Wednesday, March 17, 2021

QuiltCon Class: Bias Applique Mastery

I know it's been a few weeks since QuiltCon Together, but I've still been working on finishing my projects from each class.  The first one I finished was from Bias Applique Mastery with Latifah Saafir.  I went to a virtual lecture/demo with Latifah last summer through the Triad Modern Quilt Guild and was excited to explore bias applique in depth.  This class had two main areas of focus: bias applique techniques, and using those techniques in your own original design.

The class itself (recorded) laid out cutting, making, sewing, and pressing the bias binding.  She had us make 6 practice blocks to learn the different types of curves or straight line uses for bias applique.  I knew I wouldn't use one technique so I only made 5, but then I wanted to practice an enclosed shape for my potential project, so I did end up with 6 blocks. 

There were some technical issues with the part of the video that dealt with the practice videos, which meant I didn't have measurements.  I chose to use rectangles 12" x 18" so they could become placemats for my guild's project of placemats for Friendship Trays.  I have not turned the practice blocks into placemats yet but I intend to.

Then it was time to try my own design.  I wanted to do an umbrella with rain drops.  I also wanted to use my beloved Island Batik fabrics.  Latifah has us use traditional quilter's cotton for the test blocks since batiks are more tightly woven and therefor have significantly less stretch, even on the bias.  My first pass at the umbrella handle was a *disaster.*  The tight curve I was trying to do, plus the width of the bias tape I started with, plus the batik fabric meant it just did not do what I wanted it to do.  So I scrapped that version.

I started over skinnier tape and a less severe curve and it went better.  I also ditched my idea of raindrops; I wasn't sure I could get the batik bias to do them small enough to make sense with the umbrella.  There are still flaws in this piece but I'm not going to point them out to you. 😀  Overall I'm happy with the piece and I better understand the limitations of batiks with this technique.  

I enjoyed the class a lot.  Latifah is a kind, thorough, and patient teacher.  She was very methodical in the live Q&A sessions and made sure everyone got a chance to ask questions and share their experiences with the practice blocks and their designs.  I think there are a lot of fun possibilities for bias tape applique and I look forward to playing more in the future--you just might see more of my bias tape applique adventures in an upcoming Island Batik Ambassador challenge!


  1. What a fun project!! I love how your umbrella turned out. Great job! Looking forward to your upcoming challenge with IB using this technique!!

  2. Your umbrella is beautiful! Sounds like you had fun.

  3. Looks like a fun class. Have you ever looked at the work of Joe Cunningham? He uses bias tape in many of his creations, and I enjoy seeing so many of them.

  4. Hi Emily,
    It was great to read this post! How interesting that a high quality batik (Island Batik) can be fussy when you try to manipulate the curves!
    Your blocks (future placemats) look great!
    Isn't learning fun?

  5. That's lovely. I have used batiks with bias tape long time ago for some Celtic designs. It was not Island Batik. I used something from Joann's I think - sort of thin. Also the strips were quite thin - 1/4" finished. I took Latifah's bias tape class on Craftsy a few months ago and it was great.

  6. Ohhh, such nice practice blocks! And they're going to become something that will bless others. Love the umbrella! I'm glad you didn't point out the blips because there aren't any!!!

  7. A very useful accent technique. Your umbrella worked out beautifully.