Sewing Curved Seams – Drunkards Path Cushion

Drunkards path cushion cover

Drunkards path cushion cover

Sewing curved seams worries many quilters, but it really only takes a bit of care.  You need to sew the seam slowly and adjust the fabric as you go.  I find this easier than coping with lots of pins all along the seam.

This Drunkards Path cushion cover is an ideal way to try sewing curved seams as you only need to make four of the blocks.  In this tutorial I have also used a very simple method of making an envelope closing for the cushion cover.

You can buy the fabrics that I used at a discount in this week’s special offer.




 

Cutting requirements for the Drunkards Path quilt block

You can download the templates here – or you can find many templates on the internet.

Four of the squared off template in lilac.

Two purple and two green of the wedge templates.

Cut two 2.1/2″ green strips across the width of fabric and one 18″ green strip across the width of fabric.

Lay the pieces in position

Lay the pieces in position

Pin the ends before sewing curved seams

Place one of each shape next to each other, both with right side up.  This will help you to be sure that you are sewing along the correct seam.  In the photo the purple is just placed in position while the green one shows the completed block.

Flip the purple wedge so that it is right sides together with the lilac shape.  You need to pin at each end of the curved seam.  If you look at the shapes as they are in the first  photo you can see where the purple edge along the top will form a straight line with the lilac.

Pin the ends only

Pin the ends only

So pin the purple to the lilac along that straight edge as shown in the left hand part of the photo.  Repeat at the other end of the curve.  Those are the only pins that I use because I find that I can adjust the fabric as I’m sewing curved seams without too many pins getting in the way.

Begin sewing the curved seam

Begin sewing the curved seam

Sewing curved seams

Begin sewing at one end, making sure that it is the curved seam that you are sewing along.  You will find on the internet some people saying you must have the lilac shape on top and others saying that you must have the purple shape on top.  I find it easiest to sew with the lilac shape on top, but I prefer to say to you try both and see which way you find easiest.

Keep the fabrics lined up

Keep the fabrics lined up

So, back to sewing curved seams.  Do a few stitches and then stop so that you can adjust the fabrics.  Line up the fabrics to be in line about an inch or two along the seam.  Put your finger on this point and then with your other hand gently ease the purple fabric to the left so that it is in line with the lilac fabric.  Sew that inch or so along the seam then stop and repeat the process.  Smooth the lilac fabric so that it is always lying flat – that’s why I find it easiest to have the lilac on top.

Continue along the seam until you reach the other end which is pinned.  I have described this procedure as best I can, but I think that this is one of those occasions when the video will help (link given at the bottom of the page).

Make small clips into the seam allowance, taking care not to cut the stitches.  This will help your block to lie flat.  Press with the seam allowance towards the lilac section.  Make two in green and two in purple.

Lay the blocks to form a circle

Lay the blocks to form a circle

Assemble the Drunkards Path cushion cover

Lay the blocks out in two rows of two so that the green and purple wedges form a circle.  There are loads of ways of varying the placement to give different designs, but I have gone with this simple placement for the cushion.

Sew the pairs of blocks together.  The important thing is to match up the seam allowances to form a smooth circle.  Match these seams first and then sew the seams.

Finally sew the two pairs of blocks to each other, again matching the seam allowances at the ends of the curved seams.

Add the border

Add the border

I’ve added 2.1/2″ strips of green to form a frame around the blocks.  For mine I used two strips of 14″ for the top and bottom with two strips of 18″ for the sides.

Before you do this, measure your block.  The template that I used had 7″ sides but I have a feeling that if you use my templates they do not print to the same size.  It doesn’t actually matter:  as long as all four of your blocks are the same size as each other, your blocks will form the circle.

For your border, measure the sides of the block, then cut two strips of that length for the top and bottom and two lengths 4″ longer for the sides.

Lay the quilt block on the backing

Lay the quilt block on the backing

Making the cushion backing

I haven’t used a zip to complete this cushion cover.  Instead I have used the most simple method for making an envelope closure that I know.  It also provides a lining for the front of the cushion to protect the seam allowances.

Take the 18″ width of green fabric and turn under a small double seam at each short end.  These will be the edges of the envelop closing.  Lay the strip with right side up.

Place the drunkards path quilt block exactly in the middle of the green strip, also with right side up.  Fold the bottom of the green strip up over the top of the quilt block.  The bottom of the quilt block should lie along the fold line.

Fold the top down

Fold the top down

Now fold the top of the green strip down.  The top of the quilt block should lie along the top fold line.  The end of the top of the backing will overlap the bottom edge by about six inches.  This provides the opening for you to insert a cushion pad.  The quilt block is completely enclosed within the backing strip.

