Saturday, March 05, 2011

"Single Girl" Support Group: Piecing an arc

The organizers of the "Single Girl" Quilt Along are taking turns sharing construction tips and techniques, so I thought I would join in the sharing.  All of us working on these quilts are using Denyse Schmidt's very well-designed pattern.  This is not a quilt that you can "fudge" on and get good results and this starts at the very beginning of the process.  Since I'm working on my third "Single Girl" quilt, I am speaking from experience with the pattern as well as nearly 50 years of sewing.  Accuracy is extremely importance from tracing templates, to cutting fabric pieces, to maintaining a quarter-inch seam in piecing.

Because you are piecing curves, the pieces do not line up perfectly as they go when you are piecing squares.  I've shown the quarter-inch gauge next to the little corner of the fabric that hangs out when you start to piece.

The first two pieces are sewn together and pressed. They should be even at the top and bottom.

I press all the seams in one direction. Pressing is something else that is important.  Not only does it make your piecing look nice, it helps with accuracy when piecing two sections together.

Here's another view of the little tail of fabric.

If you are having trouble getting the pieces even at the top and bottom, try this little test.  Put two pins parallel to the edge of the fabric right where your quarter-inch seam will be.

Next, flip open the fabric to see if the two pieces are even at the top and bottom.  Once you've sewn a few rings, you will get better at "eye-balling" where the pieces need to go.

I sew the larger quarter circle piece to the arch first.  I fold it in half and finger press it at the center.

Next, I fold the arch in half and finger press it at the center.

I marked the photo with a red line so you can see where the creases are.

Bring the two creases together with right sides together and pin.

Pin one edge.  The arc and the background fabric should be even.

Next, pin the other edge.

If you have "fudged" with the templates, the cutting, or the piecing, this is where it will all come to roost.
If you've been accurate, the arch and the background pieces should go together without much fuss.

This is a quarter-inch foot.  If you are a quilter, it is worth every penny it may cost to purchase one for your machine.  It eliminates guessing or the need to mark a quarter inch seam line.  Get the right tools for the job.

I press the seam toward the background pieces.  It will minimize a bunchy-looking seam.

To put on the smaller background piece, fold it in half and finger press at the center and then do the same with the piece you just sewed at the top of the arc.

Pin the center, then each of the ends and work to the middle.

The block after the final press.


Mary on Lake Pulaski said...

I'm not there yet, but thanks Dana! I posted my fabric choices on flickr. This will definitely help when I get to piecing.

Dana W. Fisher said...

You're welcome, Mary. I'm excited to see yours come together. You always have such great fabric combinations in your quilts.
Warm regards,

Donna~~ said...

Found your blog while searching "Single Girl" and have enjoyed seeing your quilts. (love the greens!) Your tutorials are really helpful. I have ordered the pattern and am trying to learn a bit more about it so I can be ready when it comes--also working on a few other things. Could you tell me, are the strips cut 3.5 inches--would that be large enough to cut the templates? (I would like to cut a few out of the fabrics I am using now for another project without having to get them out again--my sewing room is such a mess already).

Dana W. Fisher said...

Hi Donna,
the "Single Girl" Quilt Along organizers suggest the 3 1/2 inch strips. Here's a link to the instructions:

Check out the pictures on the Flickr site, too. There's a button on the right of my blog for the Single Girl Support Group. There are also lots of postings from other people making these quilts.

Thanks so much for your visit. Have fun making your "Single Girl" quilt.
All the best,

Michele said...

This looks challenging :-) I will have to go check out the Flickr group......I wish I would have known about this when it started, it looks like fun :-)

Dana W. Fisher said...

Hi Michele,
Feel free to jump in on the "Single Girl" quilt along and the support group. It's very easy-going--no deadlines or anything. The pattern is so striking visually and I think it's wonderful fun choosing the fabrics and constructing it, too.
All the best,

Barb said...

This is going to look soooo awesome...

Dana W. Fisher said...

Thanks, Barb.
All the best,

epban said...

Thanks for posting these pictures and helpful hints. I've pieced 6 rings but am afraid of the arc!

Dana W. Fisher said...

You are very welcome. Don't be afraid. Just plunge right in--nothing ventured, nothing gained.
All the best,