Pieced curves, like those found in the classic Drunkard’s Path pattern, add grace and fluidity to the top design of any quilt. But many quilters shy away from curved piecing because of the presumed level of difficulty and the additional cutting and sewing time. It’s true that Drunkard’s Path blocks will not go together as quickly as a Nine-patch, but if you’re ready to go just a bit beyond your comfort zone, there are ways to streamline the construction process.
Until a few weeks ago, I assumed templates were the most reliable method for cutting and piecing curved blocks. I used templates to make my Meditation quilt (pattern in the July 2011 issue of American Quilter magazine). But after attending an AccuQuilt retreat in early June at the company’s headquarters in Fremont, Nebraska, I discovered the ease with which Drunkard’s Path blocks can be cut and sewn—no marking and very little pinning necessary!
AccuQuilt offers Drunkard’s Path dies for its Go! Fabric Cutter in two finished sizes, 3 ½” and 7”. When you cut your fabric with these dies, the resulting patches are exactly the correct size and include a small notch on the curved edge of both pieces to facilitate accurate sewing. After cutting, you match the notches on both curved pieces and pin in place. Add a few more pins at each end and wherever necessary in on either side of the notch. Then stitch an accurate quarter-inch seam, press the seam to one side, and you’re done. This method is quicker and more accurate than using templates—I’m now a convert!
At the retreat, each participant brought her own fabric and used the AccuQuilt cutters and Pfaff sewing machines provided by Country Traditions Quilt Shop to construct an entire quilt top in just a couple days. (Mine is almost complete.) A young mother of twin 3-year-old boys, Mary Ellen Dalhouse constructed her first-ever quilt top at the retreat using fun Dr. Seuss fabrics.
The retreat concluded with show-and-tell of projects participants had made using AccuQuilt cutters and dies. Among the many beautiful quilts shown that night was this standout by Ellie Starbuck. She used a variety of AccuQuilt applique dies to create this floral design quilt, which she quilted, embroidered, and embellished.
There were 72 quilters at this retreat. I hope some of you will send photos of you and your completed Drunkard’s Path quilts to me at firstname.lastname@example.org for posting on this blog. Happy stitching!
by Christine N. Brown
Editor-in-Chief, American Quilter Magazine