Monday, June 30, 2014

Sewing Curves and Piecing!

Are you ready for the dreaded curves! Ahhh...these curves are not worrisome at all.  The curves on the Flowering Snowball are very gentle and should come together very easily.

Before I begin sewing I attach my 1/4 inch foot and decrease my stitch length to 1.8 for piecing. 

  First, lets look at how your Flowering Snowball pieces will fit together...

I begin by sewing the Blue A/B template on both sides of the center square.  Of course, use a scant 1/4 inch seam allowance and piece with right sides facing.  A scant 1/4 inch is just a couple of threads shy of a true 1/4 inch.  A scant 1/4 inch is used to allow for the fold at the seam once the pieces have been pressed open.  I always use a quarter inch foot so there is no guessing about my seam allowance!

Once this unit is stitched, press seams away from the center square.  Press both seams in the same direction.  By pressing in this manner you will be able to easily butt up the seams when the time comes.  When I began quilting, this was the method always used...then pressing seams open became popular.  I think each method has it's own is just a matter of knowing when to use each one.

Now, it's time to add a C piece to both sides of the A/B piece...

This is where it gets curvy!  The Flowering Snowball has a very gentle curve so I am comfortable with using just two pins.

Because a curve is on the bias there is enough stretch to help you manipulate the fabric so the pieces come together nicely.

It is best to start with the (wrong side) concave piece facing you.  The concave piece is the one that looks like a our Flowering Snowball it is the A/B piece.  

I place a pin at the beginning and at the end.  You can actually do this without pins at all, but I just feel a little more comfortable with 2 pins. Again, right sides facing and you should be looking at the wrong side of the A/B piece.  
Start stitching with the needle down and take a few stitches to anchor your pieces.  

Then as you stitch, be sure to keep the raw edges lined up and just gently pull the curve to straighten it out a bit.  This will help to ease in any fullness.

You might want to use tweezers or a pin or a stiletto to hold the end of the seam. Repeat this on the other side of the A/B piece.

It's a good idea to get into the habit of finger pressing before you press with the iron.  This unit will be pressed with seams in toward the A/B template piece.  

I always flip my work over so the right side is facing me and give one final press into the seams.  This way I am sure to eliminate any ridge or channel at the seam. Those folded areas at the seam will really throw off your accuracy.

There are two of the units above.  Next, those units are added to the first piece we put together (with the center square).

Again, this is a larger curve but still a gentle curve.  The most important part will be matching up the center square seams.  It is a bit easier since we pressed the unit seams in opposite directions.

I match or butt the seams together in the center and pin.

I do not have the forked pins, although, I have heard they work very well.  And I do not glue baste, although, I have heard that works very well, too! It is just a personal preference.  

So match the center seams and then pin at the beginning of the curve and at the end.  Remember to stitch with the concave piece facing you.  

Using a 1/4 inch seam allowance, stitch just as you did the other curves.  If you find that the center seams did not match closely enough, try taking out a few stitches before the seam, on the seam and after the seam. Align the seams again and stitch.  Very often I find there is no need to take out the entire seam.  

Press the long curved seam toward the center.

There are a few YouTube videos on curved piecing. That you might want to view. 

Curves really aren't too bad and actually kind of fun to do! I love seeing all the blocks coming together on the Flickr page and on Instagram.  Remember, on Instagram use the hashtag #floweringsnowballalong!!!

The next installment will be July 14th. when we will put the blocks together...easy peasy!

happy monday!


  1. Your piecing is perfect Mary! This block is SO pretty! Thank you for sharing your expertise with us!

  2. great tips! Excited to join you... just waiting for my templates! :)

  3. Thanks for sharing the how to of this cute little block.

  4. Thanks for a wonderful tutorial. I'm kind of off quilting right now, but this is making me think!

  5. You make it look so easy Mary!!!

  6. Nice curves!!! Thanks for taking us through, step by step.

  7. Thanks for all the tips, just waiting on some templates, I can't wait to make a few blocks!

  8. You make it all sound so easy! I need to get a move on with this -I have a plan and got no further...