Friday, January 14, 2011

Sewing without gadgets

Behold! A stem. I realize this is not the most exciting picture ever, but stayed tuned. That quilt block is about to get a lot more interesting.

Since one of my goals this year is to become more financially fit, I'm deliberately resisting the idea that I must acquire more, more, MORE of everything. There's a lot of back-story to this but I'll spare you all of that today.

In my quilting class on Wednesday one of the things we learned was how to make bias-cut stems. (In Baltimore Album-style quilts, there are lots of flowers, leaves, wreaths, and stems.) Making bias stems can involve the purchase of lots of little sewing gadgets - one for every size piece of stem or wreath - and all that stuff adds up to big $$$ in a hurry. Ka-ching!

My instructor taught us one way of doing it without all the extras. Hurrah! Not only do I not need to buy more stuff, I don't even have to get up out of my chair to do look for it.

I love being thrifty. It's probably lame, old-fashioned, and not chic, but oh well. I'll be taking my lame, ol' thrifty self all the way to the bank.


  1. Your stem is good. I can't wait to see your stuff. I bought a pattern yesterday at the Oklahoma City WinternQuilt Show that has a really large applique in the middle--it's a basket with flowers. Really big. The border has various flowers, too. It's going to be really pretty.

    I also increased the size of my stash--by about 20 or so fat quarters. I finally found a really nice appliqued wall hanging of a peacock so will be making that, too.

  2. ...and, oh yeah, I bought the bias tape gadgets, but our teacher also taught us how to make it with pins.

    What's your technique?

  3. Mom, I pressed my 1" bias strip in half, drew a chalk line 1/4" from the raw edge, lined up the raw edge with the outside edge of the pattern's curve and pinned it, and then stitched along the drawn line. Then I folded the strip over the stitching so that the folded edge of the bias strip covered the stitching and the raw edges and appliqued it down. I had to trim a little bit off the raw edges in a couple spots. There was no needle-turning involved because being folded it was a finished edge. It's very similar to what we do with the French binding method if that makes is more clear what I'm talking about. It looks super. And it's not a bit fiddly, which is how I think all those bias-tape making gadgets look.

  4. I don't get it. That's okay though, because I enjoy hearing/reading about the process. It reminds me that there are many things in this life that I have yet to learn, if I want to... later. And that helps me to see that the world is chock full of good stuff.