Tutorials

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Today’s post is part of the Pile O’ Fabric Totally Groovy QuiltAlong!

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Welcome to my I-have-way-too-many-quilts-to-make-and-too-many-deadlines-and-have-no-time-to-pin-because-I-need-these-done-yesterday Method of curved piecing.

In general, people seem to be terrified of curves in quilting. So one of my earliest patterns was Scrappy Circles which allows for some, ahem, errors in your curved sewing as well as sewing curves without pins. It’s a great practice for more precise curved sewing.

When I started curves, I pinned everything. Excessively. The pins in my curved sewing are long gone with the billions of curves I seem to sew every week. Ok, so perhaps that’s a slight exaggeration. Well, maybe not. I had to count how many I sewed this summer. Just shy of 1,000 of these things. Seriously.

This is how I do them:

First. If your machine gives you the ability to set it so the needle stays down when you stop sewing, make it do so! Also, if you have a knee lift, use it! If your machine came with a knee lift but you’ve been scared to use it because it looks like this odd piece of metal sticking out of your beeeeutiful machine, then, well, now is the time to find it and use it. You’ll want it for this project. If your machine has neither feature, this is still 100% possible, but might take a little more practice.

Second. Cutting. I do 99.9% of my cutting with a 45mm blade BUT I find a 28mm blade makes the curved pieces much easier to cut. Don’t stack too many layers to cut at once, because then you end up chopping the fabric and your pieces aren’t precise. You need precise pieces.
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Put your outer piece on top like so:
Print

And then refine the placement by lining up the top like this. It’s just a smidge off of a perfectly aligned corner.
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Ready for the fun part?
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Put it under the foot/needle and put in a stitch or two to hold things together.
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Align the two fabric edges right at the end of the foot and hold in place with your left index finger. With your right hand, gently pull the curve around to the left and align the edges. Hold in place with your right middle finger.
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Sew, lifting your left index finger before you sew over it. Note: I keep my fingers in front of the needle and the curved front end of the foot so my fingers hit the end of the foot, not the needle. Fingers and moter-driven needles are a bad mix. Keep sewing until you get to where your right middle finger was placed.
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Repeat. Align and hold with left index. Curve, align and hold with right middle.
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Move left index and sew until you reach right middle.
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Continue until you get about 3/4″ish (this does not need to be an exact measurement!) from the end of the curve.
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Align the bottom corner. And sew to the end.
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So at this point, it can get really hard to hold the top fabric in place. So if this happens to you…
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… try this. Using you right index finger, rotate and hold in place the bottom fabric. With your left hand gently pivot the upper fabric from behind the needle. Align and hold everything in place.
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And sew to the end.
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Taaa-daaa!
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Press seams to the outside. Make sure not to stretch/distort anything.
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Square it up.
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All done. Now do it again. And again.
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And again.