I often hear from quilters that they want to add curves to their sewing skills, but are intimidated by trying this technique. My mission is to get as many quilters as possible to convert to sewing curves!
Curve piecing doesn't have to be an advanced skill. Even if you've only sewn a few quilts, you can certainly add curves to your toolbox and make amazing quilts. The key to getting started with curves and having success is to start with a large block and use tools that allow you to cut accurately.
Patterns often come with a template, or you can get a tool specifically for cutting curves. Make sure the cutting tool you use allows you to make gaps in the curved edges of your piece ...... Your curves will fit and stitch easier and the wood blocks will lay flat. The most basic (and incredibly versatile) curved block is the Drunkard's Path. It's a basic quarter-circle unit that consists of two pieces of fabric: a convex part (quarter-circle) and a concave part (rounded L-shape). The larger your piece is, the easier it is to piece together.
I have designed a new tool to cut these pieces, the Classic Curve Ruler. This allows you to cut both convex and concave pieces with seam allowance. The ruler comes in 10 size options, and for beginners, I recommend starting with a 6" or larger block. The more confident you are, the more you will want to try new shapes and smaller sizes.
Start matching your curved edges and pinning them in the center, halfway to the center and at both ends. The key is to make sure you feed the fabric evenly through the machine to avoid stretching the curved edges. The more pins you use, the easier it will be to keep your edges together and avoid creasing and stretching.
Start slowly, but once you have sewn curves a bit, you will get comfortable with feeding the fabrics evenly and you’ll speed up quite a bit. A few tips:
Set your machine in the needle down position if you have it. This allows you to stop periodically to adjust without having your fabric slip.
When I pin my curves, I sew with the concave curve (the L shaped fabric) on top. When I sew the curves without pins, I sew with the concave curve on bottom. This is personal preference. If you are struggling, try flipping your fabrics over and sew with the other one on bottom.
If you get puckers in your seam, check your cutting and make sure your pieces are cut correctly with 1/4″ seam allowance. You will reduce the chance of puckers if you pin your pieces well and sew slowly. It’s okay to use as many pins as needed to keep the fabrics lined up.
I hope you feel inspired to try a curvy quilt!
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