This is part of the Hexy MF quilt along – you can jump in at any time and all previous posts can be found here.
(I’m sorry for the delay in this post being published – it’s been the last week of the summer holidays here in the UK and all kinds of changes are afoot for this year, so manic is a mild understatement!)
I am splitting the stem applique posts into 2 different ones, rather like when we did the hexagon basting, there are a few ways you can choose to do this step and you might want to consider both before you start.
This week we are using shop bought pre-made bias tape for the stems. This has the benefit of being pre-made, but you are limited to what colours you can buy. I really do not have anything against using a shop bought bias tape, but equally think making the tape yourself is wonderful. You can decide after you have read both posts.
First up, measure 2 opposite sides of your hexagon centre (either opposites are fine, this is your quilt, you decide whether you want the vines to be on the straightest sides, or the staggered sides. I did staggered for the first quilt, and straight for this one- just to be different), and triple that number. You will need to buy bias tape in that length. I am using a very narrow 1/4″ width which is mainly for applique work. You can buy tape with fusible web already attached to the back, and whilst this is useful and eliminates the need to pin, it does feel stiffer when finished.
Take a length of tape a little wider than your patchwork top, to allow for a wavy vine effect. Lay it out along the quilt top. You can provisionally pin at this point, or use an applique glue if you prefer. I like to do this stage on the floor, and then move to a table top when I’m pinning properly.
You will also need some shorter lengths for individual stems. How many you do is up to you, you can judge how many you need by laying your hexagon flowers and the occasional bud along the length and see how it looks. Bear in mind you will be adding leaves later as well so you might not want to make it too busy.
Pin your short individual stems first, and then the long vine over the top. As I mentioned before, I like to do this at a table or counter top. Any kinds of pin are fine, you can buy specific shorter applique pins which help if you are doing a lot of applique, as the thread doesn’t get tangled in them as easily and you don’t prick yourself as much.
Using a matching thread and a short, sharp needle (such as an applique needle) you can stitch on your stems just like you did with the hexagon top to the background. Take small stitches and sew all the way along both sides of the stems, both the individual stems and the long vine (don’t use a big old clunky needle like I am in the photo – I couldn’t find my applique needles although I had literally had them 5 minutes earlier!!!!).
And that is all there is to it.
Next week I will show you how to make your own tape with a slight twist, it’s not traditional bias tape.