Note: Today's post is a terrific tutorial from Stitch designer and project editor Katrina Loving, who makes the most challenging sewing and design projects look easy. Here are her steps for joining two pieces with opposing curves.
Joining Two Opposing
Joining opposing curves can be daunting, but with the right
technique, it really isn't all that difficult. I've chosen to demonstrate by
sewing a partial muslin sample of the pattern pieces for Heidi Boyd's sweet Baby Bear project shown at right,
from Stitch Spring 2009.
The pattern requires two opposing curves to be joined to create a curved seam
between the upper and lower body of the bear, joining the bear head and arms to the bear torso and legs in a curved seam (scroll down to Figure 3, front view, below, to see the muslin pattern pieces joined).
This technique is also appropriate for joining a curved edge
to a straight edge, a longer piece to a shorter piece, and is even similar to
setting in a sleeve. Each of these processes requires easing the pieces
together for a smooth seam that is free of tucks or gathers.
I hope these tips will give you the confidence to tackle that
sewing project you've had your eye on.
Step 1: Place the
two pieces right sides together (unless otherwise instructed by the pattern)
and pin the edges together at the center. There will usually be central notches
to match up, but if not, find the center point of each piece and mark this
point at the raw edge, then align the marks.
Step 2: Pin the
pieces together at each end or at the indicated notches. Then continue pinning
the edges together between the pins, easing the pieces together. Allow the
fabric to "bubble" evenly between pins, making sure that the edges still match
up as smoothly as possible. You will be forcing the excess fabric away from the
edge by smoothing it back, away from the edges as you pin (Figure 1).
Step 3: With the
edges pinned together, sew the seam. Go slowly, adjusting the fabric as necessary
to avoid sewing tucks into the seam by smoothing any bubbles away from the
edges and into the fabric below the seam allowance with your fingers. You may have to
stretch the fabric gently as you sew to keep the fabric smooth along the
seamline. Just be careful not to pull the fabric too much, you don't want to
warp the piece, you just want to keep the edges as evenly matched as possible.
Although this step will take some time and concentration, you'll be much
happier with the result if you go slowly and keep your eyes peeled for unwanted
sure that you are not pinning tucks in place as you go,
and don't be afraid to use a lot of pins! Generally, when easing two
together, the more pins you use, the easier it will be to sew them
you pin the opposing curves together, you will find that
you have to gently pull the edge of one curve (probably the convex
curve) up to
meet the edge of the other curve (the concave curve) as you move outward
the center point, as shown in the sketch below. Make this adjustment
with small movements, pinning the
often. If you try to pull up too much fabric at once, you'll just end up
edges that are not evenly matched and tucks in your seam.
Step 4: Clip the
seam allowances at intervals, being careful not to cut through the stitching.
Press the seam allowances open, pressing over a tailor's ham if you have one
(it will be easier to press the curved seam over the rounded shape of the
tailor's ham). This allows the seam to lie flat (Figure 2).
Figure 3 shows
the finished seam from the back and the front. You want the seam to be
without tucks or gathers caught in the seam. Once the teddy bear is
and stuffed, the curved seam will be smooth, which means success!
FIGURE 3 - BACK VIEW
FIGURE 3 - FRONT VIEW