Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Curved Piecing

I've shown this recently, but some of you are saying curves are too hard, and I want to say, No, they are not. So here goes some instructions which you might find encouraging.

First, this is where I'm heading. This is a Terry Adkinson design and templates, called Winning Bouquet. I've made about 24 blocks, got sidetracked with another project, but I'm back working on it. It's an interesting design, and can be both a positive image or a negative image.

This is the block. I'm not showing the little corner units, but they go together in the same way as the 30's print, added to the white shape.

Curves are not hard, but they take a little time -- it is NOT speed piecing, but I pieced each block in 5 minutes or so.

First, the green (below) will be pieced to the white. I'm using my 1/4 inch foot, regular white thread, regular pressure on the presser foot, etc. (Ignore the little bit of blue fabric - probably fell out of my hair!)

Use needle down position, and if you have it, USE YOUR KNEE LIFT HERE WITH RIGHT KNEE, AND LEFT FOOT ON PEDAL. If you've not used both feet, you are losing efficiency. It only takes a little bit of practice -- remember learning to play the piano?

Find the middle of each piece by folding each in half and finger press it with your nail to make a crease. Handle gentle, but don't get paranoid. Bias edges can be stretched wrong but it can also be your friend, as in this project. Do NOT stretch anything here - it WILL go together just fine.
I pin the beginning, middle and end (some people don't pin at all!).

Sew slowly, about 4 stitches each time, and use a sharp pointy thing to keep the right edges aligned and keep poking the fabric under the foot - you're not causing pleats, just poking it under to help it along. My sharp tool is something left from high school biology, for dissecting frogs. I've added our anniversary cork on the handle so it's easier to find in my cup of tools.

Each time I stop, I rearrange with my left hand, causing it to ripple on the left, but keeping it flat along the sewn seam. And here it is, nice and neat (unpressed for now). I am using care with pressing, being sure to press with the grain line of the fabric. So far, after 28 blocks, I've not had to unsew even one seam.

The little corner units are handled the same way, finding center, sewing slowly a few stitches, stopping and using your sharp tool to keep the right edges aligned.

I think I want to do a Drunkard's Path next ...

19 comments:

paula, the quilter said...

A nice tutorial, Elaine. Now I want to go into the sewing room and do some curves.

Finn said...

Hi Elaine, great tutorial! I'm not into curved piecing, being mostly ALL thumbs as I age, but you did a great job on both the piecing and tutorial.
And, oh my, your poor tulips! We didn't get that! Hugs, Finn

Lynne in Hawaii said...

Thanks for the tutorial! I might just get the courage to do curves.

jovaliquilts said...

Nice tutorial, thanks! Stilettos can be so useful!

Jeanne said...

Thanks, Elaine. I'll have to try this soon.

Su Bee said...

Super tute - I could get some courage from this. Those curves look like nice easy ones to start with - maybe I'll give it a shot!
Thanks for the photos, really good shots.

Anne Ida said...

Great tutorial! Perhaps this will help me from handstitching curves to trying them on the machine... Thanks!

Owens Family Adventures said...

That's a really easy to understand tutorial!! I may just try some curved piecing now. :)
dawn

Julie said...

Very clear photos. I've tried machine piecing curves with no success. You've inspired me to give it another try. Maybe I'll get that Dbl. Wedding Ring done yet!

Joyce said...

I'll definitely have to try this. I have set in enough sleeves and curved quilt blocks shouldn't be any different. Thanks for the tutorial.

Mama Koch said...

Great instructions. This is how I did a wedding ring project. Like you said, not a speed-project, but not horribly hard either.

Purple Pam said...

Wow! You are really venturing out there. Curved piecing, and that great ribbon border. Thanks for the tutorial. It makes sense to me now that I have read it. I am anxious to see your finished Winning Bouquet quilt.

Sharon said...

Thanks for the tutorial. You make it seem do-able! And great photos. I can't wait to see the finished quilt - it'll be a knockout!

Marilyn said...

Great tutorial! Look out Fons & Porter! Thanks for posting to help us all out.

The Jen said...

Very cool tutorial. That pattern is lovely. ~jen~

Deb H said...

I really am glad there are people like you who like doing ANY kind of piecing, much less curves. My favorite thing is doing the quilting, & looking at other people's lovely piecing. I have actully nodded off when trying to piece a bunch of blocks of the same design! It's like narcolepsy at the sewing machine for me. I guess I'm not meant to piece.

Thanks for your sympathetic comment. I think I'm going to live now! :~)

The Calico Quilter said...

That's a really good explanation of curved piecing. The only thing I'm doing differently is using five pins instead of three, so the fullness is more distributed from the start. This template is probably scaring off a lot of people, but it shouldn't. It's really easy when you try one.

StitchinByTheLake said...

Thanks for the lesson on curved piecing. I've been thinking I might try it and you've given me the incentive. And I loved the ribbon border from your previous blog - what a great finish to your quilt!

Rose Marie said...

Great tutorial ..... perhaps I might just try this out one day! I'm just so used to doing this type of work by hand.