IN THE KNOW

Straight lines are a quil­ter's nat­u­ral ter­ri­tory and veer­ing away from that can be daunt­ing. Luck­ily, Suzy Wil­liams is here with her top tips for glid­ing around curves in style

Love Patchwork & Quilting - - CONTENTS -

Straight lines are a quil­ter’s nat­u­ral ter­ri­tory and veer­ing away from that can be daunt­ing. Luck­ily, Suzy Wil­liams is here with her top tips for glid­ing around curves in style

Do you re­mem­ber learn­ing to ride a bike? In my case, I would have been quite con­tent to cruise around the neigh­bour­hood with my train­ing wheels still at­tached to my bike un­til my bags were packed for col­lege. My dad, on the other hand, would never have al­lowed it.

You see, I was blessed/cursed with a fa­ther who wouldn’t let me quit. I guess now I’m happy to not be a 32 year old scoot­ing around with train­ing wheels, (I’m ac­tu­ally not sure I could find some to fit my bike) but at the time I was learn­ing, I didn’t see it that way. I only saw pave­ment, han­dle bars and fear.

I can’t re­mem­ber if I fell off while prac­tis­ing, and I have no mem­o­ries of skinned knees or bruised palms. I do, how­ever, vividly re­mem­ber feel­ing the wind in my hair for the first time as I charged ahead, bal­anc­ing on two wheels. I re­mem­ber feel­ing invincible. I re­mem­ber fly­ing.

My point? Sewing curves on a sewing ma­chine is a lot like learn­ing to ride a bike. At first you may just see bizarrely shaped tem­plates, bias edges and fear. But let me tell you that as long as chil­dren can learn to rides bikes, you can learn and mas­ter sewing curves. Ready to fly?

There’s no wrong way, just the fin­ished way

Don’t get bogged down wor­ry­ing about which way of sewing curves is the “right” way. There are dif­fer­ent ways for dif­fer­ent peo­ple for dif­fer­ent pat­terns for dif­fer­ent rea­sons for dif­fer­ent fab­rics. Aaand now I’m dizzy… what was I talk­ing about be­fore?

Oh yes. The right way to sew curves is to find a tech­nique that you en­joy and gives you suc­cess. For some that is pin­ning ev­ery in. For oth­ers, maybe it’s a cou­ple of pins just to keep pieces rel­a­tively in or­der. Oth­ers (I fall into this group most of the time), no pins are needed. Let the good times roll!

Get­ting started: the train­ing wheels

Two things I do rec­om­mend for op­ti­mal suc­cess: keep your sewing ma­chine nee­dle down and sew slowly. You will prob­a­bly need to lift up your foot as you sew around your curve – es­pe­cially the first few times around. But by keep­ing your nee­dle down, the fab­ric will stay in place.

And why sew slowly? This is just to pre­vent stretch­ing and puck­er­ing as you glide your way over the bias edges. Even­tu­ally you’ll pick up the pace with each block, but never all the way to full speed.

Sewing curves is a lot like learn­ing to ride a bike. ´ s long as chil­dren can learn to ride bikes, you can learn and mas­ter sewing curves

Here’s a push and now you’re on your own!

Place right sides to­gether and line up the edges. Some peo­ple like to crease both pieces in half first and pin those creases to­gether. Do­ing this will en­sure that by the time you hit the cen­tre, it will truly still be the cen­tre of both pieces. But do you have to do this to get a pretty curved block? Of course not! Just like I men­tioned be­fore, this is a pref­er­ence and per­son­al­ity thing. Do it if it feels right.

At this point, with fab­ric pieces right sides to­gether, ev­ery­thing is go­ing to feel very wrong. You will have one curve swing­ing one di­rec­tion and its part­ner­ing curve veer­ing off in the op­po­site di­rec­tion. Have the wheels fallen off? For­tu­nately for us, al­though our block ap­pears to be cross-eyed, it is, in fact, right where we need it to be.

As you sew, gently ad­just the top fab­ric edge to line up with the bot­tom fab­ric edge. Keep­ing your nee­dle down and sewing slowly, make your way around the curve. Stop, lift up your foot and read­just at any time. Think of it as tak­ing your feet off the bike ped­als for a sec­ond to catch your breath and give those breaks a test squeeze. Maybe even tighten up your hel­met strap. I’m as­sum­ing that you’re wear­ing a hel­met while sewing.

Once you get very close to the end, you may need to use a pin, tweez­ers, or even a tooth­pick will suf­fice to act as a tiny pros­thetic fin­ger. Your own fin­ger will be too large (prom­ise I’m not say­ing you have fat hands) and I wouldn’t want it get­ting this close to the sewing ma­chine nee­dle any­way. Use your tiny tool of choice to hold the last

in of fab­ric to­gether to en­sure your seam is even right un­til the end.

And there you have it! Take your freshly sewn block to your iron­ing board and care­fully open up the fab­ric and give it a nice press. Use starch if you like and a square ruler to trim off any wonk­i­ness that oc­curred. Don’t be turned off if you see a pucker or two in your first cou­ple of blocks. It hap­pens from time to time! Now who’s go­ing to start a fast wheelin’ curve-sewin’ biker gang so I can join!?

Two things I do rec­om­mend for op­ti­mal suc­cess: keep your sewing ma­chine nee­dle down and sew slowly SUZY QUILTS

Suzy rec­om­mends a small ro­tary cut­ter to help with trim­ming curves

Pin­ning at the cen­tres will en­sure your curves are even

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