Usually I do most of my CQ piecing by machine, but my sewing machine and I can barely get along for stitching in a straight line, so whenever it comes to curved piecing, we agreed to disagree and let each other be and I piece by hand.
There are various methods for curved piecing that I found on the internet or in books, but somehow I couldn't get my curves nice enough with any of those. Now, after several blocks pieced, I have found my own way and I can honestly say that I am happy with my curves LOL
Having to piece another CD sized block today, I thought I'd document the process and share a small tutorial with those who, like me, had a bit of a trouble with their curves :)
So this is how I make my "snowballs":
0. On a piece of paper I trace a circle around a CD, for the actual size of the finished piece, and then I trace a larger circle around the first one, for the 1.5-2 cm sewing allowance around the block. Then I design my pattern, drawing the arches with the help of the CD. (Can you tell what I was listening to after I was done drawing the arches? LOL)
Then I lay a piece of supporting fabric (old sheets, in my case) over my drawing and as the fabric is transparent enough, I can easily transfer the design on it. (I like to keep my support fabric larger, so I can use a hoop when embellishing). Usually the lightly traced lines are also visible on the back of the supporting fabric, otherwise I lightly trace them again on the back, too.
Next I cut my pattern into pieces:
1. Laying pattern piece no.1, right side up, on the right side of fabric no.1, I lightly trace around the pattern, cut the patch into shape, leaving a 0.5 cm seam allowance and pin it in place on the supporting fabric. Now all the curves are aligned, ready for the next patches.
2. Laying pattern piece no.2, wrong side up, on the wrong side of fabric piece/patch no.2, I lightly trace around the pattern and cut out the fabric, leaving a 0.5cm seam allowance. Then, I run a line of basting stitch exactly on the line of the curve to be sewn on. No starting or ending knots here, that stitch is coming out in a matter of minutes.
Then, folding the seam allowance to the wrong side, I pinch the fabric between my left thumb and index finger so that the basting line is right on the "ridge" of the fold, and as I go along, pinching the fabric so that the curve shapes smoothly, I run a second line of basting stitch to hold the fold down.
At this point out comes the first line of basting stitch, I press my fabric, curve and all, and sew it in place on the supporting fabric and patch no.1 with tiny invisible stitches, using the guidance of the pattern traced on my supporting fabric. After removing also the second line of basting stitches I press my piece again.
Repeating step 2 for all the remaining patches, after about two hours of tracing, cutting, basting, pressing and sewing (and taking pictures), I had my piece ready for the fun part - embellishing.
Too laborious? Maybe. But those curves are nice, too, aren't they? I think it is worth the effort...
Now, for planning the embellishments, I place a sheet of transparent paper over my pieced block, trace the pattern and, if the case, even sketch the design of the patterned fabrics or lace motifs I have used on my block. I keep my block under the paper, so I can see the colors, the patterns and start sketching with pencil my seam treatments, embroidered motifs or whatever other type of embellishment I wish to use.
Today I had to stop here, but I can show you the sketch I started out with to make Cathy's Snowball.
Click on the pictures to enlarge.
Hoping that you will find this tutorial useful, I remain, as ever, yours truly,