Sunday, October 7, 2012

Sewing Curves - Let's do it!

Sewing curves is easy - there I have said it clearly, and I hope you will say that too soon.

My approach to sewing curves is captured in that 1:18 minute video. The original post, which sets out a number of tips is here - I am going to assume you will go and have a look.

Sewing Curves mosaic

When I was sewing my test Mod Pop blocks, I put together a set of photographs of the various steps as well - go here to take a look at the individual pictures.

Mod Pop QAL

Here are some additional tips:
  • Be careful not to stretch the pieces - they are cut on the bias and will stretch easily. 
  • Be patient, it might take you a few trials to get comfortable but I am very certain you will get it.
  • The most important part is to hold your top piece up and toward the presser foot as you go. You can put either piece on top, give both a try to see which way works best for you.
  • You can see that purple strip on my sewing machine, it is a bit of plastic that marks the 1/4" seam for me to follow. Masking tape or washi tape will also work. You might want to try it as it is a helpful way to keep things aligned - just stick it down at 1/4" from where your needle will sew.
  • On the Mod Pop blocks, the "L" shape is narrower than a traditional drunkards path unit, and takes just a bit more care to get to sew through the machine straight. If you are having a lot of trouble with the tweezers, try a stiletto (long pointy thing, I found something that worked in my husband's tool box). Just be very careful not to hit it with your needle as it will break or bend the needle. Picture 8 in the mosaic shows how you might use a stiletto. I don't use one regularly for curves but it might help some folks. 
  • There is room to trim the block a bit if it gets a little wonky. Press it first as that often will fix any issues. 
  • Press - don't iron - these blocks. Move the iron carefully toward the "pie" shape. The unit can stretch quite a lot until it is sewn into your block.
  • If you like you can clip the curves to make them lie nicer. I don't bother but it would only enhance your block if you did.
  • Remember that there is room within your seam allowance when piecing the units to compensate if the unit is a little wobbly on any edge.
Mod Pop QAL

As I have said before, I did not invent this method, it is just the way I do it after learning to sew garments and watching and learning from many internet quilters. Here are some other tutorials and videos, all of which I have found very helpful. Some have no pins, some have a few and some have lots of pins:

Kerry - Verykerryberry - pinless with a flip at the end.
Nova - a cuppa and a catch up - pin and pinless methods
Amy Friend - From Quiet Time - sewing gentle curves with 3 pins
Jacquie - Tallgrass Prairie Studio - quarter circles with many pins
Petite Design Company - pins and pinless curves

Now, if you are in the Mod Pop QAL - or want to join in now - it is time to sew the curves. As an incentive to get you over this hump in the Mod Pop QAL, one of our sponsors, Pink Castle Fabrics, has kindly donated that beautiful rainbow bundle of solid fat quarters as a prize. To be eligible to win you need to:
  • sew one or more of the large blocks - either with your fabrics or with test fabrics - of the Mod Pop quilt
  • post a picture in the flickr group, and if you like you can also share your tips, troubles and thoughts in the flickr discussions
I will draw the winner on Tuesday, October 16th from those who have posted their pictures - that should give you all lots of time. Once you get that first set of curves done and you see how easy they are to piece into your quilt, you will be away to the races - as my grandmother would have said.

One thing, as we get into the nitty gritty of piecing our Mod Pop quilts, lets all remember that this is a pattern that Julie from Distant Pickles has for sale - so please keep the measurements and instructions to yourselves so we can respect her rights too.

We have a couple more prizes from our other sponsors, Fluffy Sheep Quilting and Dragonfly Fabrics,  as we move along on Mod Pop QAL. Thank you to all our sponsors!

It is Thanksgiving weekend in Canada - I think I am going to make a pumpkin pie as our turkey dinner is postponed to next week when more of the family is around. I wish you all a lovely holiday weekend.




Liz DandeliondD said...

Brilliant blog post.
Thanks so much - I am just about to start on my Mod Pop and this is just what I need.
I love the colours of yours.

Ann @thequiltingcats said...

Oh Snap! Now I need to get moving! Just order the solids for the focal cuz I only had a fat quarter of each.

Cindy said...

Awesome awesome awesome. Just the kick I need to get going. I'll give it a try this week after work. I could imagine a nice pile of DP blocks at the end of the day would do the soul good.

Fab prizes too, Leanne!

Sarah said...

Brilliant :-) Really love your solids colours!

{Leila}Where the Orchids Grow said...

You make that look so easy Leanne!!

Gertie Pye said...

I love these Mod Pop blocks. I also love how different all the different versions I have seen on various blogs turn out. This tutorial is fantastic for those of us who are curve-phobic (me!). Happy Thanksgiving!

Catherine said...

Happy Canadian Thanksgiving: hope you all have a great get together next weekend. I have used your you tube video when I first needed to sew curves

Ramona said...

Thanks for another tutorial. I finally tried one curved block - it turned out a bit wonky and one side ended up a bit longer than the other, but practice should make perfect and actually it did lay pretty flat, so I was happy with that! There may be hope for me and curves yet!

elle said...

another great tutorial and the samples are excellent!

Mrs Flying Blind... said...

I have used longer the pointy end of my un-picker where you have used a stiletto - does the job xxx

Trudi said...

I better get a move on then! happy Canadian Thanks Giving Leanne!

Katy Cameron said...

Your video rocks, I asked all of Brit Bee to watch it before they did my Retro Flowers in August :o)

Debbie said...

You sure are an encourager! I watched the video again & was glad to 'hear' you say there's a bit of wiggle room in squaring up the blocks....Very nice incentive, those solids!!

MariQuilts said...

Lots of great info....I love that little video, it's so helpful.

Sheila said...

Another excellent post Leanne. Haven't made a lot more progress but have pieced a small pile of curved segments, and you are right - it gets easier and I am down to using just one pin.

Kelly said...

Great video and tute, I love the no pins method. I think that rainbow bundle might be an incentive for me to pull my finger out and get a block done ;-)