Monday, July 29, 2013

Improvisational Curve Piecing Tutorial



Settling back into my fall piece (which I started in October, 2011) has been fun and relaxing.  Its a quiet, easy piece to play with on my design board.  And ya wanna know why???  'Cause - I'm the Queen of my Studio.  Its fun being queen!  You get to make all the decisions and there isn't anybody to over rule you.  You can do whatever you want without any rules to follow.

With that in mind, the next block was a circle which included some improvisational curve piecing.  Now, once again, I can hear you all      -"OMG, I totally don't get how to curve piece!!"  So I thought I would show you how easy it is (since 16 yrs ago, my friend Sandy showed me!)

Improvisational Curve Piecing Tutorial


  • Cut two pieces of fabric  - one for the background - one for the curve - bigger than what you want the finish piece to be.  Place them on top of each other  - right sides facing up.
  • Using a rotary cutter - cut a gentle curve - nothing curving too high or two low (you might want to just start off with a really simple curve - rather than a "S" curve to start)

  • Take the upper half of the curve fabric  - flip it down over the lower half of the background fabric with right sides face to face now.  Put aside the other halves of each fabric for later use.  The resulting piece should look where the hills and the valleys are not matching each other - so it will look wrong - but its really right!
  • Match up the ends of the curve pieces of fabric and slowly sew the sides together using a 1/4" seam - just keep matching the edges as you go - no need to pin.  Your feed dogs will move the fabric - your fingers should guide the edges together.  You won't end with the end points matching - that's okay!

  • Press carefully with a lot - and than more steam.  You might get bulges and buckles depending on how curvey your curve is.  Just press and press some more till it lays flat (or nearly flat - LOL)

  • Now you have a curve seam - and you can stop there cutting the block into proper size but if you feel adventurous - you can can keep going like I did
  • Take the upper half of the original background fabric (which had been set aside) - place it on your curve pieced block - right sides facing up.
  • Following the original curve outline on the background fabric, rotary cut the curved block. Pick a width that you want the curve fabric to be - thin or thick or whatever
  • Now repeat Steps 3-6.

  • Ta-Da!!  Don't you feel smart?!  Its good to be Queen!!



As you can see I went on to repeat the whole process again - using another diagonal  curve in the other direction.   Then I cut out the circle from the block using an embroidery hoop as a template (handy suckers they are!)  I had to steam the heck out of this  one - don't know if its 'cause I cut an "S" curve or its the batik fabrics I used but boy they didn't have a lot of give to them.  I wouldn't doubt that the curves will stretch easier if you cut the initial fabric pieces on the bias (that means cut the blocks on a diagonal across the fabric rather than straight up and down) - but since these were Hoffman fat quarters I won at a give-away (nice huh?!) I didn't have that option .

Email me with any questions - hope you have as much fun with curve piecing as I do!

See more great design boards at Judy's Patchworks Times!!

6 comments:

JCMITQuilts said...

Very nice! Thank you for the tutorial. I'm feeling brave!

Kathy said...

Looks really good! I've been piecing this way for years, too, and the only thing I would add is a caution against pulling or stretching the fabrics as you sew. That can often cause some of those puckers or bulges.

QuiltSwissy said...

Thanks, this is great.

By the way, i am off to home depot to find me some pieces of 4 or 6 inch PVC pipe to do some shibori dyeing with.

And I laid in a supply of red solo cups for when I get the dyes going!

Thanks for the info, I am excited.

ann said...

THANKS! I hope to get a chance to try this out rather soon. Curves have always scared me.

PS. My studio is almost finished, just need electrical and plumbing. Then I too will be 'The Queen of my own Studio'.

Julianne said...

I love it..

Deb Hartwig said...


Love! The tutorial on curves is great! I have been looking for something new to try, and I have done everything with trees I can think of. So glad you have vision!