Sewing a gentle curve is not much of a problem.
Sewing round a sharp curve well is a skill.
Make sure the fabric stays flat while you’re stitching.
Don’t force the fabric round a curve.
If you pull the fabric straight to make it easier to sew, you pull the fabric out of shape, and it’s likely to stay that way.
Do (stop – lift presser foot – pivot fabric – lower presser foot – stitch) to release the fabric distortions round a curve.
I find sewing slowly does reduce the need to pivot.
Reason for taking this trouble : draw some practice curves on paper, and stitch along them by pulling the paper straight instead of stopping to pivot. You’ll find the feed dogs crumple the paper. You want to avoid a similar effect on fabric.
This is another of those sewing processes which looks like a hassle extra step, but makes a big difference to the finished quality.
2 skills to learn.
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Sew 1 or 2 stitches at a time, using the foot pedal
This amount of control isn’t possible on some cheaper machines.
On other machines it may take some practice to find the right amount of time and pressure on the foot pedal that gets just 1 or 2 stitches.
Check if your machine has any special help with this. My newest machine has a speed control.
If you have difficulty sewing one stitch at a time using the machine foot pedal :
rotate the fly wheel by hand, one stitch at a time.
(Rotate the wheel so the top moves towards you.)
This is called ‘walking’ the stitching.
If you have to make the stitches by hand, the whole process of sewing a sharp curve is quite slow. You have to both lift the presser foot and rotate the fly wheel by hand.
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Develop a knack for stitch-pivot
The pivoting needn’t be slow if you can use the foot pedal to sew 1 or 2 stitches at a time.
Here’s the sequence of steps :
Stop with the needle in the fabric.
Lift the presser foot lever just the small amount needed so the fabric can move freely. You may be able to do this with the top of your hand or finger.
Much easier and quicker if your machine has a knee operated presser foot lifter. Or a foot pedal which operates the presser foot.
Pivot the fabric, so the presser foot points along the next section of the curve.
Lower the presser foot.
Sew one or two stitches.
The sign that you need to lift the pressure foot and rotate the fabric is that the fabric isn’t laying flat in front of the presser foot.
With practice you learn to co-ordinate hands and foot and can do this quite quickly.
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You’re sewing along a bias edge, so it’s easy to pull the fabric out of shape. Make sure the fabric is lying flat and on grain as you sew, so you don’t sew in some distortion.
Here’s a pdf of a spiral. Print some copies and practice sewing round the spiral in both directions.
When you can sew round that smoothly, you can do anything 😀
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