed making the first part ... or maybe this is a reminder that there's just one week to get it done if you want to keep up. ... Now I wish I had had my 1/4 inch bias tape maker when I did those lily stems ....

Happy stitching!