Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Seeing Stars Quilt-Along - Curvy Star Block

**  NOTE  - This post is part of a series of posts for the Seeing Stars Quilt-A-Long.  If you would like to join (and have a chance to win one of three $75.00 Gift Certificate grand prizes sponsored by  Fat Quarter Shop you can find a list of the post links here :)  Here is the schedule


August 22nd - Curvy Star Block  (That's Today) 
August 29th - Pinwheel Star Block
September 5th - Improv Star Block
September 12th - Basic Star Block
September 19th - Applique Star Block
September 26th - Piecing Top and Grand Prize Linky
October 17th- Seeing Stars Parade and Grand Prize Winners



Now, first off for this week, we need to pick a winner for the Double Star Block Assignment.   And I just have to say, your blocks are so fantastic!!!  I loved seeing them all and hearing your excitement on making such huge blocks!!!!  We certainly have an amazing group of quilters quilting along and the size of the group is growing, which is so fun to see!!!!

The Double Star Block assignment winner who gets a Smitten Jelly Roll from Green Fairy Quilts is
#6 - Lori Dominguez!!! - Congrats :)

 
   



So here we are, ready to start sewing our second set of blocks , so let's get right to it :)  If you are just finding this QAL, it's never to late to join in the fun :)



THE CURVY STAR BLOCK


STEP 1 - CUTTING

We will be making 3 Curvy Star Blocks.  I will give the cutting directions for 1 Curvy Star Block (for those that are making alternate layouts).  Then I will give the cutting directions for the Total Pieces needed for all 3 Curvy Star Blocks.    Each Print Fabric listed represents a different part of the star block.  Below the initial single block cutting list is an image of the Curvy Star Block just to clarify where each fabric is placed in the block.   


Curvy Star Block - For Each Block cut:

Print Fabric Large Star Points - (4) 5 7/8" x 5 7/8" squares
Print Fabric Curved Star Points - (2) 6" x 6" squares
Background Fabric - (1) 11 1/4" x 11 1/4" square
                                  (8) 5 1/2" x 5 1/2" squares
                               





So for all 3 Curvy Star Blocks you will cut:

Print Fabric Large Star Points - (12) 5 7/8" x 5 7/8" squares - 4 squares each of 3 different prints
Print Fabric Curved Star Points - (6) 6" x 6" squares - 2 squares each of 3 different prints
Background Fabric - (3) 11 1/4" x 11 1/4" square
                                  (24) 5 1/2" x 5 1/2" squares - separated into 2 piles of 12 squares each





STEP 2 - MAKING THE LARGE FLYING GEESE UNITS

This block has a large Set of Flying Geese in it just like the Flying Geese from the Double Star Block and we will be using the same No-Waste Method to make them.  And since we did this last week, I will be using the less detailed instructions.  If you feel you need more explanation, please see the Small Flying Geese Units instructions from last week.     So, let's get to it :)


Gather the 11 1/4" x 11 1/4" Background Squares and the 5 7/8" x 5 7/8" Print Squares. And draw a diagonal line on the back of all 12 of your print squares as shown. 


Now place two Large Print Squares onto the Extra Large Background square as shown.  Remember to add a few extra pins to keep those larger squares in place.  Pin all 3 units and then Chain Stitch a 1/4" seam on either side of the drawn line on all 3 Units.  Now cut them in half and press the seam allowances upwards towards the Print Triangles.


Place your remaining 2 Large Print Squares onto your Matching Units and use a few extra pins to keep them in place.  Then chain Stitch a 1/4" seam on either side of the drawn line on all 6 Units.   Cut them in half and press the seam allowances upwards towards the Print Triangles and trim the dog ears.


And just like that . . . 12 Beautiful and perfectly precise Large Flying Geese Units, that should measure 5 1/2" x 10 1/2".    And remember, you don't have to trim, but if you choose to just be sure and leave yourself a 1/4" seam allowance at the top of your Flying Geese Units.




STEP 3 - MAKING THE DRUNKARD PATH UNITS

So this is where we get our Curved Sewing on!!!  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.  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 ;)   And if you are new to Curved Sewing, now worries.  I will walk you through every little bit of it, and we are learning on big pieces, which makes it much easier ;)

MAKING THE DRUNKARD PATH TEMPLATE

To start, you will need to print off the Drunkards Path Template.   You can find the Drunkard Path Template by clicking right here.  When printing, be sure that the Fit to Page box is not checked and once printed, double check that the 1" square on your printed page is a true 1" square.   Cut out the two paper template pieces. 


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 your template material and trace around them.


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.  It 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 :)



CUTTING THE DRUNKARD PATH PIECES

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 Print 6" x 6 squares and 12 Background 5 1/2" x 5 1/2" squares.   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 cut 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 (video tutorial on Applique ) on another project, so fun!!! 


 This curve cutting takes a little practice to get used to, but just try to 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.  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!!!  And now you should have (12) Crust Pieces, (12) Pie pieces, and (6) Bonus Petals. 



SEWING A DRUNKARD PATH UNIT

So now your Drunkard Path 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 12 so like we have learned, chain stitching will save your lots of time!!!

