Wednesday, August 06, 2014

Shark Week: Curvy Seams

Shark Week continues! (Shark Week is all about the 'Black, Blue, Shark!' quilt I'm currently making.)
My initial (super-technical! :P) design.

When I planned out this quilt I wanted to use entirely curvy (wavy) seams to put it together. I wanted it to look a little like ocean waves or currents. I also wanted to use a whole bunch of blues gradating from dark at the bottom of the quilt, to very pale at the top. This didn't end up happening, due to my lack of fabric choices, but the wavy seams did.

My thoughts at the time were "Curved piecing? Eek!". I've made plenty of sleeves, which have curves, so I have no idea why I found the idea of curves in patchwork scary but I was so scared that I procrastinated for quite some time. Then I remembered I'd watched a video that included curved piecing by the National Quilter's Circle on YouTube, so I rewatched that and was finally ready to jump in.

I placed the two pieces I wanted to join, right sides up on my cutting mat and overlapping by somewhere between 1.5" and 2", using my rotary cutter to carefully cut a gently curving line all along the entire width of fabric, carefully repositioning as I got to the edge of my cutting mat.
The ruler was just there to weigh the fabric down.

Then I removed the little excess pieces and butted the two pieces up against other, marking both pieces on the most extreme parts of each curve.

I put the fabrics right sides together and pinned at the marks. I don't usually pin much if I can help it, but for the first curved seam I pinned the heck out of it, thinking "you can never have too many pins, right?".

Wrong! The abundance of pins made it difficult to manipulate the fabric to make the curves line up right and I ended up with some puckering. It didn't help that my initial idea of "gentle curves" didn't actually turn out to be so gentle, either. :P

I only took a picture of the best part of the seam. :P

So for the next seam  I made a conscious effort to be more gentle with my curvy cutting and I only pinned at the marks I'd made at the apex of each curve, relying on my hands to line up the fabric as I sewed. I also lengthened my stitch slightly to help with easing in the curves. This seemed to work really well and I didn't have many more problems with puckering.

After seeing all the pieces I intended to sew together all laid out on Mr. Strange's pool table (it gets way more use as a design board for my quilts than it does for its intended purpose :P), I decided I didn't like it. It was missing something. So in a crazy late-night sewing session I decided to use a kind of needle-turn applique to make the very top waves peak. 
Except I'd never done needle turn before.
Next time on Shark Week, I talk about my (stubborn) adventures in applique!


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