Star Gazer QAL – Week Two Sewing Curves

Posted by on Feb 25, 2013 in Blog

Hello! I hope everyone had a fun week cutting out fabric and figuring out your layout because now we are on to the fun stuff: sewing curves.

Sewing curves doesn’t have to be scary, especially when you know some tricks. Here is a list of things that will help me when I sew curves:

1. Shorten the stitch length.

2. Pin, pin, pin, and pin.

3. Use a spray starch when ironing your fabric.

4. Sew slowly.

5. Be gentle with the fabric as your sew the curves.

6. Press the wrong side of the block first.

But, regardless of the tricks, sometimes the fabric you are using can make a difference. Last week, I got an email from a friend who was starting her Star Gazer quilt ahead of the QAL. She was having a really tough time getting her pieces to lay flat. After trouble shooting with some of the suggestions above, I pulled some scrap some Windham fabric and some Kona sold from my stash and sewed part of a block. I started to sewing the curve from the center, sewing one half then the second half.  Using this method, I didn’t even bother to pin my pieces. My piecing turned out perfect, nary a pucker in sight.

Then, it was time for me to start sewing my Star Gazer with Birch’s fabric. Using the same, no pin, sew from the center method, this is what my block looked like. Not good. Not good at all.

Since all of the fabrics I used are high quality and I didn’t do anything differently, my theory is that maybe the thickness of the fabric threads might have something to do with how it handles the curves. I have no scientific basis for this theory, but that is my hunch. My suggestion is to try making a block. Hopefully you won’t have any problems, but if you do, this is what worked for me.

First, I tried using spray starch on my pieces and that helped, but not significantly. My next step was to pin, a lot. Pinning made all the difference and my blocks finally started looking really good. The only problem is pinning each side of the block really takes a lot of time. It slowed me down but the results were worth it. Below is a picture of one of my block sides and a lot of pins.

I also found that pressing the wrong side of the block first helped set the curves in place.

After sewing and pressing my blocks, I squared them up to 7 1/2″ x 7 1/2″.  Here is my block before squaring up.

And here is a picture of the block after it is squared up.

Now, all of my blocks are finished and I need to get to work on finalizing the layout and sewing up the quilt top, which we will talk more about next week. I really hope this post helps. Please feel free to leave a comment or email me if you are having any issues. And for all of you QuiltCon folk, I hope you had an awesome weekend.




1 Comment

  1. I love that fox fabric. Thanks for helping your “friend” through this and I’m so glad you could share these tips with everyone else making the blocks!

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