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Rolling Tides Improv Curves Tutorial // something New sampler


We are only into month two of the year and we have been learning SO much. There are so many great technique tutorials going around in blog land to help you all grow in your quilting skills. One of the fun events that has been in the works is the something New sampler held by Amy Gray.

There has been 7 blocks and 7 awesome technique tutorials from bloggers. Today Becky from myfabricobsession.blogspot.com and I will be sharing with you the final blocks of the quilt along series. Here is a list of all the tutorials so far:

Improv Pinless Curves

Today I will be teaching you how to make a Rolling Tides quilt block using an improv pinless curves technique. Lets begin!

Material List

  • (2) 5" x 16" pieces of background fabric (I used essex linen in natural)
  • (1) 4" x 16" piece of pieced patchwork pieced however you want as long as it is the correct size
  • Pencil or Marking Pen
  • 45mm or smaller Rotary Cutter
  • Ruler
  • Starch and Iron

Patchwork Preparation

Here is where the "improv" part comes in. For the patchwork section of the block, I am leaving you to be creative and piece it however you would like. I just pulled a bunch of scraps from my scrap bin that were similar widths and pieced them together until it was long enough, then I trimmed the piece down to 4" x 16". You could use squares, triangles, chevrons, herringbone, or you could even piece the patchwork with curviness like the overall block. Have fun with it!

  • Step 1: Get the three pieces ready. Your patchwork should already be pieced and trimmed to the proper size.
  • Step 2: Lay out the block with the patchwork in the center of the two background pieces.
  • Step 3: Take one of the background pieces and fold it in half lengthwise, with right sides together on the inside. Press the fold with your fingers to create a visible crease.
  • Step 4: Lay the background piece with the fold against the edge of the patchwork piece. Make sure the top and bottom edges of both pieces line up as well.
  • Step 5: Open your folded background piece. The RIGHT side of the patchwork AND the background fabric should be facing UP. The crease line should now lay directly on the edge of your patchwork piece.
  • Step 6: The space between the crease line and inner edge will be the "open" space we can mark our curve. Take a pencil or marking pen and carefully draw a flowing wavy line in that space. Be sure you do not cross over the folded crease line.
Tip: From experience making more than one of these blocks I learned smaller softer curves work much better than larger curves on such a small block.
  • Step 7: With a rotary cutter (45mm or smaller) carefully and slowly cut on your wavy line, cutting through the background fabric and patchwork.
  • Step 8: Disregard the smaller background piece and scraps from the patchwork. You should now have the patchwork and background pieces that fit together like puzzle pieces.

Tip: Usually at this point when sewing regular straight pieces you would just line up your edges and sew. With curves pretty much nothing lines up and it may feel very awkward at first, but don't worry.

  • Step 9:
  • Step 10: With the two corners lined up begin sewing with a scant ¼" seam. As you sew the two pieces will still be curving in opposite directions of each other. Grab the top piece with your left hand and the bottom piece with your right hand. DO NOT try to force them to line up. As you sew gently pull the top piece right and the bottom piece left so the pieces line up and meet at the edge of your presser foot. In image 10 you will see an arrow that is pointing to the spot at which the edges should meet and line up, you can also see the curves yet to come are NOT lined up.
  • Step 11: This is a slower process at first, sew about ½" - 1", stop, adjust and continue. It helps if you stop with your needle down and lift your presser foot, reposition a little, flatten any puckers, put your foot down, and begin to sew again. Take your time and do not rush. If you pull your top fabric to much things won't line up well, if you don't pull enough you will get lots of puckers and come up short. This will just take practice.
  • Step 12: When you reach the end, the top fabric will want to rear to the right. Since you are beginning to run out of fabric to hold, you may want to hold the pieces in place with a pair of tweezers. Once done sewing, gently press your seams outward toward the background fabric.
  • Step 13: Now repeat step 4 which says…Lay the background piece with the fold against the edge of you patchwork piece. Make sure the top and bottom edges of both pieces line up as well.
  • Step 14: Repeat step 5 which says…Open your folded background piece. The RIGHT side of the patchwork AND the background fabric should be facing UP. The crease line should now lay directly one the edge of your patchwork piece. Repeat step 6 which says… The space between the fold line and inner edge will be the "open" space we can mark our curve. Take a pencil or marking pen and carefully draw a flowing wavy line in that space. Be sure you do not cross over the folded crease line. Repeat step 7 which says…With a rotary cutter (45mm or smaller) carefully and slowly cut on your wavy line, cutting through the background fabric and patchwork. Repeat step 8 which says…Disregard the smaller background piece and scraps from the patchwork. You should now have the patchwork and background pieces that fit together like puzzle pieces.
  • Step 15: Repeat step 9 which says…Now flip your background piece horizontally so the RIGHT sides are touching each other. In the picture you will see I lined up the corner points of each piece (the pen is pointing to this), but you will see the bottom portion of the pieces are going in opposite directions of each other and are not lined up. Carefully take the two pieces over to your sewing machine. Sew the curve just as you did in steps 10, 11, and 12. Press your seam outward toward the background fabric. Lightly starch your whole block and press.
  • Step 16: Using a quilters ruler trim up your final block to 14.5" x 7.5". Thats it, you now have a Rolling Tides Quilt Block!

Now its time for you to get creative with your block, choose any patchwork and draw the curves however you like! You can even use this same technique on large projects. I recently made a table runner for the Sew Sew Modern swap and I used this technique making a block 18" x 36", with much longer curves. Be sure to stop by the something New sampler Flickr Group to share your quilt blocks!

Alyssa

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Alyssa Lichner from Pile O' Fabric

Welcome to the Pile O’ Fabric blog, my name is Alyssa Lichner, I live in sunny Gilbert, AZ. I am a freelance web and graphic designer turned avid sewist. I write modern quilting tutorials and share techniques and inspiration here at Pile O’ Fabric… Read More

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