Tuesday, March 21, 2017

An Experiment In Curves

My first experience sewing curves was about a year ago when I worked on the Craftsy Block of the Month 2012 quilt. One of the months had Drunkard's Paths, and I was so frustrated sewing them that I was on the verge of tears. In the end, I substituted different blocks for those curved blocks, and I haven't touched curves since.

Though it's been a year, that experience is still fresh in my mind, and I still have a fear of curves. However, I'm finally ready to try them again. In the past year I've watched every YouTube video I could get my hands on about curves, and I've picked up books about curves. There are so many different ways to do them!

So I thought it'd be a fun experiment to cut some scraps and make some Drunkard's Path blocks, with all the different method I've seen, to see what works for me.

1. The Angela Pingel Method

Angela Pingel, the author of A Quilter's Mixology, wrote about a method in her book, which is all about Drunkard's Paths. She demonstrates it here.

2. The Glue It Method

Glue-basting involves pre-gluing the seams together before sewing. This is a costly method since the glue pens get pretty pricey!

3. The All-Pins Method

Probably the one that a lot of people still use, but since I usually sew with zero pins, the thought of all those pins makes me want to quit right here and now. I did it for the sake of this experiment, though.

4. The Triple Pin Method

Instead of pinning rigorously, this method just requires the ends and the middle be pinned.

5. The No Pin Method

I consider this method for the ultra-skilled. It is basically like the Curve Master foot, except with a regular patchwork foot.

6. The Curve Master Method

Alright, I didn't actually try this method this time because I no longer own the Curve Master foot, but I bought it last year and hated it so much that I ended up returning it. I had to write that here, though, as it's a method that works well for some people. But not for me.

So how did I do? Honestly ... it didn't turn out as badly as I thought. From the pictures, #1 (Angela Pingel) is the best one, and while the others are usable, they're not ideal. Some of them are too small, and others are distorted. (It might look okay on the pressing board, but I've discovered my pressing board's measurements are a little smaller than my ruler!) As far as pain level goes, #2 (Glue-Baste) and #3 (All-Pins) are the most painful, while the rest are about the same: painful but not excruciating.

In conclusion, after tonight's experiment, I'll probably use #1 (Angela Pingel) and #4 (Three-Pin) together. While I can't honestly say I like curved piecing, I'm glad I can at least do it to some degree now.

Updated to include a link to Angela Pingel's method that she demonstrates in a YouTube video. Thanks to Laura @ Slice of Pi Quilts for the link!


  1. Hi Liz, good on you for not giving up! A classic example of 'if at first you don't succeed....' I also try different methods of piecing recommended by different people to find the one that suits me best, there is such variety out there its just a case of trial and error (mostly error!)

    1. Thank you! It's so true, there are so many opinions and ways of doing things out there, we all just have to find what works best for us.

  2. Hi Liz! Quite a fun science project here! I love it! I had to lol that you included the pain-level for each mothod. Isn't it the truth! I'll have to look into Angela's method. I love using the Quick Curve Ruler and the Mini for curves. The method that goes with both rulers is the no pins method.

  3. There are so many methods for sewing up curves. Love your little experiment. I enjoy using Angela's method and I love my Quick Curve ruler and mini ruler.

  4. I want to master curves too! Thanks for sharing the various methods here. I haven't tried the glue basting. Besides the expense, what did you think about it? I was wondering after the seam was sewn, do the seam allowances lay flat?

  5. Thank you for sharing your experiment! Is the Angela Pingel method the one she shows here? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A5_gRLv6jQ0 I use the no-pin method (and that's the one I include instructions for in my patterns). I'm a huge proponent of experimenting and figuring out what works best for you!

    1. Thank you thank you! Yes, that's the method. I've updated my post to point to the video.


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