Back of the cushion

Back of the cushion

The advantage of using this method is that you now also have a layer of fabric backing the drunkards path quilt block, protecting the seam allowances.

Line up all the edges of the fabrics and pin in place.  Sew all round the edge of the square.  I tend to use quite a large seam – about 1/2″ or 3/4″ – so that I can be sure that all layers of fabric will be caught in the seam.

Turn the project right side out through the gap in the back, check that all the layers of fabric were caught in the seam and insert a cushion pad.

I hope that this simple project will show you that sewing curved seams is not difficult.  Sew the seam slowly and try a project like this with fairly large blocks first before tackling one with small curved seams.

Here’s the video:

St Pete's Basilica

St Peter’s Basilica

Last month I managed a flying visit to Rome.  What a breathtaking city it is!  I haven’t had time to sort out all the photos yet, but I hope that I’ll be able to bring them to you next Friday.

Single Strip Cushion Cover – Easiest Cover Ever

Halloween cushion cover

Halloween cushion cover

The single strip cushion cover is easily the most simple and easy cushion/pillow cover you could hope to make.  It’s a great standby if you need to make something really quickly as a gift – or for charity sales.  It has an envelope closing at the back rather than a zip, which of course cuts the time enormously.  I’ve made it here to fit a 16″ cushion pad.

Cutting requirements for single strip cushion cover

One 16″ strip of fabric cut across the width of fabric




Mark the central panel

Mark the central panel

Make the single strip cushion cover

Finish the edges of your strip of fabric – I have used my serger, but you could zigzag or use pinking shears or whatever method you normally use.

Fold the fabric in half to find the midpoint and mark this with pins.  Measure up 8″ and down 8″ from the central line and mark these lines with pins as well.

Turn under a hem on each end

Turn under a hem on each end

Turn under a small hem on both the short edges.

Lay the fabric with right side up and fold the top edge down till the fold matches the top line that you marked with pins.

Fold the edges along the marked lines

Fold the edges along the marked lines

Repeat with the lower edge – fold it up until the fold matches the lowest line that you marked with pins.  Pin carefully down the sides, making sure that you catch all the layers of fabric.

Sew a seam down each side.  That completes the single strip cushion cover!  It really is the most simple method imaginable.

Single strip cushion cover

Single strip cushion cover

Remove the pins and pull the cushion cover right side out through the envelope opening.  Hindsight being a wonderful thing, I realise now that I should have cut the strip shorter before I began.  The trouble was that I was fixated on the idea of using one width of fabric.  In fact, I have ended up with more overlap than I would like, making it more difficult to insert the cushion pad.  If I was making this again, I think that I would cut about 6″ off the length of the fabric.  You can always make a small clutch bag with the bit that you cut off.

Just for fun, I made another single strip cushion cover using a see through Halloween fabric.  It’s a black organza type fabric with silver spiderwebs on it.  Because it’s see through the pink shows through and gives a very attractive cushion.  That’s the one in the photo at the top of the page.

Here’s the video:

Thanks for visiting my blog.

I hope to see you again soon.

Rose

Bolster Cushion Cover – Free Pattern

Bolster cushion cover

Bolster cushion cover

This bolster cushion cover makes a change from the normal square cushion covers – and it really didn’t take long to make.  I’ve made it to match the quilt that I made for my future grand daughter’s cot.

Cutting requirements for the bolster cushion cover

I used one rectangle, two circles and a zip.  See below for what measurements you need.  Zigzag the edges of the fabric to prevent fraying.




Making the bolster cushion cover

Measure the circumference

Measure the circumference

You need to take three measurements before you can begin making this project:  the circumference of the cushion pad that you are using.  In my case this was 19″.  I added 2″ to this measurement for the seam allowance, so my rectangle will be 21″ long.

Measure the width

Measure the width

The second thing to measure is the width of the cushion pad.  This was 16″.  For this I only need to add 1/2″ for seam allowances, so my rectangle will be 21″ by 16.1/2″.  You can also judge the zip length that you need from this measurement – I am using a 14″ zip, just a bit shorter than the width of the bolster cushion cover.

Measure the height

Measure the height

The only other measurement that you need is the height of the cushion pad.  For this cushion pad the measurement is 6″.  I’ve added an inch to this to allow a fairly generous seam allowance.

Cut circles for the ends

Cut circles for the ends

I’ve cut two circles of 7″ diameter – that’s the length across the circle from edge to edge through the middle of the circle.  I fussy cut these so that I would have a complete panda in each circle.

Add the zip

Mark the seam allowance

Mark the seam allowance

Fold the rectangle in half with right sides together.  Mark a line 1″ from the edge of the fabric.  Place your zip along this line and make a mark at each end, just inside the main zip – you know, the bit where the actual zip begins and ends as opposed to the total length of the zip.

