I started making quilts more than twenty years ago, and I’ve been making them with passion for about ten of those years. For that entire time, I’ve skillfully avoided pieced curves. It always seemed like sewing a straight seam and getting everything to match was challenging enough. But last month at the Cincinnati Modern Quilt Guild meeting, our education chairperson, Brooke, gave a talk on pieced curves (and reverse applique, both as ways to sew circles). More than just show us how, she issued a challenge for us to try either or both of the techniques and bring our work to the March meeting.
So this past weekend, I pieced my heart out. Brooke demonstrated the technique with templates and pieces that were probably about 5 and 6 inches wide. Once home, I decided to just pull a template from one of my books and found some that were 2.5 and 3.5 inches wide. That’s quite a bit smaller, it turns out.
I cut the pieces in blues and grays thinking that, if the piece turned out, I could make it into a pillow for our front room.
Next came the pinning. Just like every tutorial I’ve read, Brooke stressed the importance of pinning the pieces. With the concave (larger) piece on top, I placed seven pins around each tiny, tiny arc. I started in the center, pinned the sides, and then filled in the rest.
The little guys didn’t come close to laying flat. Which made them extra scary to sew. But like Brooke and all the written tutorials suggested, I sewed slowly around each one. And then I pressed the seam allowance to the concave side.
Watching the pieces flatten out as I was pressing them was like witnessing a miracle. Who would have thought that misshapen mass of pins and fabric would ever lay flat?
Obviously I have some perfecting to do—I’ve got some tucks in the concave pieces and my circles aren’t exactly round. But I’m pretty happy for it being my first try. And I do believe I’ll try it again, probably with larger pieces, just to see if that truly makes it easier, as I suspect it would.