Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Technique Tuesday: Curves and Circles

We're back with Debby Kratovil of Debby Kratovil Quilts for another Technique Tuesday! This week, Debby is tackling curves and circles. She'll show you how to piece curves and then how to create super-smooth circles to applique as well. Enjoy! And after you read Debby's tutorial, head over to her blog to enter a giveaway to win some fat quarters from the Dori collection.
Dori Collection by Benartex
Debby, why did you choose the Dori collection to work with?How could I resist? The colors are clear and bright and lively and the prints are so modern with both curves and lines. I like that the flowers are "organic" and not perfect in their formation. Having the two colorways is a great way to appeal to more quilters, especially those young and new to sewing.
How did you decide what to make with these?I like to include as many fabrics from one collection as possible. So, I chose the blue and pink color family first. Then, I remembered the Flower Burst block pattern I designed for Quiltmaker Magazine for their 100 Blocks issue 5 (Summer 2012). I used the Arianna Collection by Benartex for that and I even made an entire quilt to showcase the blocks. I figured it would be time to revisit it since I enjoyed making the block so much.
Can we see what you made?
Flower Burst block and quilt
Now, you might think I was so clever to stagger the blocks as I did, but I have to confess, I didn't have enough fabric to make that extra sixth block! I had to add those two side plain panels to the center block so I could finish the quilt. I could only squeeze five blocks from those fabrics!
So, you made a quilt like the Arianna one? Can we see that?
Flower Burst Quilt using the Dori Collection
You don't have to count the number of fabrics that I used; I'll do that for you: 8 different fabrics. Yes, it seems a bit busy, but I would call that PERSONALITY! I love flowers in quilts and I just had to include as many as possible. Now let me show you the steps to making the block and at the end I will give you the pattern.

Begin by transferring the three pattern pieces to freezer paper for templates. Find the pattern pieces hereAs you can see, I've traced and cut out the 1/4 donut:

Cutting out the 1/4 donut shape two at a time
The background piece (I used two different fabrics for this and only show one):
Cutting out the background piece; flip-flop the template to conserve fabric
Now we align the 1/4 donut and the background piece at the centers:
Mark with a crease and then pin these together first
Then we align the two sides at the straight edges so they don't move when we sew the seam:
Keep the SIDE straight edges from moving; don't just pin up at the curved edges
See the straight sides? And press toward the donut shape
 Repeat these steps to make the other set of colors for the donut/BG pieces. Sew these together into the block. Yes, there is a big hole in the middle. I didn't say we were done yet!
Two halves of the block; sew together to form full block with HOLE in the middle
Now it's time to fussy cut the flowers for the center circle. Cut out an 8" square of freezer. Transfer the markings from the circle template to the center of the square; cut out. This "window" helps you audition various motifs to see if they will indeed work for this large block center.

This one works! Center the window of the 8" square; iron in place
Turn fabric over and press the cutout circle onto the motif you've selected
Cut a square at least 1/2" larger all around your fussy cut motif. Cut a piece of interfacing (NOT fusible) the same size. Layer the two, right side of fabric against the interfacing. Sew around edge of freezer paper template - not 1/4", but right along the edge. Trim away, leaving 1/8" seam allowance.

Layered freezer paper template, flower fabric and interfacing
Clip into interfacing; turn right side out; press with vertical and horizontal lines
Line up the interfaced circle with the seam lines of the block. Pin in place and applique. I used monofilament thread and a short, narrow zig zag stitch.

NOW you can trim away the interfacing; it was left in until now to stabilize the circle.
I decided I wanted to stop at 4 blocks, but as you can see, I was able to make a rectangular quilt using the same side panel technique I used in the Arianna Quilt:
Four blocks and four side panels
The blocks are 12" square. The side panels are made from one 4-1/2" x 12-1/2" center strip and two 1-1/2" x 12-1/2" side strips. The quilt center is 24" x 36". What a neat trick to turn four blocks into a six block space!
Now, you can have the templates for this block. Quiltmaker simplified the making of this block by eliminating the 1/4 donuts. I designed the pattern the way you will find it here. Just follow my steps using these pattern pieces and, of course, ENJOY!

Click here for the pdf file for the flower burst pattern.

Thanks Debby! Curves and circles always look so neat, and it's helpful to have a tutorial showing easy ways to make them!

See previous Technique Tuesday posts by Debby:Rocking Out in the Hen House
Setting blocks on the diagonal
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  1. Great tutorial on making those scary curves!

  2. I am a bit intimidated by sewing curves but Debbie's tips are most helpful!!

  3. Curves terrify me so I'd love to try this - Thanks!!

  4. Thanks for hosting this tutorial I love it.

  5. This doesn't look too intimidating, I may be able to do this. Thanks for the great tutorial.

  6. Espero que este sea el tutorial definitivo para no temer a las curvas y huir de ellas, porque Debby lo hace muy bien y dan ganas de ponerse a coser y probar. Gracias!

  7. Fun, and great use of the large floral! Good curved sewing directions!

  8. Excellent tutorial and I will now try curves , thanks so much .

  9. The curved pieces don't intimidate me, but sewing the center circle looks a little trickier. Excellent tutorial though!

  10. Nancy: rangerer@sbcglobal.netNovember 13, 2013 at 5:47 PM

    I have sewn curved pieces without problem, but never with an inner circle. I really like the look. Thanks for the tutorial.

  11. Great tutorial. I like the combination of circles and slices of circles. Love those fabrics!

  12. Super tutorial and love the great pictures. I've never had a problem on curves, so far, hehe.