Well, I finally got that Apple Blossom mini quilt that was featured in McCall’s Quilting a few months back, put together into a full quilt pattern for you! One task down, 963 to go. This had definitely been near the top of my to-do list for awhile, A) because I adore it, and B) because I received so many lovely comments and requests about it! Thanks guys!!
The full quilt measures 60″ X 60″, and it pays homage to the historic orange peel and drunkards path designs that I so adore…
…BUT (here’s the kicker) without all the stress of what can sometimes feel like tedious, advanced techniques. I know, I know, curves can be fun (they really can!) but sometimes you just need to mix things up a bit when it comes to construction techniques (or at least I do). Just like the 2, 4, or 8-at-once half square triangle methods that are so much fun because they feel new and, well, different (than perhaps the traditional method many of us were taught), I think the same applies to curves. Using different techniques to achieve the same piecing look is part of the fun of quilting- having the freedom to choose not only the look of the design, but the method in which you achieve that look, is exhilarating.
The traditional, most common method of piecing curves pairs a pie shaped piece with an L-shaped piece- opposite angling curves carefully matched, pinned, and stitched…tried and true, but sometimes it can feel a little awkward (or exhausting if you’re not in the mood to get fussy).
I decided to use a different applique-style technique to make my curves for this Apple Blossom quilt (which I chatted with Pat Sloan about on her American Patchwork & Quilting podcast last week). Essentially it’s just the use of freezer paper machine applique to achieve curved piecing. Other than some visible stitching along the edge of the finished curve seam, which I happen to love because it’s sorta folksy and adds pretty texture to the seam, the final result is identical to the traditional curved piecing method.
Let me show you what I’m talking about. Here’s the Appliqued Curves Method in a nutshell:
1. To start, you need 2 same-sized squares- one for the wedge and one for the background- in the size that you want your unfinished curved unit to be (so if you want a 5″ finished unit, your starting square size would be 5.5″).
Trace & cut out a wedge shape from freezer paper. There’s no need to build the curved edge seam allowance in for this method as we’ll be adding it on in a later step. You should simply cut the curve wherever you want the final seam to be.
2. With a hot iron, press the freezer paper wedge, waxy side down, to the wrong side of the wedge fabric square so that the corners align. Thanks to magic of freezer paper, the paper will stick to the fabric, but is totally repositionable in case you need to adjust (score!).
3. Trim the fabric square to a generous 1/4″ outside the freezer paper curve (perhaps I should just say 3/8″ but I’m afraid monkeys might fall from the sky…let’s just go with a healthy 1/4″)
4. Peel freezer paper off of wedge fabric piece and flip the paper over so the waxy side is facing up, and align the corners.
5. With the tip of the iron, press the seam allowance over the curve of the paper. The seam allowance will stick to the waxy side of the paper (Ahhh…I like where this is headed).
6. Now take your background square and wedge piece (including the freezer paper), both right sides up, and align the corners. Press so the waxy side of the paper sticks to the background square. You guessed it- it sticks. Sweet.
7. Time to applique. Machine stitch the wedge to the background square along the curved edge, using the finishing stitch of your choice. I love a nice, neat blind stitch or a blanket stitch for this, though a zig-zag works too. Keep the stitch as narrow as possible, catching only a couple of threads on the finished curved edge.
8. Trim away the backing fabric along the seam allowance with scissors (best done in bed while watching a good movie!).
9. Carefully pull out freezer paper, supporting seam with fingers. You can reuse these paper templates quite a few times before they start to lose their stickiness.
And that’s the appliqued curves method! Fun right?! It might be more steps than the traditional piecing method, but I’ve gotta tell you- it was a breath of fresh air for me. I had just finished a project with a tons of curves, and was getting ready to stitch up the super curvy Scenic Route quilt from my new book, and just craving a different technique- just for the fun of it. After playing around a bit, this is what I came up with for that quilt, and it was so much fun to make!
Different method, same result. I’m hooked! I hope you enjoyed this fun little tutorial, as well as the patterns for these fun new patterns! If you end up trying this method out, would you post it on your social media with the hashtag #appliquecurvesmethod ? I’d love to see what you stitch up!
Thanks for stopping by! Happy sewing!