Tips For Sewing Smooth Curves and Creating Crisp Corners

Today is the last day of our “What I Wish I’d Known When I Started Sewing Series”.  We know there are so many sewing tips, tricks, and techniques that we didn’t cover…but hopefully this gave you a good spring board to use to jump into the new year and start sewing.  And we promise we will continue to sprinkle these kinds of posts into our regular posts through out the up coming year.

Now, before we jump into today’s topic we just wanted to give you a little heads up….tomorrow we have a giveaway for you…a good one…with goodies from a group of sewing bloggers you all know and love…and something special from us…so check back in tomorrow.  (You don’t want to miss this one!)

Alright, NOW let’s get down to business.

Curves and Corners Title

How you handle the construction of your curves and corners can make or break the overall appearance of your garments  (especially on focal points like collars).   However when I began sewing I didn’t know what to do when it came to curves and corners…and recently I ran across a collar fail that proves it.

Look at this poor thing:

Collar Fail

It’s lumpy and wrinkly and those curves are anything BUT smooth…and I had no idea WHY  it turned out the way it did.  All I knew was, dang, that’s bad.  And so I hid it away and vowed to never sew collars again.

Apparently though I forgot that vow and over the past few years have learned a few things to help myself avoid similar collars of doom.  So the other day I remade the same collar and this time it turned out a lot better.  And I realized that over the last few years I really have learned some useful sewing tricks when it comes to curves and corners.  So here are a few of my favorite tips that have helped me:

*If you want smooth curves use a shorter stitch length (I usually use a 2.0).

*Trim and clip the seam allowances on curves.  (And to make this process super easy….use a pair of pinking shears…and when you do it will look the photo below.)  The trimming and clipping helps to rid the seam of excess fabric that would add bulk, lumps, and bumps to your finished product.

Curves Clip Pinking Shears

*Use a turning tool (or a chopstick, if you are me) to help turn your curves right sides out.  Use the tool to help shape and smooth your curves.

Curves with chopstick

*Iron your curves down flat…you may have to continue to shape and reshape with your tool as you iron.

Curves Smooth

Those few tricks…clipping, turning with a tool, and ironing can make all the difference in the world on how professional your sewn curves will look.

As for corners…

*I use a smaller stitch length (2.0).

*Reinforce the corners by either back stitching OR stitching over the corners twice.

*Clip off the end of your corner seam and then trim the edges down toward that corner.  (As shown in the photo below)

Clipping Corners 2

*Use a turning tool (or a chopstick) to turn your corners right side out.  Be careful not to push your tool too hard and puncture the fabric.  (Note:  After turning I will often use a pin to pull the fabric on the corners out to a point.)

Corners Chopstick

*Once you’ve pulled everything tight.  Iron your corners down well.

Corner Crisp

So again…shorter stitch length, trim off bulk, flip with a tool, and iron flat.

Easy…and it will make all the difference in the world!  (I only wish I’d known these tricks years before!)

Thanks for following along with our little series and before we check out with you today we have one more fab lady with her sewing advice.

It’s Jessica from Craftiness Is Not Optional.  She says:

“When I first started sewing (ie when I didn’t really like it…..GASP), I  learned that I was to pin my patterns to the fabric, then cut out the  pieces with scissors. I honestly think that’s part of what made me throw it down and run away screaming give up sewing the first time. It was much too fussy for me, and my cuts were never crisp, or correct for that matter.

Fast forward to when I picked up sewing again, about 6 years ago. I quickly  found these amazing things called fabric weights that you used to keep  your fabric in place while you cut it with a rotary cutter-not scissors! LIFE-CHANGING. (ok, that’s a bit dramatic. SEWING-LIFE-CHANGING) It’s  the way I cut out most of my fabric these days. They are one of my most-used tools. ”

Thanks Jessica!

And don’t forget to join us back here tomorrow to enter the sewing goods giveaway!!!


Making Smooth Curves and Crisp Corners Collage

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  1. says

    I have loved this series!! I always read the posts even if I think I already know how to do whatever the topic is and I have learned a new little tip in almost every one! I love learning new and better sewing tips. Thanks for sharing your wisdom 🙂

  2. says

    This is really helpful. I recently did a set of bibs for a friend’s baby, and since they’re pretty utilitarian, I didn’t fret too much over the messy-looking curves. I did learn that I’m still crap at top-stitching on a curve, though. Next time I’m taking the pinking blade on my rotary cutter to them before I flip them right-side-out.

  3. Harriet says

    I wish I’d known better to make too big than too small. Wish I remembered it still! Then number of items I’ve made that are a TIGHT fit is just daft… been through the whole series and it’s great. Now subscribed 🙂

  4. Karen B says

    When you say shorten your stitch length do you shorten it for the entire project or just when you get close to the corners?


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