Curved Rails Q & A

Posted by on September 2, 2011 in blocks | 2 comments

Q:  So, is there a trick to getting these to lie flat? Or are we just not worrying about that?

(edited by Sophie to add)

A:   Yes, you do want to worry about that–that is kind of the point of this month’s block . . .  but don’t make yourself crazy with it.   If you are having problems,  here are some things to look at or think about:

  1. Make smooth cuts with gentle curves.  If you have never sewn curves, then begin with a very shallow, gentle curve … when you get the hang of it, you can make more dramatic curves.  But whether it’s a big hill or a little one, you want it to be very smooth with no quick turns.
  2. Go slow.  You’re only sewing two seams for each block, so there’s no need to rush.  
  3. Press carefully.  If pressing the seam one way doesn’t seem to be working, try it the other way.  For me, pressing toward the side on the inside of the curve worked best.
  4. Read what others have had to say–there are hints in between all those block photos, like this one from Michelle:

    The key is to line up the start and put needle down into it and lower presser foot. Then hold top strip with your left hand and bottom strip in your right and guide each strip to keep the edges lined up as you sew.

    And from me (from the directions):

    I used a single pin near the middle of the seam–it allowed me to focus on just a few inches at a time and create nice smooth 1/4-inch seams. 
    Don’t worry if your edges don’t match perfectly because you will be squaring up and trimming the block.

    And … I’m hoping others will have some suggestions for you in the comments.


  1. I have a great love of curved seams.

    I think it helps to lift the top piece up.

    Also, focus your energy on just forcing the two pieces to line up just right at your presser foot and nowhere else. I find the puckers come when I'm trying to make too much of my seam line up at once.

  2. if your seam isn't lying flat, it might be that the curved bias cut edge is getting stretched. when sewing i just lay the pieces on top of each other, the top piece in my left hand and the bottom piece in my right. i carefully slide the two edges together right at the presser foot. like wendy said, i only worry about what is just in front of the presser foot, letting the sewn part behind the presser foot go wherever. it will look like a hot mess, but after pressing it will lay flat. if it still has a slight ripple in it, starch will make it behave 🙂

Social media & sharing icons powered by UltimatelySocial