Each month, learn a fun trick or tip to make your quilting easier and more polished! This month, learn to sew perfect curved seams. It’s the perfect way to add motion to your quilt!
1. Joining pieces with curved edges presents challenges. Cutting a small notch in the center of a curved edge makes it easier.
2. 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.
3. 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.
TIP: 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).
4. Press the seam allowance toward the piece that has the inner (concave) curve.
Fabric: Urban Zoologie by Ann Kelle for Robert Kaufman Fabrics
Project design: Erica Jackman
Quick-to-sew soft little critters make perfect playmates for baby. These two softies (along with six others) are easy to make from a fabric panel. This project is courtesy of our sewing blog, howtosew.com. Visit daily for new sewing projects and easy home decor.
Here’s the whole panel. It’s about 22×44″.
The materials given are for eight animal softies. Instructions are for making one.
- One panel (makes 8 animal softies)
- 8—9″ squares assorted prints or 2–18×22″ pieces (fat quarters) for backing
- Polyester fiberfill
- Water-soluble marking pen
- Chopstick (optional)
Finished hippo: about 8×4″
Measurements include 1/4″ seam allowances.
Sew with right sides together unless otherwise stated.
Assemble the Softie:
1. Cut out animal print along printed border. With a water-soluble marking pen, draw a line around animal shape about 1/2″ from outer edges.
2. With wrong sides together, layer and pin marked animal print and 9″ backing square. Cut out layers on marked line.
3. Pin cut shapes with right sides together (printed sides). Using a water-soluble marker, mark a 2″ opening along one edge of animal shape.
4. Using a 1/4″ seam allowance, sew around shape, leaving marked opening free.
5. Turn right side out. Stuff hippo shape with fiberfill, using a chopstick to pack filling into small areas.
TIP: Using small “tufts” of polyester makes a smoother finished stuffed softie.
6. Fold unstitched seam allowances to inside; pin in place. Using a needle and thread, stitch opening closed to complete animal softie.
Once a month, we highlight our favorite free quilt and sewing patterns around the web!
We love solids. And blues. And that interesting piecing. Basically, we love this quilt! Use your Sizzix die cutting machine or try some freeform cutting. This is the perfect end-of-summer project!
Sliced Citrus Party Tags by Camelot Fabrics
These cute felt tags make us want to throw a citrus party right now! They’re so simple and will really add a special touch to drinks or gifts.
Gemstone Paper Pieced Pillow by Jennifer Sampou
This pillow looks like beautiful stained glass! And it’s the perfect way to clean out some of your scraps.
Each month, learn a fun trick or tip to make your quilting easier and more polished! This month, learn to add mitered borders to your next project! This is a great technique for when you want a standout print to match up at the corners.
1. Determine the yardage and measurement for your border strips.The yardage needed depends on the pattern repeat of the border print across the width of the fabric, the pattern repeat of the border print along the length of the fabric, and where the border strips will join. Cut the two side border strips first from the same lengthwise repeat of the border print, selecting a motif to be at their centers.
2. Fold each side border strip in half crosswise and press lightly to mark the center. Fold the assembled quilt center in half and press lightly to mark the center of the side edges.To ensure accuracy when pinning border strips to the quilt top, measure the length of the quilt center on each side. Divide the quilt center’s length by 2, and measure this amount in both directions from the center crease on the border strip. Make a mark at each measured point, which should correspond to the quilt center corner. With right sides together and centers and corner marks aligned, pin a side border strip to one side edge of the quilt center, allowing the excess border strip to extend beyond the corner edges. Sew together, beginning and ending 1/4″ from the quilt center’s corners.
3. Fold the border strip corners back at 45º angles as if to miter.
4. Cut the top and bottom border strips from the same lengthwise repeat of the border print, selecting the same motif used at the center of the side border strips for the centers of the top and bottom border strips.
5. Lay the quilt center with its attached side border strips right side up on a work surface. Align the centers of the top border strip and upper edge of the quilt center, allowing the excess top border strip to extend under the side border strips.
6. Make a pleat at the center of the top border strip and pull the border strip fabric into the pleat until the desired motif appears at a corner. Pleat an equal amount of fabric from each side of center on the top border strip.
7. Fold the pleat to the wrong side of the top border strip and pin. The pleat should align with the marked midpoint on the top edge of the quilt center.
8. Pin the border strips with right sides together at the corners.
9. Sew the pleat along the fold lines. Trim the seam allowance to 1/4″ and press open.
10. NOTE: different fabric used to demonstrate for the next steps for easier viewing. With the wrong side up, overlap the border strips at one corner. Align the edge of a 90º right triangle with the raw edge of the top border strip so the long edge of the triangle intersects the seam in the corner. With a pencil, draw along the edge of the triangle between the border seam and the raw edge.
11. Place the bottom border strip on top and repeat the marking process.
12. With the right sides of adjacent border strips together, match the marked seam lines and pin.
13. Beginning with a backstitch at the inside corner, stitch exactly on the marked lines to the outside edges of the border strips. Check the right side of the corner to see that it lies flat.
14. Trim the excess fabric, leaving a 1/4” seam allowance.
15. Press the seam open.
16. Repeat steps 5–9 to add the bottom border strip.
17. Repeat steps 10–15 to mark and sew the remaining border corners in the same manner.
Fabrics: Mixed Bag collection by Studio M for Moda Fabrics
Here’s a place mat that’s so easy you’ll be eager to sew a set of four! This quilt-as-you-go project means that when the top is done, so is the quilting! Add binding and you’ve completed a pretty place mat! This project is courtesy of our sewing blog, howtosew.com. Visit daily for new sewing projects and easy home decor.
Want to see it? Watch the video for our quilt-as-you-go place mat here.
Materials for one place mat:
- 18×21″ piece (fat quarter) print for place mat backing
- 9 assorted print 2-1/2×14″ strips for place mat top
- 1/4 yard dot or print for place mat binding
- 14×20″ piece thin quilt batting
- Quilt basting spray (optional)
- Water-soluble marking pen
Finished place mat: 18×12″
Sew this project with 1/4″ seams. Sew with right sides together unless otherwise stated.
Yardages and cutting instructions are based on 42″ of usable fabric width.
Cut the Fabrics:
From backing fabric, cut:
- 1—14×20″ rectangle
From binding fabric, cut:
- 2—2-1/2×42″ strips
Assemble (and Quilt) the Place Mat:
1. Lay backing fabric rectangle on work surface with right side down.
2. Place thin quilt batting piece on top. (If desired, use quilt-basting spray to secure the layers together.)
3. Using a water-soluble marking pen, mark a line 2-1/2″ from left short edge.
4. Align a print 2-1/2×14″ strip, right side up, between the left short edge and the drawn line.
5. Place a second print 2-1/2×14″ strip, right side down, atop the first strip.
6. Sew together along one edge through all layers.
TIP: Use a walking foot attachment on your machine during the construction to avoid puckers on the placemat front and back. With a walking foot, all layers of fabric move through machine at the same speed.
7. Finger-press the top strip open.
8. Continue adding assorted print strips in same manner, one at a time, finger pressing each open, until all nine strips have been added.
9. Finger-press ninth strip open. Press unit flat.
10. Centering strips, trim unit to make an 18×12″ place mat top.
11. Machine baste around outer edges of place mat top about 1/8″ from cut edges.
12. To bind and finish the edges of place mat use 2-1/2×42″ binding strips.