Tuesday, September 22, 2015

10 Minute Tip

When I make bias strips for applique stems, I like to roll them around a toilet paper roll and clip them snugly in place. It helps to set the pressed seams and it keeps it organized until it's time to sew onto the background. A paper towel tube would work better if you are making long bias strips. I roll them overlapping slightly, and then work my way back up the roll, layering several times if needed. A binding clip secures the beginning end and I simply use a straight pin to secure the loose end.

Also, when I'm placing my bias strips for applique on a border, I fold the bord in half and press a center fold. Then I fold the end back to the center and press again on each side. This marks my border into four even sections. 

See the pressed lines? They can serve as marks for centering the 'wave' or angles of the bias strip. By measuring from the edges on those lines, I can keep the wave of the stems even.

I lined up the top of the bias strip on the 1 1/2" mark on the center fold. I then lined up the bottom of bias strip on the 1 1/2'' mark on the other two fold lines. This allowed me to pin on the folds, then go back and add additional pins along the curves.

The photo shows the placement pins, before I added the additional pins. This lets me secure everything in place and make adjustments if needed before it is completely pinned in place. By doing this on my ironing board, my surface accepts the pins nicely.

This photo shows the pins secured. I will replace these with small applique pins before I start hand stitching. If you plan to machine stitch, these would be fine.

Is this how you deal with bias stems? I would love to hear any tips or tricks you might have that would make this process better. I find this works well for me, but then again, something different may work better for you.

Enjoy every stitch!


  1. I love the toilet paper roll idea! The simplest ideas are the best.

  2. I didn't know the toilet paper roll but I guess it's a very good idea ! Sometimes, I draw on my fabric to put the bias in a good position !

  3. Great tips! I am not often doing applique, but I will keep this idea in mind. Thank you.

  4. Great tips Diane. I have used the toilet roll one before but not the border pressing - that is going to be very useful!

  5. Super good tip! But is that a certain border in a certain quiltalong?? I'm jealous and can't wait for a bigger reveal 😍.

  6. Thanks for the border design tip - I have a UFO that's been stalled just because I was insecure about placing a curving stem on the border. Will definitely be giving this a try!


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