Monday 1 September 2014

Tutorial - Baseball Curves Block

The following tutorial has been written to assist my fellow Quilty Sisters in making their Baseball Curves bee blocks. 

I have purposely NOT included measurements or the templates for this block as it is subject to copyright.  If you would like the pattern for this block, please purchase the book: "Modern Bee - 13 Quilts To Make With Friends" by Lindsay Conner.  It is an excellent book and the profits will go to those who are due them.

Yes it looks scary, but no it really isn't THAT bad!! I actually found this to be a rather quick & easy block to make (despite stopping every few minutes to document the process).  And yes, this was my first attempt.  If you have ever made toys, clothes or sewn curves, I don't think you should have any real dramas with this block. 

IMPORTANT!  DO NOT cut out your (A) piece (the one that looks like a bow tie) with the grain line!!!  IGNORE the arrow symbol in the book and ignore the grain line.  If the inner dressmaker in you follows the symbol you will end up having issues when up join the pieces together.  Also when you cut your low volume pieces, add about 1/2" to 1" extra length to each side.
 Cut out your templates.  Template A is only shown as half so fold your fabric in half and make sure the fold is down at the correct end of the fabric.  Pin the template to fabric.  (TIP) where the template says "Half of pattern" I folded this edge of the template and tucked the fold under the folded over fabric to stop it from moving and then pinned it in place. 
 Carefully cut ON the cutting line (which is the darker line of the template.  The dashed line represents the 1/4" sewing line). I used a ruler & rotary cutter on the straight sides & just the rotary cutter on the curves but if you are more confident to use scissors go for it.  If in doubt then trim a millimetre outside the cutting line. 

This is how your centre piece (A) should look once it is cut out.
OK, since I am so blonde I didn't realise that B comes after A, I chose to cut out the (C) pieces next ;0)
You will need 2 pieces so again I folded over the fabric and cut both pieces at once. I pinned the template to the fabric & used my ruler and rotary cutter to cut the straight edges and carefully cut the curves on the solid line using either rotary cutter or scissors.
We now have 2 (C) pieces cut out. YAY
Now cut out 2 pieces from template (B).  Again I folded over the fabric, pinned the template and cut both pieces at the same time.  Congratulations, you are now an expert pinner & cutter outer of templates WOOHOO ;0)


And here they are. 
Easy peasy.
The 5 cut out pieces should look like this >>>>
Now the fun begins. It's time to sew the pieces together! 

Start with (A) and a (B). 
Fold (A) in half and finger press the centre line. 
Do the same with (B). 

With (A) on top, match up the folded lines and pin together.  Make sure the edges are properly aligned.  Follow the curve and pin the two pieces together flattening & gently stretching the fabrics as you go.  As we have cut a curve into the fabric the fabric will be a bit stretchy.  Do not pull it too tight, just be gentle and use LOTS of pins. This is how it should look once it is pinned. (TIP) I spaced my pins out every 1/4" to 1/2".

Now for the scary part (queue music...) it's time to sew.  Use your 1/4" foot, sew slowly, & don't forget to breathe.  Make sure edges are properly aligned as you slowly stitch around the curve.  Use your finger to carefully guide the fabric through the machine along the curve making sure to flatten out any wrinkles or bumps and remove pins as you come to them.  You might need to gently manoeuvre (or gently stretch) the fabric as you go. The book recommends to position one hand near the presser foot & one between the fabric layers being sewn together for extra control.

How did you go?  Breathing again?  On page 94 the book shows how they have clipped the curves to help the fabric sit flat.  My mum was a dress maker before she retired & I was given her pinking sheers so I have used these on ALL OF MY CURVES.  Clip or snip close to the stitching line but be careful not to snip through your stitches otherwise you will need to re sew it.

When making something like this I prefer to press as I go.  That way I can identify any issues and tackle them head on.  For curves I prefer to gently press along the sewing line and then do as Darth Vader suggests and "Press towards the Dark Side!"

This is how it should look.  It should sit completely flat.  If it doesn't, check that you have followed all instructions properly so far. 

(TIP) If I have a stubborn seem that refuses to lie flat I often spray it with some water from a spray bottle and then press it with a hot dry iron until it yields.

We now want to sew a (C) to our (AB).  Finger press a centre line in your (C) and your (AB) piece.  Match up the folded centre lines and pin together.  Continue to pin the two pieces together just like you did before.

This is how it should look when pinned. >>>

Sew the (C) and the (AB) together just like you previously sewed the (A) and the (B) together.  Clip/snip along your curve and press towards the dark side with a hot dry iron (using a water spray if needed).

I have shown a back and a front view of how it should look once pressed.  It should lie completely flat once pressed.

Once you are happy with your joined (ABC) it is time to join the second (B). 
Finger press the centres.
Match up centre points & pin together.

Next find your centre points of your (ABBC) and the second (C).
Finger press the centres.
Match up centre points & pin together.
Wahoo out loud because you're nearly done!

Check for flatness as you go.  If you find that your block starts to stick up a bit, iron it from the centre of the block pressing slowly out to each side and manoeuvre the fabric gently with your hands as you go.  Remember the fabric will have some stretch to it so be gentle and if it refuses to yield, spray that rebel with water and press it flat.  Show it who's the boss!  YOU ARE!
Guess what.  You're finished! 
It should now look something like this:
Now that wasn't so hard after all was it?
Don't forget that Jo has asked us NOT TO TRIM our blocks as she wants to do that herself to make sure that all the curves line up.

A special thanks to Kelly and Julie for your feedback and experimentation.  Sharing the problems that you experienced with this block has helped us to work out ways to help others when they go to make their blocks.  Much Liberty fabric was sacrificed in the name of research trying to sort out the grain line issues.



  1. It looks great Fiona! I never even thought of using pinking shears for learn something new everyday ;)

    1. That was a tip I learnt from Mum - she's an retired dress maker. The pinking sheers also stop the fabric from freying

  2. Great tutorial thanks Fiona :) I did similar on my Modern Medallion quilt centre

  3. You make it look so easy! I will definitely look back on this when I have to make this block. Thank you for your hard work and pictures!

    1. It WAS surprisingly easier (& quicker) than I anticipated!! I think we are often scared off by the unfamiliar


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