How to sew Drunkards Path Quilt Blocks

Get ready to practise your curved piecing! Our Technical Editor Laura has created this Drunkard's Path quilt pattern tutorial for you. Give it a go and we can practise together.

How to sew Drunkards Path quilt blocks

If, like us, you’ve added Carolyn Forster’s Compass quilt from issue 27 of Today’s Quilter magazine to your ‘must make’ list, or one of Lynne Goldsworthy’s Foundation pieced blocks has caught your eye, this Drunkards Path Quilt tutorial is a great place to refresh your curved piecing skills.

How to sew a Drunkard’s Path quilt block

We’ve chosen one of our favourite quilt blocks to practise curved piecing and it’s much simpler than it first seems. We’re going to make four blocks and stitch them together into one gloriously curvy 8in block. Let’s go!

You will need:

Drunkard's Path Quilt Pattern step 0
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Cutting out

Step 1

If using two fabrics, cut from each two (2) background pieces using our template above, and two centres.

Drunkard's Path Quilt Pattern step 1

If you have chosen four (4) fabrics cut one of each shape from each. First draw around the template and then carefully cut out with a rotary cutter or scissors.

Drunkard's Path Quilt Pattern 1b

 

Piecing the quilt block

Step 2

Pair up each background piece with a centre piece from a contrasting fabric then press each piece in half to mark the centres.

Drunkard's Path Quilt Pattern step 2
Drunkard's Path Quilt Pattern step 2b

Try out your new skills

Want to practise your new Drunkard’s Path techniqe? Once you’ve read the rest of this post, head to our sister post for a step by step guide to how to make this Drunkard’s Path Mini Quilt

Drunkards path quilt

Step 3

Next, place the background piece on top of the centre piece, right sides together, aligning the centre creases and the raw edges. Pin through the two layers.

Drunkard's Path Quilt Pattern step 3
Drunkard's Path Quilt Pattern step 3b

Step 4

Line up the flat raw edges of the background piece with the edges of the centre piece. You will need to ease the background piece to line them up properly. Pin at each end. To begin with, we’ll add some more pins. With practice, you’ll be able to piece together the curves together without them!

Drunkard's Path Quilt Pattern step 4
Drunkard's Path Quilt Pattern step 4b

Step 5

Using your fingers, nudge the raw edge of the background piece around the centre background and pin in place. We added an extra two pins on each side.

Drunkard's Path Quilt Pattern step 5

Step 6

Take the unit to the sewing machine. Keeping the background concave piece on top, so you can see how it’s easing around the convex curve, start stitching at one end.

The key to stitching smooth curves is to take it slowly, and stop with the needle down and pivot every few stitches. It’s a great opportunity to use a knee lift if you have one as this will help keep your hands free to control the fabric.

Use your fingers to ease out the top fabric if it starts to fold or pucker up, but remember to handle bias edges gently to avoid stretching them out of shape.

Drunkard's Path Quilt Pattern step 6
Drunkard's Path Quilt Pattern step 6b
Drunkard's Path Quilt Pattern step 6c
Drunkard's Path Quilt Pattern step 6d

Step 7

Once you get to the end, take extra care to make sure the raw edges of the two pieces stay aligned and continue pivoting to keep the seam curved. If you find you have caught any puckers in the seam, you can unpick a few stitches either side, ease it out and restitch.

Drunkard's Path Quilt Pattern step 7
Drunkard's Path Quilt Pattern step 7b

Step 8

Press the seam towards the background fabric, it should naturally lean this way. Use some steam if you need. Trim the block square to 412in. Repeat to make three more Drunkard’s Park blocks.

Drunkard's Path Quilt Pattern step 8
Drunkard's Path Quilt Pattern step 8b
Drunkard's Path Quilt Pattern step 8c
Drunkard's Path Quilt Pattern step 8d

Step 9

Stitch the four blocks together in a layout that pleases you. Your block will be 812in square.

Drunkard's Path Quilt Pattern step 9

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Tips and tricks for curved piecing

  • Sometimes a template will be marked with dots or notches to help you line up the two curves. Transfer these onto the wrong side of the fabric and pin together at these points.
  • If you find your block has a tight curve and won’t sit flat after pressing, the curves may need clipping. Make a few notches up to but not over the seam, evenly spaced around the convex curve only.
  • Start stitching your seam on a piece of scrap ‘leader’ fabric, this will avoid thread tangling into a birds nest on the reverse of the fabric.
  • If a quilt has a lot of curved blocks, like Drunkard’s Path, Apple Core or Rob Peter to Pay Paul blocks, you might consider investing in a die cutter for cutting lots of shapes accurately. Alternatively, a small rotary cutter blade will make it easier to cut accurate curves than the standard 45mm.