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Inset Circles

Making inset circles sounds much trickier than it is. Many people shy away from curves altogether! But don’t worry, we are here to walk you through it! 

Inset Circles VS. Drunkards Path

The most common curved piecing block is called the Drunkards Path. This is basically a quarter of a circle. By piecing together all 4 Drunkards path pieces, you get a full circle. Many quilters also use the quarter circle pieces to make other designs and shapes that aren’t full circles. So on the downside, you have to breakup your fabric into quarters to get a full circle, but on the upside, you can create more than just a circle. 

Piecing together an inset circle is a little trickier, but easy to get the hang of it. The benefit of the inset circle method is that you can really show off your fabric (great for fussy cuts) and your skills!

How to sew an inset circle

First, you’ll want to fold your inner circle fabric and your background fabric in half several times and press (make sure that you have the same number of folds on your inner circle fabric as you do on your background fabric). This will create creases in even increments all the way around the edges. 

Second, lay your inner circle fabric, right side up, on your table. Then lay your background fabric on top, also with the right side up. Line up the creases on both pieces of fabric.

creasing fabric

This next part is a little tricky, but follow along with the pictures! You are going to flip your background fabric over little by little to pin the lined up creases together, right sides together.

Once your background is pinned to the inner circle all the way around (background fabric should be facing the right side of the inner circle now), you can sew it in place. Go nice and slow and try to keep the background fabric from bunching or pleating as you sew. 

Practice a few times and I promise you will get the hang of it! If it doesn’t look perfect… spray lots of mist and press! 

AT A GLANCE: Inset circle guide

Are you wanting to make your own pattern with inset circles or just want to practice? Here is a guide for how to get correct measurements for the background and inner circle pieces of an inset circle. 

inset circle guide