To piece the circles for the Rockabilly Baby quilt, I sewed full circles into the background fabric. Today, I thought I’d share with you how I put them together via a photo tutorial.
The circles I made for the Rockabilly Baby Quilt finish at 8-inches in diameter. I created a half circle template set to use, and you can download the 8-Inch Half Circle / Arch Template set here. Print out the template at actual size, checking to make sure that the reference square measures 1-inch.
You will also need material for your circle (I recommend at least 9-inches square), material for your background (I recommend at least 11-inches square), and a fabric marking device of your choice.
Note that I do not recommend you use fabric scissors to cut out the paper templates. I like to leave one “tape this edge” side to make it easier to tape the templates together.
Align the templates and tape together. I like to tape the front and back for more stability. If you left an edge along the half circle template as I indicated in the previous photo, a quick trim of the angle will probably be necessary to form the half circle shape.
Cut your circle fabric down to 9-inches square and your background fabric to at least an inch larger than your unfinished block size. In this case, I plan to trim the block to 10-inches square, so I cut the background fabric to 11-inches square.
With the folded edge of the fabric facing down, align your templates. Note that because the templates are actually half circle templates, they contain a 1/4-inch seam allowance. Because we are making full circles, just move the template down to align the 1/4-inch seam allowance line with the folded edge of fabric prior to tracing with your favorite tool to mark fabric.
With the fabric still folded in half, cut along the marked line, this time using your fabric scissors. 😉
I fold and press the units two more times to create indication marks to help align the two parts as I sew.
When I open the fabric (right sides up), I look for a firmly pressed line that folds up on the circle and place it at the 3 o-clock position and a line that folds down on the background fabric and place it at the 3 o’clock position.
Slide the circle under the background fabric, …
…and flip the background fabric to align the cut edges …
…while nesting the pressed indication lines. At this point you may chose to pin around the circle, aligning the various indication lines. Or you can be a free spirit (like me) and align the marks as you sew.
One word of caution if you do not pre-pin your fabric. Make sure that you place your fabric at the machine like the image above. You do not want your circle on one side of the presser foot and your background fabric on the other side of the presser foot, which is easy to do.
I align the fabric one indication mark at a time and sew slowly through the arc. One of the best tools to use as you sew the pieces together is a stiletto; it can help keep your fabrics aligned as it moves under the presser foot.
I sew a few stitches, re-position the fabric, and lift the presser foot often as I progress along the circle.
I marvel at the way the piece looks just after the seam is finished being sewn!
To help keep the circle in the center of the trimmed block, I use the pressed lines that are still visible on the circle to align the center of the block. In this example, because I want to trim to 10-inches, I align the 5 inch lines along the fold lines of the circle.
Sewing curves is easier the larger the curve size. These 8-inch finished circles were doable, but larger would be easier. For a larger half circle template, you can check out my Connection Block tutorial on Sew Mama Sew from last September.