Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Sewing curves is not hard - Seriously


I came home from work today and opened my Google Reader to see that a friend was having trouble sewing Drunkard's Path Curves. So I was compelled to make a real video and post it on Youtube. I enlisted my youngest son to be cameraperson and also technical advisor.

This video was made in one take (since all he did was  pause the video game he was playing) - there was no time to practice, set up, rehearse, or write a script. The video is 1:18 minutes. It shows you exactly what I do in exactly the time it takes. The only editing was to add the title screen at the front via iMovie and then we uploaded it to Youtube.

Drunkard's Path unit after pressing
Here is the unit from the video, after I pressed it. I did not invent this approach but maybe it will help you to see that I can do it, and I am not a quilting superstar or pro or anything but a still relatively new quilter.

Here are the tricks to sewing Drunkard's path curves:

1. Remember that the two fabrics need to meet only at the point of the needle.

2. In the video, I mention that I am lining the pieces with my 1/4" foot because I have one that I use for piecing. But you don't need a 1/4" foot, just line the pieces with the spot on your usual piecing foot where you usually line up the fabric to piece with a 1/4" seam. The point is to have the pieces lined up at the 1/4" mark as they go under the foot. Then they will be at that spot when they get to the needle because the foot will hold them in place as the feed dogs move the fabric forward.

3. Don't pull hard on either of the fabric pieces, they will stretch if you do because you have cut curves which are therefore cut on the bias of the fabric.

4. Keep the top piece up while you are sewing, like in the video.

5. Sew relatively slowly, but it is not a slow process.

6. When you iron the unit, press the wrong side first and press the seam allowance from the L shape side to the curve shape side (toward the the orange side on this one) gently, then turn and press the front toward the curve shape (orange part).

That's it.

More butterfly blocks

Here is one of the blocks I have been working on again so you can see the curves, all nicely pressed. No curve was pinned and not one was ripped out. I did trim the quarter circle units down to size for this butterfly block. This block was inspired by Megan at Canoe Ridge Creations tutorial which is here.

You too can sew curves easily, without pins or special stuff. Seriously. You can.

Let me know how you do.

Best,

Leanne
ps. I will edit this post as people point out things that are not covered or that don't make sense.


81 comments:

My Sweet Prairie said...

aahh! It IS hard! (for me) I tried and failed and tried and failed again. I LOVE that block SO much. sigh. I will watch your video as soon as I get all these kids to bed.
THANK YOU - I hope I get it!
: )
~Monika

Shevvy said...

Oooh! No pins, I don't know if I could risk that. I can get them to go with pins but it is time consuming. Hmm, one day I might be brave and give it a go.

fiberchick said...

Great tutorial... Love that block!

Heather D. said...

Wowza, that looks so easy!!!! Thanks for the great video. I really need to get me a 1/4" foot.

Poppyprint said...

Way to go! I loved your butterfly blocks when they showed up on flickr. Beautiful!

**nicke... said...

you make it look soooo easy! i am pinning this!

Joan said...

wow, that is an amazing technique. I love drunkard's path and am going to try doing it your way!

Debbie said...

You DO make it look easy! Great technique - thanks much!

Terri said...

Great video!

Nicky said...

I will need to have a go at this! Is so want to do the DP block

Judith, Belfast said...

Great idea to leave a video L! I'm not a fan of sewing curves but always love the end results! Love seeing that block - stunning! Jxo

Sarah said...

Wow Leanne thank you SOOOO much this is a fab way of doing it and totally makes sense, I can't wait to try tonight when I get in from work. I really appreciate you helping me out :-)) such a nice thing to do xx

Fiona said...

What a lovely post! And a great tutorial!

Manda said...

Great video, you make it look easy!

Sarah said...

Lovely post, and boy do you make it look easy!!

diana said...

I don't have problems sewing the drunkard but I found you on FairyFace and decided to check out the video.

It's great! I will surely try it, the idea of keeping the upper side lifted is brilliant!

Annabella said...

So glad you did this as people are afraid of the DP block and they shouldn`t be. Love the video and good to hear your voice...loving your tweezer tip as I always struggle with the last centimeter!

Teje said...

Thank you Leanne for the video! I didn't try yet but this was very helpful! x Teje

Anonymous said...

Wow, thanks! That Terrain block is lovely too!

Flying Blind... said...

I have mastered the final inch flip method, but this looks superb too - definitely going to give it a go xxx

A.J. Dub. said...

Awesome video! Now I feel like I can try this. Thanks!

Lynz said...

Wow! That is bloody amazing!! And it's really nice to hear your voice, it's got a really soothing timbre.

Quilter in the Gap said...