Sew the top seam to create a tube

Sew the top seam to create a tube

With your sewing machine, sew along the 1″ line from the side of the fabric to the zip marker on each side.  Baste the section across the middle between the two markers.  This creates a tube.  Press the seam allowance flat.

Sew the zip in place

Sew the zip in place

Turn the tube right side out and lay the zip on the inside along the seam line.  Pin and baste.  Using your zipper foot, sew each side of the zip in place.  This sounds simple but is actually a bit fiddly – be very careful to catch only the layer that you’re working on and not the other side of the tube.  This means that you have to scrunch the tube up a bit while you’re sewing in order to keep the bottom of the tube away from the needle.

Sew the circles in place

Sew the circles in place

Add the ends to the bolster cushion cover

Remove the basting along the zip and undo the zip at least part way.  This is essential because otherwise you won’t be able to turn the bolster cushion cover right side out after you’ve sewn the ends in place.

With the tube turned wrong side out, place one of the circles at one end of the tube, right sides together.  Carefully sew in place.  This just involves sewing slowly so that you can ease the two edges of fabric together as you go.  Repeat with the other circle at the other end of the tube.

Turn the cushion cover right side out (through the zip opening!) and insert cushion pad.  One bolster cushion cover made in a very short space of time.

Here’s the video:

Thanks for visiting my blog.

I hope to see you again soon.

Rose

Bachelor Puzzle Cushion/Pillow


 

Bachelor Puzzle Cushion Cover

Bachelor Puzzle Cushion Cover

The bachelor puzzle quilt block  is a good stand alone block which is why I thought that it would make a great cushion or pillow cover.  It’s a four patch block and I have made this cushion cover suitable for a 16″ cushion pad.

Cutting requirements

4.1/2″ squares:  four white

4.7/8″ squares:  two each in black and white, two each in black and yellow, two each in white and yellow

For the cushion backing you will need one strip of fabric 16.1/2″ by 36″

 

 

Bachelors puzzle quilt block

Bachelors puzzle quilt block

Make half square triangle units

Make half square triangle units

Making the bachelors puzzle quilt block

Make half square triangles with the 4.7/8″ squares in the colour pairs listed above.  Place two squares with right sides together and mark a line along the diagonal.  Sew a 1/4″ seam either side of the marked line.  Cut along the line to produce two half square triangle units.  Press the seam allowance towards the dark fabric and trim the corners.  These are now 4.1/2″ squares.

Bachelors puzzle quilt block layout

Bachelors puzzle quilt block layout

Lay the squares out in four rows of four.  There is one white square in each row, but they are in a different position within each row.  Although they all face in different directions, you can see that each quarter is made with the same four patch unit:  a black/yellow half square triangle diagonally opposite a white square, and a black/white and yellow/white half square triangle diagonally opposite each other.

Sew the squares together across each row and then sew the rows to each other to complete the bachelors puzzle quilt block.

Hem both ends of the cushion backing

Hem both ends of the cushion backing

How to turn the quilt block into a cushion cover

For the cushion backing you will need a strip of fabric the same width as the quilt block (16.1/2″) by 36″ long.  Turn under a small double hem on both the short ends to cover the raw edges.  I usually machine sew these hems, although you may prefer to hand sew them if you don’t want the stitching to show.

 

Lay the patchwork on the cushion backing

Lay the patchwork on the cushion backing

Fold the backing up over the patchwork

Fold the backing up over the patchwork

Lay the backing fabric down with right side up.  Lay the bachelors puzzle quilt block on top of the backing with right side up.  Match the middle of the of the quilt block with the middle of the cushion backing so that you have the same length of backing below and above the patchwork.

Fold the bottom edge of the backing up so that it partially covers the quilt block.  Check that the fold in the backing is exactly at the edge of the quilt block.

Fold the backing over the top half of the block

Fold the backing over the top half of the block

Trim the corners to reduce bulk

Trim the corners to reduce bulk

Now fold the top edge of the backing down so that it overlaps the bottom edge of the backing and completely covers the bachelors puzzle block.

Sew all round the edge of the square – use a generous seam allowance if necessary to make sure that you catch all layers in your stitching.

Trim the corners of the square, making sure that you don’t cut the stitching.  In the photo on the right you can see that the top seam is a fold so that no raw edges are showing.  The side seams will need to be zig zagged to prevent fraying.

Back view of the bachelors puzzle cushion

Back view of the bachelors puzzle cushion

Turn the cushion cover right side out through the gap created where the two layers of the cushion backing overlap.  Gently insert a cushion pad through the same gap.  That completes the bachelors puzzle cushion cover.  It really hasn’t taken very much time to make.

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