((( learning curves )))

by Nova on February 28, 2011

Single Girl Quilt Along  :: Part 3 :: (the part you’ve all been looking forward to I know ;) ) … Sewing the Curves! Yay!  Yes, that’s right quilt alongers, ‘YAY’!

Disclaimer! I am certainly not an expert on sewing curves ;) I have  made many mistakes & to be honest, I expected to –   that is how we learn & I still have a lot to learn. The methods I show here  are just to explain & show you  how I approached sewing the curves for this project. Please share your tips and advice on sewing curves for other quilt alongers in the group, we’d all love that! Thanks so much :)

For this stage you will need::

  • Ring pieces
  • Inner & outer background pieces
  • Pins ( or maybe not ;)! )
  • a quarter inch  foot
  • an un-picker/seam ripper
  • your Single Girl pattern for reference

I’m going to show you 2 methods of sewing curves, pinned and pinless.  I personally didn’t find a difference in the results though with the pinless method you save time as you are not pinning obviously, but you have more chance of stretching your fabric I think.

Before we begin, here are some thoughts I had  on curved piecing….

  • If you are new to curved piecing, I would highly recommend having a play first with some scrap fabric just to build up your confidence.
  • Expect to unpick. Please don’t get despondent or cross with yourself if you find you  are reaching for the un~picker, it happens.
  • Relax. This is fun right?
  • Remember to breath.
  • If you are going the pinned method, don’t be afraid to ‘over’ pin, you can never have too many pins.
  • It’s important you don’t stretch your fabric. As your fabric is cut on the curve it will stretch out of shape more easily, treat it gently when you are pinning and sewing to avoid warping in your finished block.
  • Take it slow. It’s not a race.
  • You CAN do this :)

You Tube and Google have a wealth of tutorials and videos for sewing curves, it’s where I picked up some hints and tips before I launched into the single girl quilts I made last year.  It was a light bulb moment as I watched 2 pieces of fabric that I thought ‘no way can these 2 fit together without creasing’ , magically come together and become one.  Amazing.

Here’s what we begin with – 3 pieces of fabric that you may be looking at and wondering how on earth you are  going to stitch them together neatly into 1 …

Please note that I cut my background pieces slightly larger than the template so I could square up later. It’s a personal thing whether you do this or not & certainly not a must do. I did not adjust the curve line of the template, I simply extended the straight edges by approx 1/2 “.

You’re going to sew the inner backgrounds first as per instructions in the pattern. Find the centre by folding your pieced ring quarter  and your inner background piece in half and finger press.

Line up your centre marks, right sides together and if you are pinning, pin pin & then pin some more. Begin at the centre and work your way out. You will end up with something that looks a bit like this…

If you are going with the pinless  method you will need to line your fabrics up in such a way as looks impossible for them to ever come together but they will! I promise!

This is also the way I prefer to feed the curve through the machine,  I’m not sure if there is  a right or a wrong way but this way just feels the most natural to me, in fact I don’t think I have tried the opposite way as I seem to automatically do it this way each time.

The videos below show me sewing the curves, I figured this might be easier to get the gist of what’s going on rather  than trying to explain via photos.  So here I am, with my funny Anglo/Aussie accent, sewing curves with pins and then without pins (just for your reference, I’m sewing the outer background pieces in both these videos).

In case you are having trouble viewing the videos within the post, you can see them via the links below.

Single Girl Quilt Along ~ Sewing Pinned Curves Vid

Single Girl Quilt Along Sewing Curves ~ Pinless Metho Vid

When you have sewn your curves, press the seam allowance towards the ring. You might find steam and a spray bottle of water handy here. Here’s one I pressed earlier..

Repeat the steps to sew the outer background pieces & voila you have your pieced curves :) Not as scary as you thought, huh?!

It’s a really good idea to follow as the pattern advises and sew all your Q1 inner backgrounds, then Q2 etc followed by the outer backgrounds for each quarter. It really helps you keep track of which quarter you are working on.  At each step, keep each quarter in it’s own pile & label.

If you have any questions with this step,  hop over to the Single Girl Support Group and  all 230+ of us are there to help :)

Keep your pictures coming to the Support Group if you are quilting along, it’s quite something watching all these single girls grow!