You make it look so very easy. I will save this for when I decide to do some curved piecing. Hmmm do I have a UFO with curved piecing...I can't even remember!

Marg said...

Thanks Leanne for a really great video. After seeing your gorgeous butterfly blocks I've been really wanting to try them. As soon as I get back home I'm going to have a go.
Love hearing your voice too.

Karen said...

Awesome! Trying this now for sure. Your son did a great job producing this as well :)

Alisa said...

THanks for the video!

Leanne said...
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Anne-Marie said...

Well you make that look easy, I will try give it a try, I had written off piecing curves for a while ( my first attempt caused me more stress than sewing should =P

Marci Girl said...

First off you have a lovely voice and it was so nice to hear it! What a great video, and it seems so simple! I really want to make a drunkard's path now! Awesome Leanne! Tell you son thanks too!

Unknown said...

What a fantastic way to do this! You make this look easy. I can't wait to try it.

DKB said...

well, you sure did make that look easy- makes me want to try it
thanks

Leila said...

I love this block!!!!

Kath Garvey said...

Thank you for a great video. I have had pile of Drunkards bath blocks waiting forever to be pieced.I will definately try your method tomorrow.

Chelsea said...

Great video! This makes so much more sense than lots and lots of pins.

Kritta22 said...

well that is easy!!

Does your foot have a lip to keep your fabric at 1/4 inch or are you just that awesome to keep the fabric in one spot??

Heidi @ Buttons and Butterflies said...

Just found this...I am about to conquer the drunkard, and this made sewing a curve simple. I have been hit or miss in the past, so I hope it is more hit from here on out!

Toccoa Kate said...

Fantastic!! I can't wait to do it! Showing me how via video is exactly what I needed! Thank you so very much - you are a life-saver!

Kris from DukeSaysSewWhat said...

i've never tried a curve on the machine, but your tutorial makes me want to give it a go! New follower here...

Nicole said...

WOW, Leanne! I wouldn't have believed it unless I saw it. No pins! Thanks so much for doing this video. I just discovered it. I'm going to give this a try.

Erin @ Why Not Sew? Quilts said...

Thanks for the wonderful video!

Pam L. said...

Thanks for a fabulous video. Short, to the point, clear, great camera work. I came over from The Quilting Edge blog. I will go attack a curve right now!
Pam
London, ON

thedodds said...

Amazing! Thank you for posting x

thedodds said...

Amazing, thank you so much for posting! x

Melissa said...

Super helpful post, I sewed my curves pretty easily. Wish I would have tried this before I spent 30 bucks on a "special" foot. Thank you!

sheila 77 said...

Thanks for taking the trouble to post this video. I was thinking about doing some curved patchwork on a round robin piece I have, but didn't feel adventurous enough. I'll certainly try it now.

Sally said...

Thanks so much for this video! It saved me buying the Curve Master foot, when I didn't really have the "extra" money. This definitely worked for me. I just finished sewing a whole stack of these blocks for a Retro Flowers Quilt!

Delores H. said...

Just the video I've been looking for. Working on the Craftsy BOM and doing curved seams. I've heard of this method before and wanted to try it. Holding the top piece up is the key to this method. Thanks for your help. As someone else commented earlier, you do have a soothing voice that's easy to listen too.

Sheila said...

Great video which I should have watched before starting Mod Pop, onwards and upwards.

Poppy said...

Thank you! Now I must try curves, it looks so easy!!

Cindy said...

You. Are. Amazing.
I'm going to give it a try right now with two blocks I've been avoiding just b/c they're curved. Thank you!!!

CarolaD said...

Thank you! Thank! Thank you, Leanne! Your simple video tutorial on sewing curves was so very helpful! I did not have the first clue on how to sew curves. I fell in love with a tessellating butterfly pattern, and I individually traced and cut out 126 curved pieces (9 per block X 12 blocks, plus a few spares) and then realized that I didn't know how to sew them together!

I have 9 out of 12 blocks done now thanks to you! :)
Carola D

Carola.Dovbniak@gmail.com

carolasquilting.blogspot.com

Sigrun said...

It works! Thank you so much. Now I am well on my way with my ModPop! Hurray! Thanks again :-)

Sarah said...

I totally ruined a quilt with curves, not having a clue what I was doing. That quilt is on my bucket list, I must conquer that pattern! Now, thanks to you, I finally feel like I might be able to attempt it with practice. (And my mom will finally get her long awaited quilt!!)

jodydeschenes said...

interesting, i just learned curves but i put the outer curve on top - also start out with pins in the middle and both ends. but i was amazed out how easy it was. of course these were 6" circles, so rather gentle. i did do a Snowdrop for a bee block once, and struggled with that one for sure. i think the larger curve helps a lot. but i should go back and see whether i can do a smaller one, now that i "kind of" know the technique. anyway, a week ago i was terrified, and now i think i have a curved block quilt in my future (:

Wench said...

