In the quilting world, sewing curves can be a little intimidating. I’ve been spending a lot of time trying to perfect my curve sewing and I’m here to share some things I’ve learned along the way.
With curves you spend 90% of your time prepping to sew and only 10% of your time sewing. I promise you all the prep time is totally worth all the effort.
The biggest key to dealing with curves is being super gentle with your fabric. The curved pieces can easily get stretched out and then piecing them together will even more tricky. While cutting your curve if you missed a few little spots DO NOT pull them. Ask me how I learned that?
For this project I’m using curve templates by Jen Carlton Bailly . These templates give me the perfect curves that fit together every time.
There are 3 main points on a curve that you will want to match up, both ends and the middle. Everything in-between can be eased to make these points line up. However, if you are dealing with a really big curve you may want to mark other key points to line those up too. I mark the centre by folding the pieces in half and giving them a press.
I know many people like to pin their curves, which works but I always end up poking myself. I like to use a glue-stick! Any washable glue-stick that you may find in the school supply section works. I like using the small ones but any size will do. Add a line of glue in the 1/4” seam allowance. I apply the glue to the convex piece and then ease the concave piece on top. Use short light strokes so you do don’t stretch out the curve.
All the prep work is done and it is time to move to the machine!
I’m sewing on my Janome M7 Continental but many of these steps can be done on most Janome sewing machines.
Sewing curves is all about the precision so I love using my HP plate and my HP foot. If you don’t have these use your straight stitch plate and a 1/4” piecing foot. I love my HP foot for curve piecing because it has great visibility AND it gives you the perfect scant 1/4”.
When sewing curves I like to shorten my stitch length and keep it 1.8 and I turn the pivot function on. On the Continental M7 I use the quilt piecing setting and you can see the yellow pivot button highlighted in the photo below. The pivot function has your needle down and presser foot up every time you stop sewing. This allows for fine adjustments as you are sewing around the curve.
When sewing I have the convex (peach) piece on the bottom. I find this lets me ease the extra fabric of the concave piece on top easier. Go nice and slow and readjust often.
Once sewn together I press the seam allowance towards the convex piece then flip it over and give it a press from the front.