2022 Aug BOM - 12 inch Improv Curves Block

09/29/2022 3:11 PM | Gail Luther (Administrator)

Previously posted by Em Komiskey on stlmqg.blogpost.com

Welcome to Month Eight of the St. Louis Modern Quilt Guild 2022 Block of the Month Sampler! Only 3 months to go (including this one) until we have all the blocks to finish our quilts!

Remember to post your block to Instagram with the hashtag #stlmqgbom before the September meeting to be entered to win this month's prize. If you don't use Instagram, you may email a photo to the guild email.

This month, we will be making TWO 12.5-inch (unfinished) improv CURVE blocks!


Cut 2 squares of fabric, about 15 inches each. Why so much bigger than our unfinished block size of 12.5 inches? The thing to remember when you're sewing in an improvisational or unstructured way is that seam allowances are not included! Thus, we need to add in extra room in our blocks to accommodate the fabric that will be in the seam allowance. 

Note: I originally cut my blocks at 14 inches. Reach on to find out why this didn't work out and how I solved the problem! 

Stack your squares on top of one another and use a rotary cutter to make one more gentle curves through both layers of fabric. 

Gentle curves will be easier to sew than sharper/steeper curves. 

Single direction curves will be easier to sew than multi-directional curves. What do I mean by that? Take a look at my middle cut in the image above. From the bottom, the cut begins curving to the right, but then I cut so it turns slightly back to the left. 


Begin by marking the approximate mid-point of each of your curves on both sides of your cut. Mark both pieces of fabric in the SAME PLACE! (See how I've flipped back the top fabric to mark the fabric underneath in the same place?) If your cut is more or less straight before it begins to curve, you will mark the mid point of the curved part of the cut only. 

Rearrange your fabric pieces so that your two colors/prints are mixed up. 

Flip one piece of fabric so that it is right sides together with the adjacent piece of the same curve. Pin at the place you marked. 

I only use one pin to sew these curves. If you like, you can ease the seam together and use 57 pins to keep it together. It's your quilt; do what works for you!

If you're just using one pin, use your hands to ease the two edges even around the curve on one side of the pin until you get to the point where you will start sewing. You match your edges so that you can determine where you will start sewing because the fabric will not be even after it is sewn. There is fabric along the curve that will disappear into the seam allowance. 

Carefully sew along the curve, matching your edges as you go. 

I will post a video of this on https://www.instagram.com/stlmqg/

Press to one side. I like to press on the back, then flip and press on the front. I like to place the thumb and first finger of my free hand on each side of the seam as a press to make sure the seam along the curve is open all the way as I press. 

Repeat with your remaining curves. 

Trim to 12.5 inches. If you started with a large enough piece of fabric, you're done! Yay! Way to go!

My finished block was not large enough to trim to 12.5 inches. Oh no! I thought that starting with fabric 1.5 inches larger would leave plenty of room for seam allowance. This would have worked if I would have had fewer curves, or if my curves were less curvy. It's okay, though, because this is improv. So let's fix it. 

I'm going to add on one more curve, with this green to bring my block up to size. 

Layer the fabric for the next curve under your other piece, leaving enough room to account for the seam allowance. The ruler marks the edge of the fabric underneath because the full curve must be cut through both pieces of fabric. 

Using a rotary cutter, cut a gentle curve through both pieces of fabric. 

As before, mark the approximate mid-point of the curve on both sides of the cut. Flip the two pieces right sides together, pinning at the mark. Ease around the edge to find the point where you will begin sewing, then carefully sew around the curve. 

Hooray! My block is now large enough to trim to 12.5 inches! 

My second block was also just a little too small. I used the piece I cut off the first block when I added the green to make my second block a little bit larger. 

Two finished improv curve blocks!!

St. Louis Modern Quilt Guild is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization. 216 Parkland Ave, St. Louis, MO 63122

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