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Easy Methods to Piecing Curves // Retro Rubies QAL


Last year we began our curves adventure here at Pile O’ Fabric with the Totally Groovy QAL, and I am challenging you to work on your curves again! This year with the Retro Rubies QAL I am going to show you three methods for piecing curves. These are not the only methods out there, but i’d love for you to give them a try.

Using Pins // Method #1

pins-steps-1-4
  • Step 1: Fold the inner convex and outer concave curves in half and finger press on halfway mark.
  • Step 2: Flip the outer concave curve, like a U shape, right sides together with the inner convex curve. Line up the center folds and pin the pieces together.
  • Step 3: Gently wrap one of the outer concave curve ends and line it up with the edge of the inner convex curve. Pin in place. Repeat this for the other outer concave curve end. You should now have three pins in place.
  • Step 4: Continue adding pins between the three initial pins. Feel free to add as many as you are comfortable with.
pins-steps-5-8
  • Step 5: Setup your machine so that you can sew a perfect scant quarter inch seam allowance. Begin sewing, taking each pin out as you sew. If you come up to a pucker in the outer curve put your needle down, lift your presser foot and gently flatten the pucker out with your index finger. Put the presser foot back down and continue to sew.
  • Step 6: Be sure your seam allowance is a perfect scant ¼″ from start to finish.
  • Step 7: Press your seam outward toward the outer concave curve.
  • Step 8: Trim up the final block (directions for trimming below).

Using Glue // Method #2

glue-steps-1-4
  • Step 1: Fold the inner convex and outer concave curves in half and finger press on the halfway mark.
  • Step 2: Put a small dot of Elmer’s Washable School glue, within the seam allowance, directly on the center fold mark of the inner convex curve.
  • Step 3: Flip the outer concave curve, like a U, right sides together with the inner convex curve matching up the centerfolds. Press the two pieces together on the glue with your index finger. Take the pieces to a pressing table and heat set the glue with a hot dry iron.
  • Step 4: Gently fold the outer concave curve edge back and line it up with the inner convex curve edge. Glue it in place, then heat set it with a dry hot iron. Repeat for the other outer concave curve edge.
glue-steps-5-8
  • Step 5: You should have heat set all three spots on the curve.
  • Step 6: Gently press the two pieces together with your fingers, pinching and helping the curves fit together nicely. Begin sewing the pieces together with a scant ¼” seam allowance.
  • Step 7: If you come up to a pucker in the outer concave curve put your needle down, lift your presser foot and gently flatten the pucker out with your index finger. Put the presser foot back down and continue to sew.
  • Step 8: Press your seam outward toward the outer concave curve. Trim up the final block (directions for trimming below).

No Pins, No Glue, Free Hand // Method #3

free-hand-steps-1-4
  • Step 1: Take both pieces to your sewing machine. Lay the pieces out as shown in photo #1. The inner convex curve piece should be laid on the bottom left, with the curve towards you. The outer concave curve piece should be laid right sides together facing outward like and L. Only the top edge of the outer concave curve piece will be lined up with the inner convex curve piece at this point.
  • Step 2: Gently lay your left hand on the inner convex curve piece. Take the outer concave curve piece into your right hand lifting it up slightly. Begin sewing and gently curving the outer concave curve piece to match the inner convex curve as you sew. You want the two pieces to always line up with each other at the corner/edge of your presser foot. If you come up to a pucker in the outer concave curve put your needle down, lift your presser foot and gently flatten the pucker out with your index finger. Put the presser foot back down and continue to sew.
  • Step 3: When you reach the last ½″ to be sewn stop. Grab a pair of tweezers and line up the end of the outer concave curve piece with the inner convex curve piece and pinch. Tip: I like to pinch in the center so my tweezers will fit into the center of my presser foot and I can hold it longer. Continue sewing to the end.
  • Step 4: Press your seam outward toward the outer concave curve. Trim up the final block (directions for trimming below).

Trimming your Blocks

trimming-blocks
  • Step 1: Most curve blocks are designed to be trimmed before they’re used. The curves for the Retro Rubies, should be trimmed to 3.5″. After you have pressed your seam take the block to your cutting mat. Fold the curve in half finger pressing on the center fold.
  • Step 2: Using a ruler line up the 45 degree angle with the center fold of the curve. I have a 3.5″ ruler which is perfect for the Retro Rubies Blocks. Before you trim you will want to check to see if the ends of the outer concave curves are measuring properly. On the Retro Rubies blocks they should be ¼″. If they are too narrow or too wide you will have issues when matching up the curves with other blocks. If everything looks good then trim off any excess.

Other Curve Piecing Tutorials

There are some really great resources on the web for piecing curves, some are even from the Totally Groovy QAL last year.

I look forward to seeing what curves piecing method you prefer, feel free to share in the comments!
Alyssa

    Post Comments

  • Kris says...

    So far I have not had luck with the pinning or gluing but LOVE the FREE hand method. So far so good or knock on wood…I am loving these curves. :)

    On August 20, 2014

  • Annette Holbrook says...

    GREAT tutorial!! Thank you!! I am a new quilter and didn’t think I could attempt anything with a curvy pattern. Not only are your directions easy to follow, but you gave me THREE ways to try it! (I love options!) I look forward to attempting a this using your methods. :) Again, thanks!

    On August 20, 2014

  • Alyssa says...

    Im excited for you to give them a try, they are much easier than I had expected when I started.

    On August 20, 2014

  • S Nunes says...

    Thanks for the curves tutorial! I’ve always been shy about attempting patterns with them. I’m going to bookmark this for the great tips!

    On August 20, 2014

  • Martina says...

    Thank you for that great summary of the different curve sewing possibilities.

    A few months ago I sewed curves only with pins. But with the Retro rubies I have only pieced the curves free hand. This is really fast and as precise as with the pins. You can chain piece the curves without that time consuming pinning. I have never tried the other methods.

    On August 20, 2014

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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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