I mentioned this tool for making bias stems after my quilt class at the Sisters Quilt Week, and promised I'd show how easy it is to use. My photos are not that great, but bear with me and hopefully it will make sense. First of all you have to get yourself a Clover Bias Tape Maker. I will be using the 1/4 inch size on the left, but I also bought the 1/2 inch size still in the package. Notice the very narrow opening on the tapered end. When I tried this several years ago, the tape maker I got had a huge opening on the tapered end. I'm still not sure what it was designed for, but it was a pain in the neck to use.
Now, for the 1/4 inch size tape maker, cut yourself a pile of stems 1/2 inch wide. These are cut on the cross grain (selvage to selvage), though mine are not all the way across 45" of fabric. Also get a long straight pin, ironing board and your iron.
When you turn over the tool you'll notice this nifty slot. Put the fabric right side up into the opening at the large end and use your pin to slide the fabric forward so it starts coming out of the tapered end.
Now, turn over the tool so the green side is up. Place the pin into the folded little end that comes out and pin it securely to your ironing board.
With a hot iron (I use steam) pull the tool out a little bit, just so the tip of the iron can fit in the space between the pin and the end of the tool. Very gently pull the tool (using the little handle if you need to) away from the pin and at the same time moving the iron right along at the tapered end. This is a quick, but smooth movement. You don't want the tool to move too far from the iron or the fold will come undone.
This is a finished one.
It took less than 10 minutes to make all of these.
Now what do you think I was doing with all these? I took a cue from Tonya at Lazy Gal Quilting. Her Blooming Horrors quilt struck a chord and I couldn't wait to try one of my own. I have a whole set of bright Halloween fabrics that I'd been waiting for the perfect project for. Now, here notice the different shapes of the stems. I first made the straight and lightly curving parts and then wondered how curvy my non-bias cut stems could go. As it turns out those deep curves on the bottom were no problem. Tonya wasn't happy about cutting 45 degree bias stems and I suggested just cutting them on a smaller angle. Well, as it turns out you can just try the cross cutting method and see how it goes. I'd start there again before cutting any deep angles.
And here we are mid stream. I spent my weekend on this and had a marvelous time. I have some of the flowers stitched down and am open to making changes. I'm sure it will evolve more as we go. One thing I do plan to do is to make a jack o lantern face on the pumpkin. Enjoy!