Yesterday on QUILTsocial I gave you 8 tips for rotary cutting curved templates, and we used the Twisted Square Template by Sew Easy to cut 42 squares from fat quarters of Forest Friends fabrics by Fabric Creations. Today I’ll talk about different products you can use to help take the fear out of curved piecing.
Arrange the blocks
The first thing to do is arrange the blocks on a design wall. I chose to arrange my blocks so they create diagonal lines down and to the right. Sew the blocks into seven rows, and then sew the rows together, but first, assemble the indispensable notions that follow.
Notion 1 – Good quality needles
Let’s talk about needles. I love using Microtex needles for piecing. They’re nice and sharp and can be used for all types of fabrics like microfibers, polyester, silk, foils, artificial leather, and coated materials. The very thin, acute point creates beautiful topstitching and perfectly straight stitches for quilt piecing when precision is important. For this project, I’m using SCHMETZ 90/14 Microtex needles.
Notion 2 – Good quality thread
Thread is usually the least expensive part of your project, but it is literally what holds the whole project together, so make sure to use good quality thread. Nobody wants to be piecing or quilting and having their thread break or cause tension issues. Good quality thread like Gütermann is much less likely to cause issues with your piecing and will withstand the test of time, leaving your project looking great for years to come. For the piecing of this project, I’m using Gütermann 50wt cotton thread.
Notion 3 – Small, sharp scissors
Before sewing the fabric blocks together, clip the “valley” curves on two sides of the block. To do this, use very sharp scissors, and smaller ones are easier to manage. We only want to clip into the seam allowance of the curve about ⅛”, so our ¼” seam will hide the clips. My 5″ OLFA Stainless Steel Serrated Edge Scissors are great for this job!
Notion 4 – Sharp, good quality pins
After clipping the seam allowances pin two blocks right sides together, so that the “valley” of one block matches up with the “hill” of the next block. The pin will go through the marks made yesterday at each corner of the block through the template. The pin should come out where the mark is on the back of the fabric. Nice sharp pins like my KLASSE´ Glass Head Pins will pass through the fabric smoothly and won’t snag. They’re also heat resistant (so you can iron over them with no worry about melting the head – love this feature!) and they’re super strong, so they resist bending.
Sewing the curved seams
Now that the blocks are clipped and pinned, we can start sewing!! If you have the needle down function on your sewing machine, make sure you turn it on. If you aren’t sure if you have it, look for this button:
This button ensures that every time the machine is stopped, the needle stops in the fabric. This helps prevent the fabric from slipping out of position if you stop to adjust things as you’re sewing the seam. I always use this button when I’m sewing with my Brother NQ900 sewing machine.
Start sewing from one side to the other along the curved edge. Make sure the block with the “hill” is on the bottom and the block with the “valley” is on the top. As you sew along the edge, pull the top fabric over, so the clipped edge is even with the block on the bottom. Go slowly, stop when needed (your needle down function will prevent the fabric from shifting), readjust and then keep sewing until you get to the other side.
Now, we just need to sew all these blocks into rows! Curved piecing is not a fast job and sometimes it can get a little stressful, so as you’re sewing all these rows together, make sure to take regular breaks – I promise we’ll have some easy straight sewing later in the week. Join me tomorrow.
This is part 2 of 5 in this series
Go back to part 1: 8 essential tips for rotary cutting curved templates
Go to part 3: 6 key steps for an easy curved border