How to Sew Curves

Curved Blocks in the Evolve Quilt
Evolve Quilt Pattern blocks for examples of sewing with curves.

Is sewing curved fabric pieces a scary step for you? Or maybe you just need a little refresher course. Well, don’t let it intimidate you! I’m here to help! I too was once scared of sewing curves. Looking at two pieces of fabric bending in opposite directions… and I’m supposed to make them match up how? My kind and wise mother-in-law walked me through it and once I figured it out, I wondered what I had been so afraid of! Let me show you how to sew curves for quilts. Just follow these steps and you’ll be a pro in no time too!

Step One: Cutting the Curves

The first step in sewing curves is printing the templates and cutting out your fabric. The MOST important thing you can do for yourself is to make sure that your printer is set to “100%” and NOT “fit to page”. But you can always double check by measuring the 1 inch reference square that comes on most template pages. Make sure it measures 1 inch exactly before you move on to anything else!

Some people like to transfer their templates to cardboard, card stock, or template plastic for a more sturdy guide. I just use the paper piece and go slow. So, once you have your templates and fabric squares cut out, you’re ready to start. You most likely have two template pieces. Let’s call them Template A, which curves in, and Template B, which curves out. I like to start by stacking my fabric pieces in groups of four or five. Line them up exactly or your measurements will be off. Then, place your template on top of the fabric. Slowly cut along the edge while holding the template down as close to the curved edge as you can. Once you do this for all Template A pieces, do the same for Template B pieces.

How to sew curves: Placing a curved template over the fabric.
How to sew curves: Placing template on fabric.
How to sew curves: Cutting along the curved template.
How to sew curves: cutting out all the curved fabric pieces.

Step Two: Crease and Pin

For the next step, you’ll need to find the center of your curved Template A pieces and your curved Template B pieces. To do this, simply fold the fabric in half along the curve and pinch to create a crease. Now you will lay your Template A piece on top of your Template B piece, matching the center creases, and pin them together. Next you will force the top piece of fabric to follow the curve of the bottom piece of fabric and pin the edges.

How to sew curves: creasing the centers.
How to sew curves: pinning the fabric

Step Three: Sewing the Curves

There are several methods on how to sew curves for quilts. Many people sew the whole curve all at once. But I have found that doing this allows room for more errors. I sew along the first half of the curve, slowly, and taper off once i get to the center pin. Then i flip the pieces over and start from the other side and sew along the curve to the center. When I get to the center, and to where i tapered off, I continue along the curve to overlap stitching for about an inch and then taper off again. Doing it this way will help prevent any puckering along the seams of the curved pieces.

If you’d like to see exactly how I sew curves, check out this short video.

How to sew curves.

Step Four: Pressing

The direction to which you should press your seam depends on the pattern. In the Evolve Quilt, it varies in order to nest seams. Nesting seams is when you are sewing two blocks together and one block’s seam has been pressed up and the other block’s seam has been pressed down so that when you sew your two blocks together, the seams fit like a puzzle piece. Nice and snug.

Pressing seams in alternating directions so they nest when sewn together.

Bonus: Chain Piecing

I like to chain piece as much as I can when making a quilt to help save on thread and to make the process a bit faster. So, even though I only do half of the curve first, I do ALL of them chained together, sewing half of the curve. Then I cut them all apart and flip them over to chain piece the second half of the curve.

Chain piecing while quilting

I hope this tutorial helps you feel more confident in how to sew curves for quilts. Go ahead, and give it a try! Sew those curved fabric pieces! You’ll be a pro in no time, and it opens you up to so many more possibilities in the world of quilting!

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