Improv. Curved Placemats Tutorial


By Judith on May 4, 2018
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In keeping with our ‘curves’ theme this term, my monthly ‘5 minute lesson’ in classes this week was all about Improv. (improvisational) curves.

 

As the name suggests ‘improv.’ means you pretty much go with the flow and make up the curves as you go.  No two curves are the same, and there are much fewer rules to abide by than with standard pieced curves. You don’t even have to worry about an even seam allowance (gasp!).

 

You can imagine how well this technique went down with all my rebellious non-conformists (you know who you are!!).

 

There are many examples of improv. curves on Pinterest (see my Curves Pinterest Board here).  And to give an example of these in class, I made some improv. curved placemats, in the lovely coastal Beachcomber fabrics by Makower.

 

Improv Curves Placemat tutorial (2)

 

Here is the tutorial on how to make my Improv. Curved Placemats (makes 4 x 15 1/4″ diameter mats).

 

You will need:

Between Nine and Twelve 10″ squares (I used Beachcomber by Makower)

50cm of Wadding or Insul Bright Heat Resistant Wadding

50cm of calico

1 metre of Heat Resistant Non-Slip Table Protector (at least 35″ wide)

4.5 metres of 3/4″ wide bias binding

Co-ordinating threads

505 Basting Spray

 

Method: Assume 1/4″ seams

1 Place 2 squares of fabric on the cutting mat, right sides facing up, and overlapping.  The wider the overlap, the deeper the curves can be.  I usually overlap by 2-3″ (I am using up a smaller piece of fabric here to overlap the 10″ square).

 

 

2 Using a rotary cutter, cut a curve up through the overlapped section.

 

 

3 Remove the excess pieces (this will be the smaller piece of the right hand fabric and the smaller/underneath piece of the left hand fabric). The remaining pieces should fit neatly together.

 

 

4 Sew the 2 pieces right sides together.  It is easier to do this by straightening the underneath piece with your right hand and lifting up the top piece with your left hand.  Don’t worry if your seam allowance isn’t even the whole way down, just make sure there are no tucks.

 

 

5 Press the seam to the darkest fabric.

 

 

6 Repeat steps 2-5 for a third piece of fabric, over lapping the left hand edge of the first piece.

 

 

7 Spray baste the curved pieces, wadding and calico together (tutorial on spray basting available here).

 

 

8 Quilt the mats, starting centrally and working towards the outer edges.  I quilted in the ditches and then’echo’ quilted the curved seams 1/2″ apart.

 

 

9 Place a round plate or bowl on top and draw around it.  Cut along the line and remove the excess.  Put to one side.

 

 

10 Place the same plate/bowl onto the felted side of the non-slip table protector.  Draw around it and cut out.

 

 

11 Machine tack the table protector to the wrong side of the mat, making sure the felted side is on the inside. Machine tacking means using a large stitch on your machine, and stitching close to the edges.  If you find the rubberised table protector resisting or sticking to your sewing machine, make sure the rubberised side is facing up and engage the dual feed/walking foot on your machine.  If you don’t have these, stick some matt scotch tape to the underside of your presser foot keeping clear of the needle opening.

 

 

12 Open out the bias binding, and leaving a few inches unsewn at the start, attach the binding around the edge of the mat using a scant 1/4″ seam allowance, stopping a few inches short at the end (remember to use a quilting size stitch length here, not a tacking stitch).

 

 

13 Place the end of the bias binding over the start and measure and mark 1/2″ overlap.  Trim off the excess.

 

 

14 Open out the binding and sew the short ends together using 1/4″ seam allowance.

 

 

15 Finger press the seam open and finish sewing down the remaining binding to the mat.

16 Snip all around the edge of the mat at 1cm intervals, taking care not to cut the stitches.

 

 

17 Push the binding over to the back of the mat.  Pin in the ditch from the front, making sure the binding is caught at the back.

 

 

18 Stitch in the ditch from the front side finishing with a reverse stitch.

 

 

And you’re finished!

Improv Curves Placemats

 

Adorn your table with your beautiful mats and wait for the compliments!

 

Improv Curves Placemats

 

So why not have a go at this organic and fun technique!

 

I hope you enjoy your venture into improv. curves!

 

Happy curving!

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Table Runner & Mats!


By Judith on March 28, 2016
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Seapark, Holywood

It was a typical spring day here today!  Sunshine and showers!

 

Seapark, Holywood

 

Our walk along the beach was what you would call ‘bracing’! But no matter the season, there is always beauty to be found.

 

Seapark, Holywood

 

Back in the warmth of the indoors, let’s talk table runners!

 

DP Table Runner & Mats (British Patchwork & Quilting, April'16)
Photo courtesy of British Patchwork & Quilting

 

This is my Drunkard’s Path Table Runner and Mats set, as featured in the April issue of British Patchwork & Quilting.

 

DP Table Runner & Placemats - British Patchwork & Quilting (April16)

The inspiration for this design came from the lovely Aylin, who I’ve had the pleasure of meeting in person (love our blogging community!).  Aylin very kindly gave me permission to develop this design further, following the beautiful cushion she made.

 

DP Table Runner & Placemats - British Patchwork & Quilting (April16)
The curves are achieved by using an age old patchwork technique called ‘drunkard’s path’.  This is a modern twist, and I love the many variations the Drunkard’s Path units can create.
It is important to cut out the templates accurately when tackling curved piecing, but if you have a Sizzix cutting machine, you are guaranteed speed and accuracy! The Drunkard’s Patch Sizzix dies don’t come cheap, (you need 2 dies to make up the DP unit) but in my opinion they are well worth the money.
DP Table Runner & Placemats - British Patchwork & Quilting (April16)

There are several ways to sew curves, and as with any technique you haven’t tried before, I recommend practicing on some fabric scraps first. This pattern explains the ‘no pin’ method of sewing curves, which may seem daunting at first, but it is much quicker than traditional methods and you quickly get into a rhythm with it.

 

So if you love sewing curves as much as me, pick up a copy of BPQ today!

Edited: This pattern is now available to purchase from here.

 

Keep warm!

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