Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Roundabout Quilt Along - Drunkards Path

**  NOTE  - This post is part of a series of posts for the Roundabout Quilt-Along.  If you would like to join (and have a chance to win one of three $75.00 Gift Certificates from Fat Quarter Shop ) you can find a list of the post links here :)  Here is the schedule
October 25th - Drunkards Path - That's Today!!!
November 8th - Building Blocks
November 22nd - Piecing Top and Grand Prize Linky
December 13th - Roundabout Parade and Grand Prize Winners

Now, first off for this week, we need to pick a winner for the Goosed Half Square Triangles Assignment.   And great job to everyone on their beautiful Goosey HST's!!!  It is so wonderful to see everyone's pieces coming together and oh so much fun to be quilting-a-long with you all!!!

The Goosed Half Square Triangle assignment winner who will be receiving a  By The Sea Rollie Pollie from The Scarlet Thread Quilt Co.    is . . .

#3 - Patty !!! - Congrats :)


So I know lots of you are going to be trying something new today and I am so super excited for you ;)   Just a quick note to remember, Relax and have fun with it ;)  The more you can relax, the easier curve sewing will be!!!   So let's get to it :)    Oh, and If you are just finding this QAL now, it's never to late to join in the fun, the tutorials will always be on my blog so you have lots of time to join in :)


Just a note before we start.  We will be making a slightly modified Drunkard Path blocks as the "crust" section of the block is skinnier than your traditional Drunkard Path blocks.  This way our Seams from the blocks will line directly up with the seams in our surround and there won't be that little gap :)  So that means, if you have Drunkard Path templates at home already, you might want to double check before using them as they are most likely for traditional blocks ;)


Alright, Let's get our Curved Piecing on!!!  To start, you will need to print off the Drunkards Path Template for your designated size block.   You can find the Drunkard Path Template by clicking right here.  Depending on your size block, will depend on what size template you need.

                              2 1/2" Finished Modified Drunkard Path Template is for the 15" Block
                              3" Finished Modified Drunkard Path Template is for the 18" Block
                              3 1/2" Finished Modified Drunkard Path Template is for the 21" Block

And be sure to double check that the 1" square on your printed page is a true 1" square ;)   Now  cut out the two template pieces.   I made a note on my templates what size I was using  just so they wouldn't get mixed up ;)

From here, we are going to use our paper templates to make a sturdier template ;)  So whatever supplies you got at the beginning to make your template on, it is time to pull them out.  I am using Extra Thick Plastic Template Sheets .  Place your two templates onto the corner of your template material and trace around them.  The reason I do it is the corner, is because that is two fewer sides I now have to cut ;)

Now, go ahead and cut out your two permanent templates.  And I know you all know this, but it never hurts to remind, Don't use your fabric scissors to cut these out.  They will ruin them.   (But if you happen to have a pair of fabric scissors that your children have used on paper and ruined them already, feel free to use those :)


Now you have your templates ready and you are all set to start cutting out your Drunkard Path units.  So, go ahead and grab your stacks of DP (Drunkard Path) squares.   These should be the only ones you have left besides the large center square, but just in case, the sizes of them are listed below.  You will be cutting the "Pie" shape from the the background squares and 2 "Crust" shapes from each of the print squares.

We will start by cutting the Concave piece, or what is easier remembered as the "Pie" which means grab your Background fabric squares.  Align the Pie Template so it is flush in the corner of the square and the sides are aligned.  Now, holding the template in place, gently cut along the outer curve of the template.  You'll be trimming off just a bit as the square is made to fit the template.  This is the easier of the two curves to cut, so just try to stay relaxed and let your blade follow along the outside arch.

And now onto the Convex piece, or the "Crust" as we will refer to it so grab your Print fabrics.  We will be cutting 2 "Crust" pieces out of each Print square.  Start by placing your Crust Template onto the corner of your print square so that is flush in the corner and the sides are aligned.  Holding the template in place,  gently cut along the inner curve of the template, gently is the key here.  You will need to cut a tiny bit to start and finish that has no template guide but just just straight aligned with your template.   Then slide the now Pie looking piece out of the way and and then Cut along the Top and Bottom of the template to trim off the excess fabric.

