These are some clamshell blocks I made in a workshop with Susan Forbes a couple of weekends ago. This is the second curved piecing workshop I've taken with Susan and the third workshop on curves I've taken this year. The first was with art quilter Maggie Vanderweit and the focus was on free hand curves. All workshops used the no pins method. Both women were excellent teachers and I would recommend their workshops.
The two classes with Susan were using templates to make curves. The clamshells where cut with the Quick Curves Ruler using an adaptation of a pattern from Sew Kind of Wonderful.
I've learned a lot about curved piecing in the last while and I thought I would share some tips that make things a little easier for those starting out with these techniques.
1. Don't pre wash your fabric.
2. Use a light spray starch when Ironing your fabrics prior to cutting.
3. Make your pieces larger than you need and cut down to size. In the Clamshell pattern I the blocks start at 8 1/2 inches and get cut down to 7 inches.
4. Sew slowly and use your needle down position when stopping.
6. Only sew a small amount at a time. In the next photo notice where my finger is on my right hand. That is about as far as I went before stopping. It's the distance that the fabric sits nicely together.
You'll notice that I am using my left hand to hold the top fabric up a bit, and to keep the ruffling out of the way. Which leads to tip number
7. Try not stretch or pull on the fabric.
9. Because sewing curves requires quite a bit of focus I find I can't sew too many curves at one sitting. Take lot's of brakes to do other tasks like trimming blocks. You don't want to get too tired and make mistakes. Over the weekend I sewed right sides to wrong sides twice.
10. Remember that sewing curves like any new technique requires practice. Be easy on yourself. If you are like me it's probably best to take a workshop. If you don't have easy access to a workshop, Leanne from She Can Quilt has a really good U tube video and tutorials on her blog. Just remember that Leanne is really good at this and doesn't need to trim her blocks down. It's something to aspire to.
I'm linking up with Terry for Tips and Tutorials Tuesday, with Lorna for Let's Bee Social and with Lee for Works In Progress Wednesday.