Designer Toby Lischko’s Follow the Curves quilt in the October 2011 issue of American Patchwork & Quilting is so stunning, it might tempt you to learn a new technique—curved seams!
Follow the steps below to sew a curved seam by machine. Also check out Toby’s blog for two different tutorials—tricks for sewing curves and tips for using the right tools when sewing curves. Finally, view a slideshow on AllPeopleQuilt.com to learn about sewing curved pieces by hand.
Curved shapes add gentle ease and a sense of motion to pieced designs, but joining pieces with curved edges presents challenges. Cutting a small notch in the center of a curved edge makes it easier. Typically with curved pieces you’ll be joining two separate shapes: a convex curve (a curve that bows outward) with a concave curve (a curve that bows inward).
With right sides together match the center notches of curved edges. Pin together at the center point, at seam ends, and liberally in between, gently easing the edges as needed to align.
Sew together the curved edges. Clip into the seam allowance of the edge that curves in (concave) as needed, but do not cut into or beyond the seam lines. Do not clip the convex edge. Some quilters prefer not to clip curved seams. Instead they use a longer stitch length and sew slowly which helps ease the fabric layers together (the center notch is still necessary).
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