Now spin that Pie pieces 180 degrees and once again place your Crust Template onto the corner of your print square so that is flush in the corner and the sides and top and bottom are aligned.    Holding the template in place,  gently cut along the inner curve to give you your second Pie Crust.  This will also give you a Bonus Petal that you can use for Applique on another project, so fun!!!  (I plan to use them with my bonus HST's to make some decorative pillows to go with the quilt :)    

 This curve takes a little practice to get used to cutting out, but just relax and you will get it.   The key is when you are coming out of the curve to not press so hard that you cut into your template.  Relax and just let your cutter glide along the edge.   I had to keep reminding myself to relax my hand and let the cutter do the work ;)   And if you have a small rotary cutter it can help.  But no worries, by the end of cutting your pieces, you will be a pro!!!    Just keep cutting until all of your Background squares have been cut into Pie shapes and all of your Print Squares have been cut into 2 Crust shapes each ;)   And if your not quite sure what to do with those Bonus Petal's you can see my video tutorial on Applique to get you started!!!

Once you feel that you are getting the hang of cutting, you can speed things up a bit by stacking up 3-4 squares at a time.  Be sure that your blade is sharp so that it will go through all the layers, and again, practice on single squares before you jump into this.  But once you feel confident, this will save a lot of time.


So now your pieces are all cut,  let's learn how to sew them together!!!  I will be showing the process with one block, but or course, you will be making lots so like we have learned, chain stitching will save your lots of time!!!

And one last note before we get into it, I like to use 3 pins when sewing curves.  Some people use 1 and some people use a ton :)  If you find you want more than 3 pins, fabulous, if you find you like 1, wonderful!!  Do what works best for you :)

Okay, to start, we need to find the center of our pieces, so to do this, fold your Pie and Crust in half and finger press the crease.

Now, with right sides together, place the Crust onto the Pie aligning the two creases.  Pin the two pieces together along the crease.

Now, grab the end of your Crust and align the two sides with the two sides of your Pie.  These should align perfectly, just like if you were sewing a square together.  Pin in place.    And I like to pin pretty close to the edge so that that alignment won't shift on me.

Then repeat for the other end, again making sure that the two sides are aligned perfectly, just like a square and pin it in place.   And your block is pinned and ready to sew.   (And like I said above, if you get going and find you want a few more pins great, that can especially be helpful if you are doing some of the larger size blocks.  Just center another pin between your current pins)

And now you are ready to sew.   Now before we start sewing take a deep breath :)  The more relaxed you are, the easier curves are to sew.  If you get frustrated and tense, it just gets harder, so remember, this is all about having fun :)

The biggest key I have found when sewing curves is to only worry about what is directly in front of your presser foot.  The rest of the block won't line up until it gets there so don't stress about it.   Just keep focused on what is about to go under the foot.

Using a 1/4" foot on your machine, Align your pinned edge with the foot and begin a few stitches.  I like to backstitch 2 stitches once I have started.  This isn't necessary, but I just like to where I pull on this piece when sewing a little more than traditional square blocks.

Now just try to imagine that is just like sewing straight lines only a little more aligning as you go.   I like to use the finger on my right hand to keep the two edges of my fabric aligned and the fingers on my left hand to smooth or pull out any bubbles that are in the way.   Just smooth those outward, you only have to have a 1/4" of flat sewing space.  And again, just worry about smoothing out your sewing patch right before it goes under the presser foot.

Just keep aligning with the right hand and smoothing with the left hand.   The fabrics will ease into position right where they should be as long as you be sure to keep the edges aligned.   Every once and a while, you might find that you need to lift your presser foot to smooth out a stubborn crease and that is all good, just be sure your needle is in the down position.

When you get close to the edge, I find it helpful to slightly pull down on the bottom right corner, this just helps to pull out any last creases, especially when you are dealing with 1/2" width on the Crust piece.

And just like starting, I like to backstitch a few stitches on the end.  Again, it isn't necessary, I just like the idea of holding that seam in place ;)
Now, I just went through that super fast, and I know, it can be hard to tell from the pictures, but just remember, slow and steady and try to relax.   Practice, practice practice and trust me, within a few blocks you are going to be flying through these ;)  Really, it takes longer to pin them then to sew them.


