Watch this video to learn the two secrets to easy curved piecing!

October 13, 2016


Hi, I'm Jennifer and today's Machine Minute is brought to you by Baby Lock and the Symphony machine. Curved piecing: Curves are more popular than ever, but for some quilters, they strike fear in their hearts because they can be a little bit challenging. I'm going to share with you a couple of tips and tricks to make putting this curve together smooth and easy. Now there are two rules to remember when you're working with curved piecing. One: pin. Pin more than you ever do. You might be pin averse or you might do no pin sewing in the rest of your quilting life, but for curve piecing, pins are essential. Second: sew slowly. This isn't a speed contest, and the more control you have as you're sewing, the better. To begin with, if it's your first curved piecing project, choose a curve that's more gentle than one that has a really sharp arc to it. But there are two parts to any curve. One is the inside curve or concave curve; the other is the outside curve or convex one. The first thing you do when you're sewing curves together is to fold your piece in half and just finger press so you create a little guide for yourself as to where the center of the piece is. Do the same thing on your concave piece, making sure that you align the edges and then finger press that center. And this is the part I think that always takes people by surprise when you line up those two points. It looks like you've missed the mark completely because your first pin is going to match those two curves, but what about this and this coming together? Well, that's where you start manipulating the fabric, and you know that these are bias edges so they do have some stretch, so you want to be careful how much you handle them. But your pin is going to go in at the outside edge of those two curves, and you'll match up your raw edges and place another pin along that edge. Repeat that for the opposite edge. And again you want to do as little handling of the fabric as you can, but you do have to do a little bit of fussing with it to get those edges to line up. So I've got three pins in and you can see I've sort of got these gaps where the curves still aren't together. So now, I like to work with the outside curve, or that convex curve, on top. And just sort of adjust those together, again finding a midpoint and placing a pin at that spot. And repeat that process for the outside or the opposite side and line those up. So no I've got five pins in. I really want to have about nine, so I'm going to do ahead and place another pin at the midpoint of each of those sections, and what I'll end up with is a piece that has a lot of pins in it, and you can see on this side, it's very smooth. On the opposite side, I've got lots of fabric I've got to deal with manipulating as I sew. So this is the part where you want to do to your machine and sew slowly. If you machine has an adjustment to slow down the speed, this is a great time to put it to use. I'm going to place my piece underneath the presser foot. I've got it set up to sew with a quarter inch seam using my presser foot as the guide. And I'm going to start sewing very slowly. I don't want to sew over a pin, but I do want to make sure I keep the pins in as long as I can and simply watch the fabric as it goes into the needle, making sure I smooth out any edges and avoid any puckers. And I'll continue sewing all the way around the piece, sewing slowly, removing the pins as I get to them until I make it all the way around the curve. Now this is a great time to put on some music and just relax and enjoy your sewing as you go along. What you'll end up with then when you're finished is something that looks like this on the back, a nice, smooth curve. You'll press it flat. There will be no puckers, and the front of your piece will have a perfect curve.