Thursday, July 23, 2009

Thinking About Curved Seams

Ruminating on ... Curved Seams...
copyright, The Quilt Complex, 2009

Why are there so many more (antique) pieced quilts made with straight seams than made with curved seams?

Is the answer the obvious one ~ that straight seams are simply much easier to execute?

Are curved seams that much more difficult to piece?

There are a few designs incorporating curved seams that are fairly common.

Two of those popular designs are shown above: The red and white is "Drunkard's Path" (circa 1910), and the one just above is a detail of a circa 1930's "Double Wedding Ring."

Nonetheless, we see FAR fewer curved seam quilts in the 19th and early 20th centuries than we see straight seams.

Below are some more examples of curved seams pieced quilts.

These with more complex designs than the two above; below we see curved seams combined with points, sometimes elongated points.

Detail, "Caesar's Crown," circa 1840

Detail, "Mariner's Compass," circa 1880

Full Shot (above) and Detail (below)
"New York Beauty," circa 1880, Southern United States


  1. If you can come up with a method to chain piece quickly...I'd be interested in sewing more curves!

  2. My first quilt was a king size drunkards path...mainly because I was clueless on how tough the curves would be! I also think some quilters avoid curved patterns because you "waste" more fabric.

    The photos are gorgeous as always...

  3. Well, thanks for the comments, all of you. I ALWAYS welcome and appreciate them...

    Rabbit Factory: I am not a quilt maker -- which puts me at a distinct disadvantage as I study and write about antique quilts. This is why I ask YOU good people some of these (perhaps) elementary questions. :)


  4. Oh they are all delightful, and the hand quilting is to die wonderful they survived for us to enjoy. Lovely, thanks for sharing.

    Happy Sewing