LE part 4 was released yesterday, a delightful surprise as it was a day early. After looking at the pattern I decided to try a new bias making tool to see if I could easily make those tiny stems. I have used the Clover bias makers for years but they don't make a 1/8 size so I have used other techniques when I need a tiny stem. A few months ago I ran across the Simplicity tool at my local Joann's. It is a tip for the Simplicity bias maker machine but I thought I would try it. My first attempt was not too successful but this time I was more motivated and I figured out how to make it work. These tips will work with bias makers of any size but are especially important for the tiny ones.
Here are the various bias makers and the finished stems. The widest one looks uneven but it isn't - blame my lousy photography skills.
First you need to cut bias strips. Very important that they are on the bias if you want the stems to curve. Usually the strips are cut at twice the finished width but for the tiny strips I found that this was not quite big enough. I ended up cutting them just slightly wider than 1/4 in. Only bigger by about 1/16 inch but it helped.
I then sprayed the strip with Mary's Best Press (you could use starch). When I am making a bunch of these I put the strips in a Baggie and spray into the Baggie til all the strips are damp. This is much easier and less messy than doing them one at a time and the bag keeps them damp while I am working.
Before inserting the strip into the tool I press the end of the strip until dry. This stiffens it so that it is easier to push through the bias maker. It is also important that the end of the strip is cut into a point.
I also need to have a pin handy as it is used to help push the fabric along. The fabric is inserted between the pink plastic and the metal at the wide end and then using the pin I coax it along towards the tip.
Here is where it gets tricky. This tip has a long pointy end and the fabric just starts getting stuck. I found that if I used the pin on the underside I was able to just push it out the end. Again, kinda tricky but doable!
And I pull the end out a bit to start the pressing.
Well maybe a bit more than that. Start pressing while gently and slowly pulling the tool away from the ironing moving the iron along with the tool. It is very important to keep the fabric centered at the wider end so that both sided of the stem will be turned under. I found this worked much better if I went quite slowly.
And that is it. A nice little stem ready to be stitched.
And after about an hour I had this pile of stems ready for LE. Next post I will show you how I used them.