And 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 unit is pinned and ready to sew.   Go ahead and pin all 12 units.


And now you are ready to sew.   Now before you 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 units you are going to be flying through these ;)  Really, it takes longer to pin them then to sew them.


Chain Stitch all 12 of your Drunkard Path Units, being sure to back-stitch at the beginning and end of each unit.



PRESSING YOUR DRUNKARD PATH UNIT

And now, you are ready to press your units.  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 units together, we don't have 4 layers of bulk right where we only have 1/4" of fabric to sew with :)

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 unit 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 ;)  Use this process to press all 12 of your Drunkard Path Units that now will measure 5 1/2" x  5 1/2".




STEP 4 - MAKING THE CURVY STAR BLOCK

And with your units all done you can now make your Curvy Star Block.  Layout 4 Matching Drunkard Path Units as shown below.  Just like last week, I like to stack up all 3 of my block sets on top of one another so I can Chain Stitch each of the following steps.  You can choose to do this or just make 1 at a time, whatever you are comfortable with.    The tutorial will just go over making 1 block at a time though so it is less confusing.


Place the right hand Units in each column onto the left hand units in each column with right sides together.  Align the sides taking care to align the seam allowance of your curve as well.  Chain stitch a 1/4" seam along the pinned edges.


And when you are stitching the beginning of the Top row and the ending of the Bottom row, be sure and stitch directly alongside of (think practically on top of) the Drunkard Path seam for a 1/4".  This will make your Curvy Star points.


Then press your seams open to avoid bulk.


Place the Top row onto the Bottom row with right sides together.  Align and Pin the seams, again taking care to align the edges of the curved seam.  Stitch a 1/4" seam along the pinned edge.


Press the seams Open.  And now your Curved Center Star is complete and you are ready to add the Outer Star.   Layout the Curved Center Star, 4 Large Flying Geese Units, and 4 Background 5 1/2" x 5 1/2" squares as shown below.


 Place the Outside Units in each column onto the Center Column units with right sides together.  Align your seams, taking care to center the curved seam with the point of the Flying Geese Unit.   Pin, and chain stitch a 1/4" seam along the units in each of the 3 rows on either side of the center units.   And be sure on the center row units, to sew through the middle of the thread X.


Then press your seams in the top and bottom rows outwards towards the Background squares and press the seams in the center row open so it lies flat.


And one last set of seams.  Place the Top and Bottom rows onto the Center row with right sides together.  Align the seams, and Pin them in place.  Stitch a 1/4" seam along the two pinned edges, stitching through the center of the thread X.


 And just press your seams open and you are done!!!!  3 Fantastic Curvy Star Blocks that measure 20 1/2" x 20 1/2" and are all ready for your Seeing Stars Quilt!!!  And again, I don't trim my blocks, but if you like to, just be sure to leave yourself the 1/4" seam allowance at the end of your star points ;)



So now it's your turn, get your Curvy Star Blocks made and your assignment is complete!!!  And then you can 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  Seeing Stars Quilt-Along.



This weeks prize is an Acorn Love Table Runner Kit featuring Lori' Holt's brand new Autumn Love fabric.  How adorable is that table runner and what awesome inspiration to get your blocks made this week!!!  Hopefully the thought of these to cute for words acorns will help motivate you through those curves ;)

    
So what do you have to do for a chance to win the table runner kit?  Simple . . . Just link up your Curvy Star Blocks at the end of this post :)  You can link to a blog post or a social media picture, or whatever.   If you are still not sure how to link up, I wrote a little Linky Tutorial over here, that might help ;)  Just make sure to link up by the early morning of August 29th as I will be announcing a winner in next quilt-a-long post :)

If you don't get your Curvy Star Blocks done by next week you can still link it up :) (just not in time for the prize :) The linky will remain open until the end of the Quilt-Along.  

And Don't forget to add your beautiful Curvy Star Blocks to #seeingstarsquiltalong on social media or at the  Happy Quilting Quilt-A-Long Flickr group.   I am so excited to see all of your amazing Curvy Star Blocks  ;)  You can Sew Curves!!!!  

 Have a Happy Quilting Day!!  

And remember, any questions, just email me at happyquiltingmelissa@gmail.com ;)



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10 comments:

  1. I found it was easier to sew drunkards path blocks with the pieces stacked the other way - so the outside curve and extra fabric is next to the feed dogs, where they can help ease in the extra. Otherwise, the rest I do all the same - including 3 pins :D

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  2. Love this lock & these are great instructions!

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  3. What a great tutorial on sewing curved pieces.

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  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  5. Thanks again for hosting this. Hope to get caught up with both sets of blocks this weekend.

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  6. Oh my goodness I'm so excited to be receiving the Smitten Jelly Roll from Green Fairy Quilts.... Thank you sew much

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    1. congratulations Lori!!!
      Thanks Green Fairy you are Awesome.

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  7. Sorry I forgot to leave my email...doe14rd@yahoo.com

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  8. Hi.. I took a print of the template ., I really want to confirm if the pie and the crust measures 5 1/4”

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

Melissa