Tutorial – curved piecing or drunkards path.

I am making a very modern style quilt for the exhibition with Modern Quilters Ireland. We had a very first exhibition two years ago and this time again we will be in St. Patrick’s hospital in Dublin. The theme for this exhibition is ‘Fun’ and I am making a scrappy circle quilt on low volume background. I just started quilting it today and hope to finish soon!

finished top

Those scrappy circles are pieced as foundation paper piecing and about 1/2″ wide. They were all meant be 1/2″ but in the end they were slightly wider.

First I thought hand appliquéing them on the background because that’s slower but easier and less mistake option. But I just didn’t want to hand sew this time and there wouldn’t be a fun without pain! So I machine stitched. Yes, my seam ripper was my best friend and she was very, very helpful.


Now, the tutorial of how to piece quarter circle or drunkards path block.

To make quarter circles, I printed templates and sewed big enough scraps on it and then trimmed all the excess fabric.

Since those circles are 1/2″ wide, I cut a quarter circle off from a square and inserted scrappy circles there. No waste 🙂

To mark the seam line, place a template and draw the line with a fine marker. I use mechanical chalk marker because they are always sharp.

marking 01

marking 02

Since the marked line is outside of the template, cut just inside of the line, not on the line. As a result, the marked line is on the larger piece if you can see.

cutting 01

Fold the fabrics in half to find centre of the curve. Those creased lines are the centre.

folding centre

Place the fabric with concave on right side up and the convex one wrong side up. Match the centre and pin. Make sure the V shapes on both side of pin look the same otherwise it will get distorted when stitched.

pinning 01

Pin two ends by make sure the straight edges are in a same place, not the curves. I weave a pin to make sure they stay together all the way down not just the seam line. You can use two pins too.

pinning 02

Pin curved lines as many as you like. I find it’s easier if I bent the fabric, like in a photo below.

Sew them together with 1/4″ seam allowance as accurate as possible. If you lift the tail end, they fit together easier. Stop and re position whenever you need.


Both seam allowance should be folded towards the inner curve. That way, either of seam allowance don’t need to be stretched.

pieced 01


Repeat the process with the quarter circle piece of fabric and you are done.

pieced 02

finished block01

Note ; Circles with bigger diameter is easier to sew.

I actually folded all the seam allowance towards the scrappy circles to give them bump. Since they are stitched, the seams act like snips to ease the stretch. If you are making it with one piece of fabric, you will need to snip in few places.

back of top

You see, seam allowance are almost covering up the circle parts. Almost.




4 thoughts on “Tutorial – curved piecing or drunkards path.

  1. If I ever tried to do that by machine, the seam ripper would be retired after one circle. You make it all look so easy! I really like those bright circles on the neutral background.

  2. Pingback: Thicket Critter baby quilt pattern – Slaney HandCraft

  3. Pingback: Thicket Critter baby quilt pattern – Slaney Quilting Studio

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