Category Archives: Tutorial

Tutorial – hand-piecing curves on scrap quilts

When I work a scrap quilt, I take each piece as it comes, rather than smoothing out to straight edges. Which means I need to manage hand-piecing curves and odd angles as and when they appear …. and without the benefit of a template, this can get complicated.

This tutorial does exactly what is says on the tin … takes you through my method of hand-piecing curves & tricksy bits without needing to bother with drawing up paper templates. (You can do this, but it is a rather cumbersome method).

So … step by step …

First, lay the two pieces to be joined, one over the other. If you’ve got a piece with a seam on it already, lay it on the top, otherwise clip curves and press back the top piece to make a smooth edge.

Using the top piece as a guide, use a trick marker (or tailors chalk, depending on your preference) to mark the seam line on the bottom piece of fabric. I prefer a trick marker to tailors chalk, because you get a clearer line. This one fades over time, and I’ve not had a problem with it coming out …. that said, do test on your fabrics first.

Once you’ve marked the fabric, slide it out and clip the curves up to the line you’ve drawn ….

and press the seam in ….

just double check that your curves line up against one another before you finally commit … make any adjustments as necessary …

line up the two edges, right sides together, and secure with a pin ….

slip-stitch the two edges together …. move the pin along to keep the edges lined up as you – it helps stop everything moving around as you stitch it all together.

Flip everything the right way over and press …. I tend to use the iron on a low setting to take into account the different types of fabric, and because you will be repeatedly ironing as you piece, and you don’t want to risk scorching any of it.

Flip it over and press the seams flat ….

et voila …. curves, done.

If you have particularly fiddly or small shapes, I’d recommend basting around the pressed curves before stitching the seams.

And that’s all there is to it!


Hopefully, I’ll be able to show you the finished quilt next week.

Summer Shirt-Dress

It’s simple, it’s classic, and it looks fab …. man’s shirt to girl’s summer dress:

No pattern needed for this quick refashion for a pre-teen!

1) Remove collar and sleeves

2) Cut the neck shape – I’ve gone for a simple square neck, round at the back. The shirt gets turned back-to-front, so that the buttons are down the back rather than down the front.

3) Sew the buttons up at the back – you can either go from hem to top, or you can leave a button or two hemmed to make it easier to get on and off, depending on how big you made the neckline.

4)  Use the sleeves to make a yoke for the neckline – cut the shape to match your chosen neckline, interface with fusible web. Then, match right side to right side, and hem as close to the edge as possible. Clip corners and curves, then turn the yoke to the inside of the shirt. Press flat, and then hem over the top to hold everything in place. NB: If you left button openings, you’ll need to adjust your yoke at the back accordingly.

4) Use leftover sleeve fabric  to make bias tape (or optionally, use bias tape or ribbon for contrast) and use to finish the sleeves.

5) Run three rows of shirring (with elastic bobbin thread) just below the chest to gather the dress.

Et voila … piece-of-cake style, and summer coolness for your lovely girl 🙂