Wow! That makes excellent sense! I am no longer afraid of curves and will proceed bravely the next time I start working on a curvy pattern. Thank you very much for posting this video!

Dana - Old Red Barn Co. said...

Thank you so much for this wonderful video!! Makes it so easy!!!!

Camilla said...

OH Yeah! Just tried this and even my first try is SO much better than my pinned effort! I have read stuff that says the concave piece should be on top, but your way worked better for me. Thanks!

JaneB said...

Cool video! The only thing I do differently because I learned it in a class is to put in one pin at the very end with the pin point facing in toward the piece and taking two tiny bites of the fabric right on the sewing line, then swing the curved piece up to start the sewing. My fingers on my left hand are between the two pieces guiding the bottom piece and my right had guides the curve, just as you show. Having the end pinned means I don't stop, I just guide it under and then put one finger on the pin as the piece goes under the needle so that the pin slides out as I sew.

Gene Black said...

I have avoided "planned curves" like Drunkard's Path because I never get them to look right. However, this is very similar to how I sew free cut curves. I will have to try it. Thanks.

Marci Girl said...

I actually just used your method for the first time and it works SO WELL! Thanks Leanne, my days with pinning curves are over! It took a few tries to really get the hang of it, but once you do, wow, so easy. Thanks!

liz said...

THANK YOU! You make it look easy and I will give it a try!

liz said...

THANK YOU! You make it look easy and I will give it a try!

OPQuilt said...

How'd I miss this one? Fabulous!

wiljee said...
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wiljee said...

I do the same thing, putting a pin at the end means no stopping and fiddling with a stiletto. I made my first DP and thought it was going to be tough but it was very easy and quick with just the one pin. I have also made a Deco Fan that was easy and enjoyable (quilting is supposed to be a pleasurable pastime after all). My big challenge is going to be a Winding Ways, I've done a couple of samples that are OK but could be better - I eliminated one seam from the centre and it works much better that way..

wiljee said...

I bought a Curvemaster foot but only used it once, I found curves to be quite easy and enjoyable without the special foot, I wish I'd saved the money as well..

Stacey said...

Thank you so much for this tutorial! With your video, I went from complete fear of curves to sewing an entire quilt top made of drunkards path blocks in literally a couple of days! It is the most helpful tutorial on curves I've seen.

Lisa J. said...

Hi Leanne: I'm working on a pieced melon quilt right now. This method works better for me than the pin in the middle method. I have a question around ironing though. My quilt has a dark grey background and lighter colour melons. Would you still iron into the melons or iron out to the darker fabric?

Jolanda said...

Genius!! I tried it today and it works in a great way. Thank you so much for this tutorial.

Marly said...

Thanks for the tutorial. I just made my first 2 DP blocks on the machine: the first by another method with pins and the long piece on top, and then by yours. You win! Both turned out OK, but yours was faster, and more relaxed. It's brilliant!

Kelsey Boes said...

This worked so perfectly!! I just sewed my first curves tonight, and it was so smooth and simple. Thank you so very much.

Mrs Quinn said...

Just worked up the nerve yesterday and it worked beautifully using your method. No pins, no glue. Thank you thank you!

Fran Hopkins said...

Many thanks as I just couldn't work out how to get the edges to follow each other....phew.

Fran Hopkins said...

Many thanks as I just couldn't work out how to get the edges to follow each other....phew.

SIMPLESEW said...

Thank you Leanne for the video!

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

Great article! It is awesome to watch your quilting Journey. Lovely video, and the quilt looks great! We did an article on Drunkard’s Path Piecing and like you said the key is taking it slow and easy and using a stiletto to help move the fabric under the needle. Check out our blog post www.quiltingfocus.com/2015/06/drunkards-path-piecing/
Happy Quilting! - Quilting Focus

Cut&Alter said...

Wow - I went straight down stairs to my studio and tried this. It worked!!!! I am so happy because I have always loved drunkard's path blocks but hated the thought of all that pinning. My practice piece was with some fabric from the scrap bin which weren't even the same weight and it still worked. Thank you for making and sharing this video it truly has taken the mystique out of curved piecing!

Grace M said...

Thank you, Thank you, Thank you! Most awesome technique and video!

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Judee said...

thanks but I'M PINNING! I've seen many videos on the curve sewing but it never works out for me. I do best with pins.