One of my LQS staffers recommended SoftFuse for the applique shapes. It seems to adhere well and is very soft and flexible - more so than other fusible products I have used. I have only blanket stitched the heart in the center of the vase, but the fusible provided stability for the stitching and didn't gum up the sewing machine needle.
There are a number of stems included in the applique border. I wasn't sure how I wanted to proceed with them, as I'm still rather a novice at appliqueing stems. First I tried the method I learned for hand applique: applique press bars. I cut a stem wider than needed, folded the wrong sides together and sewed a 1/8" seam. Then I used the 3/8" press bar to press the seam to the back side of the stem. When you use lots of starch, this creates a nice crisp edge for hand stitching.
|Bias press bar (top) & back side of folded and stitched bias stem|
Unfortunately, I thought the finished stem was a little too thick, especially compared to the other applique shapes that were just one layer.
Next I tried fabric glue. The glue held the fabrics together adequately. There was no additional stability to support the stitches, but it didn't seem to be a problem.
I also wanted to try narrow, paper backed fusing tape made specifically for applique. Apparently Clover makes this type of tape specifically to use with their bias tape makers. I only had time for a quick run to my nearby Hancock fabrics, and of course they didn't have any of the Clover product. I did find this wash away 1/4" Wonder Tape. It doesn't need heat to fuse it in place - it's more like a double-sided adhesive tape.
Here's the Wonder Tape applied to the wrong side of a 3/8" bias stem. The paper backing is peeled off to the left. I applied the stem to the background fabric and could continue re-positioning the stem until I had it curved just the way I wanted. No need to worry about glue residue getting on the background fabric!
The Wonder Tape provided good fabric adherence. It also added a little stability, but since it's not as wide as the bias stem, it didn't really improve the quality of the stitching. Still, I think the machine blanket stitch looks just fine. I didn't photograph the practice curve, but the Wonder Tape worked well at holding curves in place and easing out the bias.
Now I just need a chunk of time to get the bias stems stitched in place!