SEWING CURVES – How to Sew Curves with Ease

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This tutorial will show you how to sew curves that are concave, convex as well as sewing curves that are opposing. Even beginners can get great looking curves with a little practice and these few simple tips.

Sewing Curves, How to Sew CurvesPinSewing Curves, How to Sew Curves

Contents

Sewing Curves – ConvexStep 1 – Mark SeamStep 2 – Sewing CurvesStep 3 – Clipping Step 4 – Turn & Press Sewing Curves – ConcaveHow to Sew Curves – OpposingStep 1 – Add Seam AllowanceStep 2 – Mark CentersStep 3 – Ease and PinStep 4 – Sewing CurvesStep 5 – ClippingStep 6 – PressFurther Reading for Beginners

Sewing Curves – Convex

A convex curve is simply a curve that faces outwards much like a circle. It can be commonly found on pocket edges, clutches and bag flaps.

Peyton Clutch PatternPeyton Clutch PatternPinPeyton Clutch Pattern

Step 1 – Mark Seam

Draw the seam allowance line using a removable pen or tailor`s chalk. This gives you something to follow when sewing and will increase your accuracy. Without a line to follow it can be hard to visualize the curved seam line and predict when to turn.

The easiest way is to mark from the edge with a seam gauge or ruler in little dashes and then join them up.

how to sew curves marking, Sewing Curves - Convexhow to sew curves marking, Sewing Curves - ConvexPinSewing Curves – Convex

Step 2: Place your pins vertically so that you can Follow the curves with minimum interference. Place the heads on the outside of the curve so they are easy to remove as you go along.

Further reading: how to pin seams

Step 2 – Sewing Curves

The best way how to sew curves is to set your machine to a smaller stitch length. Try a length of 2.0-2.5. Stitch slowly and gently guide the fabric with your fingertips.

Keep your eyes on the marked seam line in the front.

For gentle sewing curves, you should be able to stitch in one motion without stopping.

For tight curves, you may need to stop with the needle down in the fabric, lift the presser foot, pivot the fabric and start stitching again. Make multiple small adjustments rather than one large adjustment to maintain a smooth curve. This will also stop the fabric from wrinkling up and catching on your presser foot.

If the curve is really tricky you could sew the hardest part by turning the hand wheel for maximum control.

how to sew curves sewing, Sewing Curves - Convexhow to sew curves sewing, Sewing Curves - ConvexPinSewing Curves – Convex

Step 3 – Clipping

Once you have sewn your corners you will need to remove some of the excess fabric in order to maintain the smoothness of the curve when turned the right way out. For convex curves cut triangular notches out of the seam allowance.

clipping curves, Sewing Curves - Convexclipping curves, Sewing Curves - ConvexPinSewing Curves – Convex

Step 4 – Turn & Press

Turn the right way out and give your curves a good press.

press curves, Sewing Curves - Convexpress curves, Sewing Curves - ConvexPinSewing Curves – Convex

 Sewing Curves – Concave

A concave curve faces inwards and can be commonly found on necklines and armholes of garments. Here you can see a curved neckline with facing.

Girls Top PatternGirls Top PatternPinAnke Dress and Top

You will sew it the same way as a convex curve with the only difference being the way you clip the seam allowance. Instead of clipping notches, you can just make little snips ending just before your stitching line.

clipping curves, Sewing Curves - Concaveclipping curves, Sewing Curves - ConcavePinSewing Curves – Concave

Give it a good press and here is how it looks.

sewing curves, Sewing Curves - Concavesewing curves, Sewing Curves - ConcavePin Sewing Curves – Concave

How to Sew Curves – Opposing

So what do we do when we have 2 curves facing in opposite directions? You will often see this on quilting patterns or in garments with color-blocked segments. You will also use this technique when joining sleeves to armholes.

sewing opposing curves, Sewing Curves - Opposingsewing opposing curves, Sewing Curves - OpposingPin Sewing Curves – Opposing

Step 1 – Add Seam Allowance

If your pattern doesn`t already have a seam allowance added then now is the time to add it. If you add smaller ¼ inch (6mm) seams it makes it easier to fit the curves together.

sewing opposing curves, Sewing Curves - Opposingsewing opposing curves, Sewing Curves - OpposingPin Sewing Curves – Opposing

Step 2 – Mark Centers

Mark the center of the pieces and pin them right sides together. See how the rest of the curves are now facing opposite directions?

match centers, Sewing Curves - Opposingmatch centers, Sewing Curves - OpposingPin Sewing Curves – Opposing

Step 3 – Ease and Pin

Match and pin the ends of your pieces and then work the in-between sections together. Place your pins vertically to hold the fabric in place and out of the way. The greater the curve, the more pins you will need.

pin vertically, Sewing Curves - Opposingpin vertically, Sewing Curves - OpposingPin Sewing Curves – Opposing

Step 4 – Sewing Curves

Now stitch along the seam with your seam allowance. It is easier to stitch from the top curved piece. Run your finger underneath regularly as you sew to make sure nothing is caught up underneath.

Step 5 – Clipping

Clip the seam allowance to release tension.

clip, Sewing Curves - Opposingclip, Sewing Curves - OpposingPin Sewing Curves – Opposing

Step 6 – Press

Open up your piece and give it a good press. This will make all the difference to sewing curves.

The seam allowances should both be pressed to the one side. It will naturally go in one direction. Don`t try and press the seam allowances open as it is generally too difficult.

sewing curves, Sewing Curves - Opposingsewing curves, Sewing Curves - OpposingPin Sewing Curves – Opposing

And there you have a nice color-blocked piece.

Now you know how to sew curves you could actually make more curved pieces and turn it into a quilt!

colorblock, Sewing Curves - Opposingcolorblock, Sewing Curves - OpposingPin Sewing Curves – Opposing

Further Reading for Beginners

How to Clip Corners and CurvesSewing 101How to Use a Sewing MachineCutting FabricSewing CornersHow to Use a Seam RipperSeam Allowance

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