Mastering Curves – Curved Quilt Piecing and Curve Master Product Review

Sixty Finished Blocks,

6 pieces and 5 seams per block,

which makes it 360 pieces and 300 seams total so far,

And I did it. woo hoo! 

I thought I would share what I learned, because I found it difficult to find information about how to quickly and accurately cut out all those pieces and then sew them together.
Disclaimer: I wouldn’t consider myself a “quilter” as I this is only the second quilt I’ve ever worked on. I don’t really know the “right” way of doing things. I would welcome any tips and suggestions from you if you have any. Previous posts about this quilt project are posted under the “quilting” category.

Cutting Out Curved Quilt Pieces

I asked as many quilters as I could, how to cut out these pieces, but I wasn’t satisfied with the suggestions I was given.  The most common one was to use a rotary cutter. I don’t know about you, but I am rotary-cutting-on-a-curve challenged. There must be some secret to it that I am not aware of. Other quilters swear by the Accuquilt Go! die cutter, but there isn’t a die available for  this “Roads” pattern. It certainly would have been nice for accuracy and ease though.

The method that worked best for me was to trace the templates onto freezer paper, à la The Train to Crazy, and iron them down to the fabric. I cut through 4 layers at a time and held the layers together with pins.  Spring-loaded flat-bottomed scissors helped fight fatigue.

Piecing Curves without Pins – The Curve Master Presser Foot

The classic way of piecing curves is rather time-consuming and uses a lot of pins. I love me some pinning, but One Girl Circus pointed me towards the Curve Master presser foot.  Watching YouTube videos of it in action, like this one by The Crafty Gemini, sold me on it.

This handy little guy can be used with any sewing machine and includes adapters for most. The suggested adapter for Brother machines didn’t fit mine (a Innovis NX-450), but I was able to snap the foot on without an adapter.

This method is definitely easier than painstakingly pinning all of those pieces, but it did take some practice to get a hang out it. The picture below shows my first few tries at it, starting at the upper left and going down from there.

I definitely goofed up a good several times and had to pull out the seam ripper. I also had to go very slowly at first, but I was a little faster by the end.

Some of my pieces didn’t line up that well. Inexperience and cutting inaccuracy are the likely culprits. Here are some less than perfect pieces after ironing.

I’m not sure what I should do with the blocks next, especially the non-square ones. Do I try to trim them up before piecing them? Tips on how to do this would be awesome.

Up next? I get play around with block layouts. I think this is called “auditioning” in quilt-speak.

Have you ever made a curved pieced quilt? What are your tips and tricks?

(I was not compensated in any way for this review. Read more about Sew Fearless’ disclosure policy here.) 


Update: This project is now finished!

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14 Responses to Mastering Curves – Curved Quilt Piecing and Curve Master Product Review

  1. Adrien 'Thomas' Lee November 16, 2011 at 2:23 pm #

    that is the coolest quilt ever! he is going to love it!

  2. Karen Chockley Mitzel November 16, 2011 at 2:44 pm #

    This is great! I can’t wait to see the finished product! I am definitely interested in the curvemaster foot… so neat to hear how you liked it! It is apparently also handy for setting in sleeves… ?? Thanks for another real and beautiful post! Love it!

    • Jodi November 16, 2011 at 2:52 pm #

      ooohhh.I didn’t even think about the sleeve setting possibilities, but that would be a great use for it!

  3. Rebecca November 16, 2011 at 3:06 pm #

    I loooove your header! The picture with Wonder Woman and the needles is just priceless! I am very excited about that presser foot. I look forward to seeing your quilt too, that’s just fabulous!

  4. geekquilter November 18, 2011 at 11:13 am #

    I don’t do a lot of curved piece quilting, but I do a lot of quilting! I would suggest a couple of things. I would only trim off what is sticking out of the blocks, that second to last picture has longer road pieces, shorter pieces around it, I would give those a trim, personally. When ever I am trying to match up points, I ALWAYS pin them at every seam that needs to match up. The rest you can sort of be squishy with (as long as you have at least 1/8 inch seam and even that can be a little squishy if you’re going to heavily quilt your piece). I line up my seams and pin right through them and I usually leave my pins in while I’m sewing it (a big no-no, I know, but things always get a little wonky if I take them out.), and GO SLOW at first, just like with the curved piecing, it will eventually speed up. Good luck! And Have fun with laying everything out (that’s the best part for me!)

    • Jodi November 18, 2011 at 3:51 pm #

      thanks SO much for giving me some tips. I think I will trim them up a bit before sewing.

      I am looking forward to laying them all out.

  5. Sandra Chandler November 21, 2011 at 2:40 pm #

    Hi Jodi, thanks for the review of my product, the Curve Master Presser Foot! Here is a special offer for your readers: If anyone orders a Curve Master at before the end of November 2011 and mentions in the Special Instructions box of the order that they read about it on your blog, I will include at no charge the Bent Tip Tweezers!

    Looking at your first pieces, I think I can offer a couple of suggestions which will make you even happier. I prefer to sew with the convex (outer curve) on top, as it is easier to see everything when the top fabric is lifted up. From your photos it appears you had the concave piece on top. I find that more difficult. Also, Just Curves at carries a full set of different size Drunkard’s Path arcs which will allow you to rotary cut your “roads” arcs very quickly and easily. It is really quite easy to rotary cut curves! Just like using an acrylic ruler and your cutter!
    Thanks again,

    • Jodi November 21, 2011 at 3:52 pm #

      Thanks so much, Sandra! I those tweezers do look helpful.

      I tried both ways of layering them, but found it easier to see the way pictured. hmm… Maybe more practice would help. :)

      I also didn’t think of creative use of other acrylic templates to make the roads. That would have saved some heartache. We live and learn I guess.

  6. Lindsey April 30, 2012 at 10:32 pm #

    I hope you get this comment! Did you make up the Roads quilt pattern or did you find it elsewhere? I’d love to know how to cut it out. Thanks!

  7. Sandie October 5, 2012 at 9:37 am #

    Love the pattern and curvemaster. Where did you find the pattern? What is the name? How many different fabrics did you need to use? Thanks!

  8. Lindsay November 15, 2012 at 10:18 pm #

    I have been “volunteered”to do a quilt for my granddaughters school benefit. I want to do kids handprints on curved pieces in a rainbow. Do I cut them out on the bias?

    • Jodi November 16, 2012 at 9:59 am #

      I really don’t know. Are you making many little rainbows? or one big rainbow?


  1. Quilt Update | Sew Fearless - February 6, 2012

    […] I last left you with completed blocks. After they were all pressed, and trimmed to size,  I arranged them out on an old sheet. There is a very specific layout to the pieces to create the continuous “road” out of the blocks, and then I needed to avoided adjacent matches. It took time, but it was an enjoyable puzzle. After I found my layout, I safety-pinned the blocks to the sheet. That way I could fold up the sheet and store it between sewing sessions. […]

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