Monday, May 6, 2013

Wonky Curves Tutorial


How to make Wonky Curved Blocks (16")
I'm going for a fairly over sized block, but the method works for any size block you would like to make. 
 
  • Cut a variety fabrics of fabrics 20" square.
  •  
  •  Stack the fabrics together, right sides up and clip one corner (through all the layers).
  • This is a really helpful step, as it helps you keep the proper orientation of the block. 

  • With your marker of choice, draw a wonky curve on the top fabric.
  • If you want a perfect curve just use a curved ruler or plate....whatever works for you.

 
  • Cut through all layers along the marked line, using either scissors or a rotary cutter. I have a tendency to use my scissors because I have a pair of Gingher Scissors that can easily cut through ten or more layers of fabric, plus I probably have a little more control using scissors.
  •  Once you have cut through all the layers you can shuffle the pieces around until they are pleasing to you. This is much the same as the "Stack the Deck" way of doing things by Karla Alexander. The difference here is we cut, shuffle and sew and then keep repeating that sequence of steps, rather than making all the cuts and then sewing. It's so much easier to keep track of the pieces this way.
 
  • It's my preference to sew with the convex part of the block or the belly on top and the concave on the bottom (right sides of the fabric together. 
 Trust me, this is much easier than it looks. These wonky over sized blocks are a wonderful if you are new to sewing curves. The blocks get squared up at the end so if things aren't perfectly lined up at the beginning or end of the seam....NO WORRIES.
  • Line up the fabric as I have and take a few stitches using a quarter of an inch or slightly smaller seam allowance.
  • Lift your presser foot, leaving the needle down, if needed to line up your edges.
  •  Lift your top fabric as you sew with your left hand and use your right hand to guide the bottom fabric.
  •  Leanne at She Can Quilt put together a wonderful little VIDEO on piecing curves. I highly recommend popping over and viewing it.....so helpful!!
  • Here is a picture of the back of the block all sewn together.
  • You can now continue doing the rest of the blocks this way, chain piecing as you go. I often work on just a few blocks at a time, as I'm usually improvising as I go. 
  • Press the seams toward the convex block (the belly).  
  • Stack all the blocks together again, right sides up, lining up the clipped corners.
  • Draw another curve. 
  •  As you can see the blocks start to distort as you continue making cuts and sewing seams....no worries, just line up those clipped corners. 
 

  • Cut along the line.
  • Shuffle the pieces


 
  •  Sew the seams in the same manner.
  •  
 
  • Regarding the pressing of the seams...there is no really wrong or right way, but when my seams are close together I find it easiest to press the seams in the same direction. 
 
 
  • Just keep repeating the above steps until you have as many curves in the block as you desire.
  • At that point I press using plenty of steam and spray starch to flatten the block out.
  • Then square up to desired size.
Recap:
  1. Square up several pieces of fabric.
  2. Stack fabric right sides up.
  3. Clip one corner through all the layers.
  4. Draw a curve.
  5. Cut the curve.
  6. Piece the curve.
  7. Press the block.
  8. Re-stack the blocks lining up the clipped corners.
  9. Repeat until you have all the all the curved piecing you desire.
  10. Press the blocks with starch and steam.
  11. Square the blocks to size.
 
 
As you can see from my sample quilt here......I have worked just a few blocks at a time rather than stacking up all the fabrics at once. This gives each block a little more individuality. I hope this method opens up lots possibilities for you. If anything wasn't clear just let me know.


66 comments:

  1. Very nice tutorial, Marianne. Thanks for taking the time to share it with us.

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  2. Thanks for sharing your beautiful quilts.

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  3. What a great tutorial. Thank you.

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  4. this is great. I've worked with curves before, but not in this blocky way. thanks so much!

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  5. Thank you for this tutorial. I have been waiting for it ever since your first post. I cannot wait to do some of my own.

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    1. You're so welcome....I'm glad it's helpful.

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  6. Thank you for a great tutorial. I have worked with curved piecing before but not in this way either. My brain is now saying 'what if?' Exciting!

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  7. Thank you!! Fantastic tutorial, you have a very clear style of presentation.

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  8. Thank you, thank you! I love the hint about clipping the corner! I can hardly wait to try this.

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  9. Marianne, thanks for that tutorial!

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  10. I've been an improv quilter for a long time (even wrote a book) but I work smaller. Your large blocks and the corner clipping are the best new ideas I've seen in a long time--AND your work is gorgeous! Thanks so much.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Kathy....what's the name of your book?

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    2. Rule Breaking Quilts, made for beginning improv piecers.

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    3. I never did like rules myself......I'll have to check it out.

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  11. Thanks Mari! My problem was that I was using smaller pieces. Great tutorial.
    Blessings to you,
    Cathy

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  12. Lovely tutorial, clear and easy to follow. I need some time to give this a try and thank you for sharing my video too.

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  13. What a clever clogs you turned out to be. My friend and I were reading it together and sighed a big ooh when we realised why the corners were to be clipped. I'd love a little bit of your brain...are you willing to share it? Hang on a mo...you just did! Thank you so so much!

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    1. Thanks Bonnie....once in awhile the old brain kicks into gear.

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  14. Thank you! I've been watching/reading/following you for awhile now and thought we might be doing this the same way. Yes, we are! Although your tip about clipping the corner and lining THOSE up is GENIUS. One of those "duh!" moments. Great tutorial and another fabulous quilt!

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  15. I love this tutorial-I need a way to use up my layer cakes and perhaps this will be the start of one thanks...Julierose

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  16. Great tutorial! Loved this block and was eagerly waiting for you to do the tutorial.

