how to sew wavy lines.

it has come to my attention that more sewing tutorials are needed, so here goes nothing. today's topic is sewing together wavy lines, also known as sewing a curved seam. i put this tutorial together at the behest of mrs. nipper knapp, who jumped ship from "easy" quilts (actually no quilt is ever easy, but some are less complicated) and found herself smack in the middle of sewing a "simple" quilt. ahhh, the wonderful world of simple quilts...complicated messes wrapped up in designs that scream "i am simple, try me!!" anyhow, long story short, she needed some pointers on sewing curves, so i came up with this and am now sharing it for the world to enjoy.

step 1. cut a piece of fabric in half with wavy line. assuming you are sewing together different fabrics, layer them on top of each other, with enough overlap to accommodate your wavy line, before you cut. this way the seams will line up. if you are quilting, you can put multiple fabrics on top of each other (cut them slightly larger than your desired final piece) and switch around the colors after the cut. sew them together, and voila you are on your way to a fancy wavy-lined quilt.

step 2. flip one half so right sides are together...the seams do not match - don't panic.

step 3. make the first part of seam match and start sewing with a small seam allowance (i use 1/8"). if you use a bigger seam allowance, you will need to do a lot more snipping (see step 7) and/or trim the entire seam allowance with pinking shears, so that the seam allowance fabric can "bend" around the curves.

step 4 & 5. as you sew, keep moving the top layer so that the edges stay together. make sure the needle is in the down position any time you do any wiggling.

step 6. you should end up with a semi-ugly seam.

step 7. iron the seam (i prefer to iron the seams open), cutting little slices into the seam allowance in any hard curves where one side of the seam doesn't want to lay flat.

step 8. spray with starch and iron from the top...it should be golden.

a note about starch. starch is your friend. use it GENEROUSLY, because it not only makes things iron pretty and flat, it helps them stay the way you intended, AND it is sizing, so the fabric won't stretch and buckle when you do lots of piecing. i have never actually measured, but i wouldn't be surprised if i use a half a bottle of starch per quilt. since the question came up, i use niagara. it was what was available the first time i bought starch and it worked, so i have stuck with it. i recently found a non-aerosol version at the store and i switched to that..works like a charm.

aerosol on the left, non-aerosol on the right. both work fine...

happy wavy sewing!!!


  1. Thanks for the tutorial. I think I have it now...but using different colored fabrics for the demo may have made things easier to see.

    Regardless, I appreciate you taking the time to post this.


  2. you're welcome!!

    if i ever have a chance, i will update the pictures to show contrasting fabrics, so the pictures will be clearer. thanks for the idea. :)

  3. Thank you. This is a big help. I have been trying to sew a skirt with alternating half circle concave and convex seam at centre front. I believe that this will be a huge help. Thanks again.

  4. This tutorial worked like a charm; I wanted wavy seams for the border of an ocean themed quilt and this helped me immensely!