Monday, January 07, 2008

Easy Curves

Debra asked how I made the abstract blocks in the blue piece I'm working on, so here's a tutorial. They're wonky, free-cut curved blocks. The technique is basically the same for any kind of curved piecing, but this is easy because the curves can be gentle, and you don't have to worry about getting them perfectly straight, because they'll be trimmed later. You start by cutting a block bigger than you need though, so there's some waste. I cut my squares 5 inches to trim down to 3.5. I usually work with three or four squares at a time.

Stack them, right side up, and cut in a random way with gentle curves into two or three pieces.

Then clip the in-curved piece about every one half inch, not going in quite a quarter of an inch.

Then you shuffle: I take the top left hand piece and put it on the bottom, and then take the bottom right hand piece and put it on the top. They're partially shuffled here.

Then line the pieces up, flip the in-curved piece over, and put a pin in the center.

Then gently pull the top piece so that the edges line up. The corners will not match; the top one will over lap about a quarter of an inch.

Sew as usual, pushing the fullness out of the way. On a gentle curve there isn't much.

When you get to the center remove the pin and rearrange the pieces so that edges on the rest of the seam are lined up. If a pucker seems to be forming, stop, lift the presser foot, and rearrange the fullness. On a sharper curve, you may have to do this a couple of times.

Do the other seam the same way, always putting the in-curving piece on top. You end up with three blocks, each one different. There was very little distortion on these blocks, but sometimes depending on the type of curve, there may be more. Trim them, and play with them.


Debra Spincic said...

Thanks, Kay. Seems to be like that stack the deck technique that was going around awhile ago. Looks easy enough!

Rian said...

This looks like fun!!

verobirdie said...

Thank you Kay for the tutorial. I've learned a few tricks from it!

sparkle jars said...

This is a wonderful tutorial. I discovered your blog from the Take It Further Challenge. I can't wait to try this. Love your blog!

Allison Ann Aller said...

This is how I do foundation curved piecing...except I'm sewing my 2 curved pieces on top of muslin...then I just flip the top piece over and iron it flat over the muslin, ready for the next curved piece.

You gave a great explanation!

diva of quilts said...

I have a UFO that is the same sort of idea, one of those Ricky Tims Convergence quilts. Those gentle curves really are the best to work with!

I really like the way your blocks in the tutorial turned out--very simple and versatile. You could do quite a lot of different things with blocks like that.

Granny Fran said...

Thanks for that helpful tutorial. Your blue piece is looking wonderful!