    Thanks
    Marianne

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  17. I love your tutorials, each of them is easy to follow and makes the work much easier. Thank you for sharing your methods with us.
    Regine

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  18. Thank you!! Great tute and I'm getting me some of those scissors too :-) :-) Amie

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  19. Thank you for such a great tutorial. You clipped corner tip is very clever!

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  20. So excited to try it! Just hope mine come out as good as yours!! Thank You for the tut :)

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  21. Thank you so much for the tutorial. I've been waiting...and it was worth the wait.

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  22. Helpful instructions and photos- thanks so much. Love the wonky quilt.

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  23. Thanks for the tutorial, I couldn`t image that it was so
    easy like "Stack the Deck". The secret seems to mixe several wonky blocks. As I like your blog very much, I am
    now the proud owner of a postcard of your Oakshott-Quilt, which I got in Nantes, France from M. Oakshott.
    Regards Ulla from Germany

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    1. Thanks so much, Ulla......have fun with it. Nice to know some of those post cards are still making the rounds.....I was so happy when he made them.

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  24. This is pretty much the way I improv piece except I make a straight cut all along the the top of the blocks so I know where to line up the pieces when I sew them together. The corner clip is a good idea for relayering the blocks for recutting. I showed last week on my blog how to do improv piece striped blocks as I am working on an improv Halloween quilt for one of my brothers for his birthday which is on Halloween.

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  25. Thanks so much for sharing this - can't wait to try it ! x

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  26. Marianne, you are a genius! Thank you for sharing. The tutorial is very clear and easy to follow. I can't wait to try this technique. You also cleared up one of my questions at the end of your tutorial - fewer layers of fabric result in more unique blocks. Brilliant!

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  27. Thank you so much, Marianne! I love this tute and plan to use it one of these days. It's very clear and easy to follow. Genius!

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  28. Clipping the corner is such a good idea! Love that tip.

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  29. Thank you, thank you, thank you! Can't wait to try this.

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    1. You're so welcome....have fun with it.

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  30. Thank you for that wonderful step by step tutorial. You make it seem so easy. I am going to give this a try. I have never sewn curves on a quilt before. Wish me luck!!

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  31. Love, love, love this . . . TGIF!!!!

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  32. what a great tut! thanks for posting it and the sidebar info. I am current circle crazy and I love the wonkiness of your finished work! can't wait to play in studio today! Sonja

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  33. I love it what a neat way to do curves

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    1. This is so wonderful- I could almost hear your calm, reassuring voice all the way through! You explain things so well that I decided to give it a try. I cut squares, stacked and cut a curve. I have sewn 2 sets together and I ended up with an extra inch at the end on the convex piece both times. Do you have any idea what I am doing wrong? I looked at a drunkard's path tutorial and lo and behold, it said to cut a half inch off each end of the convex piece before sewing. But that doesn't explain why yours turned out perfectly without cutting those pieces off (and the same with Leanne). Totally befuddled!

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    2. Hi Kay, I'm so glad you decided to give this technique a try. You're not doing anything wrong. With this technique, the seam allowance has not been factored in. The more cuts you do the more distortion starts to happen.....which is all taken care of once the block is pieced, with some starch and steam to flatten things out and once that's done the block gets squared up.

      In Leanne's video she was probably piecing a block that had the seam worked in as when you cut the blocks using templates, special rulers or the Go Cutter. Things usually line up more precisely in that case.

      Hopefully this helps. Have fun!!

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    3. Ok thanks- good to know. I am having fun- I can't wait to see how they look after the next round of cutting and sewing!

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  34. Love it when you share! The Gingher 8", can you share which model? Gingher 8" Spring Action Scissors? Gingher 8'' Knife Edge Dressmaker's Shears? I'm shopping around for a upgrade scissor for cutting multiple layers of fabric too!

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    1. I didn't realize ther was more than one kind. Mine must be the dressmaker shears....there's no spring, just regular scissors but I sure love them.

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  35. thank you sooo very much for taking the time to help us all learn more about quilting,,,,,grt instructions, and i cant wait to try this

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  36. I am new to quilting and newer to blogging. However, your site (and this tutorial) are my new favorites!!! Love it so much, it is going on my to do list :-)

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  37. I adore this - can't wait to do it myself. Thanks so much for sharing!

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  38. It is just the thing I love doing - your tutorial is very good - thank you so much.

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  39. I cannot wait to try this out! Great tips, I was always scared of curve quilting because it always looks so perfect. I prefer the wonky look! Hannah

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  40. Love this! Thank-you for sharing ... definitely want to try it out!

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  41. Hi Marianne,
    I decided to use your tutorial to made a circle design for the back of a quilt. I'm experienced with curves, followed your wonderful instructions, watched the video tutorial... I've tried to sew three first-cut seams and so far, the concave piece is extending nearly an inch beyond the edge of the convex piece. What am I doing wrong? Thanks you
    Melissa Reilly

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    1. Hi Melissa
      You are not doing anything wrong. Part of the mismatched ends comes from the fact that we have not added a seam allowance to the pieces. The more cuts the wonkier things can become. I square the blocks up in the end....so no worries.

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    2. Whew! That's what I was thinking, so I pressed on and trimmed out when done. I just assumed the video was sewing pieces cut with a template and moved on :). Pretty fun and freeing to not worry about it. Thanks for the reply and very fun technique.

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  42. Glad that helped, Melissa. Have fun!!!!

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Thanks so much for stopping by and taking the time to comment. I try to respond to all of your wonderful comments....if you are not getting any response from me it's because you are set up as a no-reply blogger. In order to receive a response you can change your status in your blogger profile. I'm no longer accepting anonymous comments.

Thanks again for all your wonderful comments
Marianne

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