Tag 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.

Grandmothers Flower Garden

Although the ‘elemental quilt‘ is calling me to finish it, and I have been working the embroidery in my quiet moments, I enjoyed the first installment of my block project so much that I’ve launched straight into the next quilt block.

Still working with the very simple blocks at the beginning of the book, so it’s a traditional and straightforward ‘Grandmother’s Flower Garden’ hexagon block.

It’s pretty straightforward to draft – if you don’t have a hexagon template, then you can use a set of compasses (the geometrical kind rather than the navigational kind 😉 to create your hexagons. This little WIKI shows you how it’s done … because I had a pretty small block – it’s going to be another 30cm x 30cm cushion cover – I drafted the whole thing, resting on a cutting mat to secure the point of the compasses. The one thing you need to remember if you’re doing this is that ALL your circles MUST intersect through each of the points, otherwise you’re going to end up with wonky hexagons (which is really not a good look). When you’re finished, each hexagon will have a little flower shape in its centre … I had to really fight myself to stick to the brief and not piece based on the flowers! (That will doubtless be another project, later 😉

You have two options for the edges – you can either go all the way to the edge, and have the cut-off hexagon shapes around the edge as I have done, or you can stop at the outermost ring of complete hexagons and applique the finished piece onto a backing.

I’m still feeling warm with my colour choices at the moment, but these are a bit more muted than the last block, predominantly creams and golds, with coppery and red accents … these are all pieces of fabric that I had on hand, reclaimed and recycled.

Cut out your hexagon shapes, pin on the fabric, and cut the fabric, leaving approximately 1/2 – 1 cm seam allowance, depending on how thick the fabric is and how much it will fray. Fold it around the paper, remembering to do the nice mitreing in the corner …

And then sew the basted pieces right side together, with an overcast. The overcast wants to be pretty small, around 12 stitches to the inch ….

And keep on going, round and round … because it’s quite a simple block, it comes together quickly …. This block is a bit heavier than the last one, which was mostly light cottons and silks – here I’m using heavier curtain fabric, which I think works well with the bolder block pattern.

I am seriously loving the combination of colours and textures here!  I should have this finished up pretty soon ….

What’s your latest block? Do share ……