The Tumbling Leaves pattern calls for nine Maple Leaf blocks, each with an appliquéd stem. The little unit that the stem is appliquéd onto is only 2 inches square.
The first step is to make bias stems. The pattern said to cut bias strips 3/4" wide. I thought that was way, way too small. I cut mine 1 1/2" inches wide. I like to sew them wrong sides together with a 1/8" seam allowance.
Cut a 45 degree bias strip, fold it wrong sides together and stitch it with a 1/8" seam allowance. Insert a metal Celtic Bias bar (whichever one in the pack is closest in size. You twist it slightly using the bias bar as a guide so that the seam allowance is completely hidden underneath. Press well. The photo above shows my bias strip, stitched, but not twisted onto the bias bar.
This is a bias strip which has been twisted around the bias bar and pressed. It was supposed to end up about 5/8" wide according to the pattern, and I think mine were 1/2". Close enough. You can't see that unfinished seam at all, since it is turned around to the back. Easy peasy.
I fooled around a bit trying to figure out how to secure my bias strip on a perfect diagonal. I tried pins and the results were unreliable. I then tried my little SewLine glue pen and that was the way to go. I just stuck it on the background square and appliquéd it in place. No need for pins.
I set up all my little Maple Leaf units for assembly line sewing.
My appliqué technique is to use an open toe appliqué foot (#20 on my Bernina), invisible thread on the top, regular thread on the bottom, and a blind hem stitch. I do fusible appliqué (I used Pellon Wonder Under because it was what I had on hand), with a raw edge on my fabric. No starch, no turned under edges. I am not an appliqué expert by any stretch of the imagination, but the results were acceptable to me.
If you enlarge the photo, you can clearly see that my appliqué is far from perfect, but that invisible thread really does disappear.
I guess my message is--even if you aren't an expert, give appliqué a try. There are so many cute projects that incorporate appliqué. Life is short, try something new.