Thursday, August 23, 2012

Piece Those Curves! (To Be Totally Groovy!!)

Welcome all the Totally Groovy quilt a long folks!

I love all kinds of piecing, but it took me awhile to love piecing curves with traditional templates.  With anything, it takes lots of practice and repetition to develop that love.  Back in 2010 I wrote a tutorial for piecing curves the traditional way...with templates and pins called "Conquer Your Fear!"  I pretty much piece all my traditional curves this way except I now eliminate the pins.  Check out that tutorial for all the basics of traditional curved piecing.

If you're just beginning, use some pins. I pulled out Emily's templates from the pattern you're using and made a few just so I'd know what you're tackling.  Since the Conquer Your Fear Tutorial was done with half circle templates, and this quilt requires quarter circles, I thought I'd share the steps again.

First, cut your inside and outside pieces and press each in half to make a registration mark and place them as shown below.  Notice the folds are opposite.

 Place the inner circle as shown.  The folds will nest together.
 Turn over and pin from this side, with the outer template on top.  Use small sharp pins and pin close to the edge of the curve.
 Then match the edges and pin and ease the curve together aligning the edges and pin half way between the center and the edge.  This is probably enough pins to successfully sew this small curve.
 If you want or need a little extra stability, add additional pins between each of the first set of pins.
 Now it's time to sew.  Set your stitch length a little bit smaller than what you usually piece with.  Smaller stitches will flow easier around a curve.  I sew with the outside template on top.  This allows me to see and manage the bulk of the curve. Drop your presser foot and remove the first pin.  I don't recommend sewing over pins.  DANGER!
Sew slowly keeping edges aligned.  Resist the urge to force the curve into a straight line.  Notice how the piece is curving away from the presser foot.  The only place that needs to be straight is at the foot and about 1/4" in front of the foot.
 Continue to sew slowly, stop with the needle down, remove the next pin, and continue sewing.
The final inch of sewing can be tricky.  You may want to use a stiletto or skewer to hold the pieces in places after you remove the final pin.
 Press and you're done.  No fancy feet needed, just a little effort and some practice and you'll be sewing great curves in no time.  Let me know if you have questions and I'll try to answer them in the comments.
By the way, Alyssa is having a little giveaway sponsored by Fresh Modern Fabric to celebrate this tutorial and keep you motivated.


21 comments:

Melissa said...

Thanks for the tip :) I have to press and cut out my fabric and then I'll be onto sewing my first curves! This came just in time!

Margery said...

If you didn't have a stiletto or a skewer handy to hold the final inch of the seam, you could use the pointy side of your stitch ripper (a thing I always have handy!).

Doreen said...

The pressing hint is a great idea! Have done a lot of curves using a ton of different 'hints'...that's one of the easiest/fool-proof ones I've come across! Thanks!

Elsa said...

You make it look so easy ~ thanks so much for the tutorial!

liz said...

I think I may just try this! Thanks Jacquie!

Ali said...

Great! I don't have all my pieces cut yet, hoping to finish this weekend, but that was a perfectly clear helpful tutorial, so thank you!

Anna O said...

Thanks very much for the tutorial! I just tried sewing my first curve for the TGQAL last night. It went fairly well until the last little bit, definitely will need to practice some more. Thanks for the extra help. :)

giddy99 said...

Oh, I SO want to get good at sewing a straight line, so I can then tackle a curve... yours look awesome.

Sandy said...

Always difficult to remember which piece goes on top...convex...concave..and which is which...LOL
Thank you for the reminder

The Amateur Quilter (Mike Pearson) said...

Wow! I now have the courage :)

Malini said...

Thanks for the wonderful tutorial.

I have your book Quilting Modern and absolutely love each project. Cant wait to try them all.

charlotte said...

excellent tutorial and pictures. it is now clear as a bell.

WendyBiird said...

As always your tutorials are easy to follow and work like a charm. Thanks for being "Jacquie on the spot" :)

-Wendybiird-

Nat at Made in Home said...

This is my challenge for bank holiday Monday! Thanks for sharing this tutorial!

Mary-Clare said...

Thank you. made my first ever curved piece and worked first time!

Karen M said...

Thanks for the lovely clear photos!

Deere Driver said...

Thanks for leading me to Alyssa's blog the other night. I won the fabric. Yay!

Bohemian Mimi said...

This is just what I needed to get started on a project that has been cut out for weeks. Thank you, thank you Jacquie!

prsd4tim2 said...

Thanks for the tutorial. I've never been afraid of curves, but I can always learn something. Love the way the folds nest together. Great idea! Thanks!

Cathrin said...

Wow, thanks! I just sewed my first circle yesterday and it worked so well!

Now, do you have tipps and tricks how to cut proper circles? I used a bowl and tried to mark one quarter of a circle on my fabric, but that might not be the best, easiest and most accurate way to do so...

KaHolly said...

You make it look so easy!