And like I said at the beginning, Chain Piecing is the way to go here.   It will super speed things up if you sit down and pin a whole bunch of blocks first.   This is a great time to put in a movie or listen to a great book, or have a chat with a friend on the phone.   Pin up as many as you like!!  (I pinned about half of my blocks at a time, but these were all I had left when I was taking pictures :)

Then you can chain stitch your blocks, just keep feeding them through your machine one after another.   Once your blocks are all sewn. go ahead and clip the threads between blocks and remove the pins.  And yes, you will note that I don't take my pins out, but rather sew over them.  I don't like my ends shifting, so I just be sure to slow down when I get to a pin (and I only had one needle strike through my whole pile and the needle didn't even break)   With that said, I know I should never recommend sewing over pins so do what you are comfortable with ;)


And now, you are ready to press your blocks.  We will be pressing towards the Pie piece.  And I know, it seems like it would be easier to press towards the Crust and that is the darker fabric, but we press towards the pie so that when we sew these Drunkard Path blocks into our Roundabout Blocks, we don't have 4 layers of bulk right where we only have 1/4" of fabric to sew in :)

So, begin by grabbing the corner of pie with one hand and gently pulling it outward and at the same time pressing the center of the crust seam inward.  Pulling gently will just ensure that we don't have any little bubbles in our seam.

Then, adjust your pulling finger to pull upward and turn your iron point towards the side.  Really be sure and use the point of your iron to press into that seam and keep it nice and flat.  Again, pulling gently will help pull out those bubbles.

And now again, change the direction of your pulling to pull outward and rotate the point of your iron into the remaining corner, being sure to use that point to help get right into the edge of that seam.   It really gets fast when you get the hang of it and you won't have to lift your iron or let go with your other hand, it is just shifting the way are pulling as you go.

Finally, I like to flip my block over and give it a nice press from the front, just as a double check that I didn't get any little bubbles in my seam allowance ;)


And that is how it is done!!!

Just keep Pinning, Stitching, and Pressing your way into a pile of Drunkard Path blocks ;)  You will have 8 Drunkard Patch blocks for each of the Roundabout Blocks in your quilt!!

And with that, you are ready to now enter to win the weekly prize :)

The Weekly Prize is sponsored by Shabby Fabrics and a huge thanks goes out to them for their support of the Roundabout Quilt-Along.

This weeks prize is for a beautiful First Romance Jelly Roll by Kristyne Czepuryk for Moda!!!!  Aren't those prints just so pretty ;)
So what do you have to do for a chance to win the Jelly Roll?  Simple . . . Just link up your stacks of Drunkard Path Blocks :)  You can link to a blog post or a flickr picture, or whatever.  Just make sure to link up by the morning of Wednesday November 8th when I will be announcing a winner in the next post :)

If you don't get your Drunkard Path Blocks done by November 8th you can still link it up :) (just not in time for the prize :) The linky will remain open until the end of the Quilt-A-Long.  So if your out of town, or just had a busy week, no worries!!!  Just link up when you can :)

And Don't forget to add your beautiful  to the Happy Quilting Quilt-A-Long Flickr group and to post it on social media with using #roundaboutquiltalong.    I am so excited to see all of your Drunkard Path Blocks in their curvy goodness!!!

So let's get our Curved Sewing On!!!!   Oh, and if you have questions, don't hesitate to email me at  Have a Happy Quilting Day!!

Pin It!


  1. How exciting to see my name as the winner! Thanks Melissa and Scarlet Thread for the prize!

  2. Are we using all of our 4 x 4 squares for this?I'm doing the 21 inch block.

    1. Hi Rita,

      Yes, you are using the 4" x 4" background squares that you have left after you have done your Goosed HST's ;) There should be 8 squares per block that you are making in your quilt. Hope that helps ;)

  3. Thanks Melissa for a great tutorial for the DP blocks.

  4. The reason I like your QALs in the spring is because Halloween sewing gets in the way during the fall! Now that that is done, I finally cut my fabrics and I am working on my Paths. Woohoo! two months late, but I'm getting there. I will share when I'm done.

  5. This was my first time sewing curves. I understand why its called a "drunkards path" my glass of wine went quick as i fiddled with these things. Maybe it will work better with larger blocks and not the little wall hanging size.

  6. such a great tutorial with the dp blocks I must admit it is quite a complicated process that needs a lot of attention devoted to it thanks for enlightening us though melissa


Thank you so much for your sweet comments. I just love hearing from you!!
Have a Happy Quilting Day :)