Katy is back next week with Assembly details.   You can catch up on past weeks posts, see our quilt along schedule below

14 Feb – Marking and cutting fabric – Katy
21 Feb – Piecing rings – Megan
28 Feb – Sewing curves – Nova
7 March – Assembly – Katy
14 March – Marking quilting design & hand quilting – Nova
28 March – Quilt Along wrap up – Megan, Katy & Nova

{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

rachelmp February 28, 2011 at 6:58 pm

I’m not up to this stage yet, but I just wanted to check – are we aiming to have some extra seam allowance on each side of the curve like in your first pic? The second pinless method looks like you don’t have this extra fabric. Sorry to be a pain!


Jo February 28, 2011 at 8:57 pm

Thanks for the tute! I actually started piecing curves yesterday (couldn’t resist having a practice) and although it went a hell of a lot better than I was expecting, it’s great to have a few more tips to make the curves even neater. I am SO excited to see this pattern coming together, possibly my most satisfying quilt yet.


Serena March 1, 2011 at 1:24 am

Wow thanks Nova! The videos are really helpful! I’ve never seen the pin less method I can’t wait to try it. Also your fabrics are beautiful, lovely choices as always :0)


Suzanne March 1, 2011 at 2:42 am

Thanks for the tutorial. I’m not participating in the single girl support group, but I have given up in frustration every time I’ve tried to sew along a curve. I want to be able to, but it hasn’t happened yet! Your instructions are very clear and I’m bookmarking them for the next time I work up the courage to try again.


Mary Claire March 1, 2011 at 3:56 am

I got excited and sewed a few last night and was really suprised how easily they came together. I’m using linen too and was even more suprised to find that it wasn’t any more difficult to work with! Your post will help me get through the 61 more I have to do! Ha!


Danielle March 1, 2011 at 6:34 am

Love your videos, and accent! The pinless method looks amazing! I’m not sure if I’m brave enough to try it that way?! Thanks for sharing.


Gayle March 1, 2011 at 9:21 am

Thanks, Nova! I watched both videos and you make sewing curves seem so easy! The pinless method looks like it’s worth a shot, so, I’m off to cut out my background pieces and give it a go. Your fabrics are lovely. The gray linen is a perfect background choice.


julie March 1, 2011 at 2:30 pm

You make this look effortless!! My quarters are starring at me on the table. Think I’ll watch your videos again and build up my courage!!!


Erin March 1, 2011 at 6:08 pm

Well, OK, if your accent/voice isn’t just the cutest thing I’ve heard I don’t know what is. And really, this post is great, the videos and the way you explain things make me feel like I could actually tackle this pattern someday! Love it.


Eileen March 2, 2011 at 6:26 pm

The videos are fantastic! Thank you for making them and you do sound so adorable! :) I’m thinking I might like the pinless method :) I’ll try it out both ways on my test block.


Sarah March 2, 2011 at 8:25 pm

I’m so not up for this challenge at the moment, as my life is giving me challenges enough (all good!), but I’m really enjoying learning about the pattern and checking out people’s progress on Flickr. It never ceases to amaze me how different one pattern can look in different fabrics… I love it!


jessica March 4, 2011 at 11:11 am

thank you so much! i tried both ways and the pinless was much less painful than i imagined…so much so that i’m now contemplating making this into a full size quilt for our bed. thanks again! and i love your accent!


tinam@cruzio.com March 6, 2011 at 12:20 pm

THANK YOU! You’ve made this all so clear and given me hope. This is the best quilt along in history!


Colette March 16, 2011 at 3:59 am

I am a tad bit behind…just getting to sewing my curved pieces this afternoon ;D Thanks for the fantastic tutorial! Going to muster up some courange and try the pinless method.


Erin Hutchinson December 13, 2011 at 7:18 am

I just found your post last night as I was trying to remember how to sew curves without pinning. This was most helpful – thanks!


Lorraine January 13, 2012 at 8:49 pm

Thank you for the tutorial – so clear, so well done. I feel much less apprehensive about tackling a Drunkards Path now :P.
(Eeeeh ooop, Lass, thars gort neigh reel fooni way ov tarking )


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