This tutorial is a long time coming. Last year at the Sewing Summit, I taught some of you how to sew partial seams. I’ve been using this technique quite a bit lately, between writing the Starfall quilt pattern and my upcoming book. I hope you will find this tutorial helpful – if not today, then in the future when you run across a block needing this technique.
My usual disclaimer…this is how I personally sew partial seams. I am self taught, I’m sure there are a thousand ways to do this. This is mine.
Partial Seams Tutorial
The partial seams technique allows you to partially sew one piece of fabric to another, and then come back at a later point to finish the seam.
For example, at first glance this block looks like a log cabin. But upon closer inspection, you see that each of the “logs” is the same length (and longer than the center piece). Using partial seams, you can easily sew this together.
If you’d like to work along with this tutorial, cut 1 square and 4 strips as listed below. (These are the cut sizes, not the finished sizes.)
Center Square – Cut (1) 4-1/2″ x 4-1/2″
Side Rectangles – Cut (4) 1-1/4″ x 5-1/4″
1. You can start on any side of the block. I started on the left side and worked clockwise. Place your left strip, right side together with the center block. Align the top edges. As you can see, the strip will hang off the bottom of the block.
2. Sew your seam down the block, stopping and backstitching about 1″ before the end of the square.
Your block should look like this so far:
Press your seams as desired.
3. When you lay your top rectangle against the top edge of the block, you should notice it is now the exact length of the block.
4. Right sides together, sew the top strip on as normal.
Press your seams.
5. Repeat this usual piecing process for the right and bottom strips.
6. Now we are ready to finish the original seam. Fold your unsewn left rectangle back over the sewn block, aligning the unsewn edge. Pin into place.
Starting where you backstitched in Step 2, finish sewing down the seam to complete it. Press your seams.
Congratulations! You just finished your first partial seam block!
May 8, 2013 43 Comments
Don’t worry, I didn’t just whip this quilt up in the last few days. (You probably figured that out based on the weather in the photo here.) Last December, I had the great opportunity to make a new, larger version and pattern of my baby Starfall quilt for Modern Quilts Unlimited, Spring 2013 issue.
I originally made this quilt for the class I co-taught at the Sewing Summit – Shapes and Angles. This quilt was an example of what you can make using the Partial Seams technique. (Speaking of…I do plan on *finally* putting up a tutorial for partial seams very soon.)
I fell in love, hard, with Denyse Schmidt’s Chicopee collection last year. So much so, that I made this second quilt out of the same fabrics. I mixed in a few fabrics from her DS Quilts Collections from JoAnns and one perfect green print from Anna Maria Horner’s Good Folks collection.
The finished quilt measure 60″ x 72″ and I quilted it with straight lines, 1/2″ apart. As usual, that took awhile but was more than worth it in the end.
I definitely recommend picking up the magazine – not just for my quilt but for all the others inside. It’s full of beautiful patterns by all sorts of names you will probably recognize (Rossie Hutchinson, Patty Sloniger, Patty Young, Elizabeth Dackson, Victoria Findlay Wolfe and many others) and a great article about Negative Space by Jacquie Gehring.
I believe subscribers already should have their copies, and you will be able to find it at shops soon (if not already).
May 2, 2013 37 Comments
Get ready for a lot of pictures! I will apologize in advance, but I just had so much fun making this quilt and I couldn’t decide which photos to keep.
So, as I mentioned in my “quilt top” post for this one, I made this little quilt as a class example for next week’s Sewing Summit in Salt Lake City. Kati and I are going to be teaching Shapes and Angles and will be going over partial seams, y-seams (via hexagons), equilateral triangles and diamonds.
I designed this quilt using 3 types of star blocks that all incorporate partial seams, and then little wonky stars to fill in the spaces. The pieced blocks range in size from 6″ to 18″. The 12″ star is the Another Star block from my Solstice Stars Series. Except instead of making it the “cheating way” that I show in the tutorial (minus the partial seams), I do it the “correct way” (with the partial seams).
I decided to use about 5 shades of tan, just from my stash, for the backgrounds. A few months ago I was itching to add some neutrals to my stash to have on hand for projects like this. I pulled out my solid color cards and just ordered 1/2 yard to 1 yard of a bunch of Free Spirit, Kona and Bella neutrals. I asked the shops to label them for me because I knew once they arrived it would be a bit tricky to figure out exactly what they were.
The prints in this quilt are almost all by Denyse Schmidt – specifically her Chicopee line…I think I’ve mentioned how much I love it, yes? I hope you aren’t sick of seeing me use it yet, I’m sure I’m not done!
I mixed in some of Denyse’s fabric that she sells at JoAnns and also a print from Anna Maria Horner’s old Good Folks line because I wanted some more greens in there. I’m officially out of the one print I used, kind of makes me sad but I’m happy I was able to use it in a project that I love.
This quilt is 36″ x 48″. I didn’t want to make it huge because I really don’t want to check a bag going to SLC. I am thinking of making this into a pattern and if I do that, it will likely be larger.
I struggle with writing patterns with scrappy piecing because it gets confusing when figuring out fabric requirements. When you make a pattern, are you ok with seeing fabric requirements that say “xyz yards total in a mix of prints” rather than having each amount of scrap prints spelled out? I’m going to think on it for awhile.
I quilted this with straight lines, about 1/2″ apart. The backing is another one of Denyse Schmidt’s prints from JoAnns.
Those going to the Sewing Summit, I can’t wait to see you all next week! I hope if you see me you will come up and introduce yourself. Trust me, I know how it can be scary to meet new people. Believe it or not I can be pretty shy (except for teaching for some reason). For those staying home this time, I will try to take a lot of photos to share when I get back. I still have one more quilt I’m hoping to finish for another class example – fingers crossed!
October 4, 2012 52 Comments
If you are a regular visitor here, you know I’m teaching in a couple weeks at the Sewing Summit in Salt Lake City. One of the techniques we will be practicing is partial seams.
I decided to make a quilt that features a few partial seam blocks. We won’t be making this quilt in class, but hopefully you will feel comfortable with this technique by the time you get home, so you can make your own partial seam blocks.
In other news….tonight is the third Naperville Modern Quilt Guild meeting!
I’ll be doing a little presentation on “What is Modern Quilting”. I’ll bring this quilt finished too! If you live in the area, I hope you will come!
September 27, 2012 24 Comments