Giant Drunken Curve


I recently made this baby quilt that was inspired by a quilt by Barbara Perrino that can be seen here.  Hers is still my favorite.  A Flickr friend recently asked what pattern I used.   I didn’t use a pattern but used the same principle as the Drunken Curve on a larger scale.  So basically it worked like this:

I started with 18″ squares because I was working with fat quarters (18″ x 22″).  If you are working with width of fabric, you can increase the size of your square for a larger quilt.

You will need four different fabrics and five squares total.  Decide which color you will repeat and cut two 18″ squares of that color.

Lay your five squares on top of each other with edges aligned.  Decide how far from the edge you want to start your quarter circle.  In the quilt to the right, I started about 3.5″ from the edge of the block.  I like it fine, but decided on my next quilt to cut closer the edge.  The cuts I have made on the blocks below start at 2″ from the top edge.   Notice that I will refer to the bottom corner as the ‘arc center’ of the quarter circle.  Although it is nowhere near the center of the block, it would be the center of the circle if these were complete circles.


So in these photos, the arc center is shown by the red arrow on the right.  The arrows at the left of the photos show the cutting mark.  You can see the ruler is lined up with the edge of the fabric and I have marked the 2″ mark from the top fabric edge.  At that point, I note that mark is 16″ from the bottom corner (arc center).  Keeping the ruler edge at the arc center, I will swing the ruler around and continue to mark the fabric at the 16″ mark to complete the cutting line for the quarter circle arc.  Be sure once you reach the opposite edge of the cutting line that you still have 2″ from the top edge of the square.  (The top edge is relative to the arc center which I refer to as the bottom.  I consider that arc as the top of the ‘block’.)

I mark that arc close enough that I can make a freehand cut and cut all fabrics at one time.  These cuts should be the same on all squares because you will be mixing up the fabrics.

DrunkPathLayoutMix your fabrics to get a layout you like.  You should have an extra arc and square end left over.  You can see here that I have cut two white squares.  I have used only one half of the orange, and I have half an orange and half a white block left.

If you have sewn drunken curves before, you probably have a favorite method that works for you and should work with this block as well.  The two favorites seem to be pin at center and work from there, or to offset the end and sew without pinning.


For the first block here, it might be a good idea to start from center, sew to end, flip, and sew from center to finish the seam.  That will give you a good idea how much overhang you will have left over.  Remember, since we are cutting the way we are, there is no seam allowance on these blocks.  The ends will not match.

DrunkPathPinEndsIf I know how much the overhang is, my favorite method is to estimate the overhang and sew from the end.  The quarter circle will be the shorter edge!  The corner piece will always be longer and overhang the end.

Here I have started a 1/4″ overhang (not enough for this block!).  Having the quarter circle on top will allow the corner piece to show on the right underside while the quarter circle pulls to the left on top.

DrunkPathSewCurvesAs you sew you will continually move that circle to meet the edge of the underside piece.  It is very easy to see the edges of your fabric with this method and it actually pulls together very well.

Press your block so that the quarter circle seam is flat and pressed towards the corner piece.  You will trim your block square again.    To keep things symmetrical, make sure the arc seam at the edge fall at the same point within the trimmed block.  Here, my seam is falling at 1.5″ from edge of the block.  The block is cut to a 17″ square.DrunkPathSquareBlock

Complete each of your blocks the same way and piece them together to complete your quilt.  My previous quilt finished at 30″ square.  It’s fine for a new born or for a toddler who likes to carry his/her blanket with him.

I will come back another day and post a photo of the new quilt once I have it pieced and quilted.

I hope this was clear.  It is actually very easy to put together.  If you try this, I would love to see your quilt.   Have fun!