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
Today I’m excited to share with you a new tutorial, the Farmer’s Market Tote. Andover Fabrics was kind enough to send over some of Marisa of Creative Thursday‘s upcoming line Locally Grown for these bags. I am absolutely in love with the little sheep and strawberries.
It does feel a bit strange making bags for fresh veggies when it looks like this outside.
But I think that is partially what motivated me – I’m ready for summer! And anyway, it doesn’t need to be warm to need a big bag to carry our fabric around in, right? Let’s get started!
Farmer’s Market Tote
Please note, all seams are 1/2″ unless otherwise noted
Outer Panel – 1/2 yard
Outer Pockets – 1/2 yard
Pocket Lining – 1/2 yard
Inner Lining – 1/2 yard
Straps – 1/4 yard (not a fat quarter)
Interfacing, (I used Pellon SF101) – 1 yard
Step 1: Cut your fabric.
|Pattern Piece||Size||Number to Cut|
|Outer Panel||17-1/2″ x 20″||2|
|Outer Pockets||14-1/2″ x 20″||2|
|Pocket Lining||14-1/2″ x 20″||2|
|Inner Lining||17-1/2″ x 20″||2|
|Straps||4″ x 26″||2|
|Interfacing||17-1/2″ x 20″||2|
Step 2. Iron your interfacing to the wrong side of your outer panel fabrics according to the manufacturers directions.
Step 3. Now we are going to do a bit of trimming. Take your 17-1/2″ (tall) x 20″ (wide) Outer Panel rectangles and trim a diagonal line from the top left corner to the 1-1/2″ marking on your cutting mat, as shown.
Step 4. Repeat on the right side of the fabric, cutting from the top right corner to the 18-1/2″ marking on your cutting mat.
Step 5. Once your fabric angles are trimmed, cut 2″ squares out of the bottom left and right corners. This is for your gusset later. Because there is a slight angle from steps 3 and 4, you won’t be removing an exact square. Just be sure to line up your ruler as shown below.
After cutting out the squares, this is what your Outer Panels should look like.
Step 6. Repeat steps 3, 4 and 5 for your Inner Lining.
Step 7. Now it’s time to trim the Outer Pockets. Just like you did for your Outer Panel, we are going to cut the fabric at an angle on the left and right sides. Line up your ruler from the 17-1/2″ marking on your cutting mat, to the 1-1/2″ (when cutting left) and 18-1/2″ (when cutting right) measurement on the bottom of the cutting mat, as shown. This will get you the same angle you cut on previous pieces.
Alternatively, you could use your previously cut Outer Panel as a template and trim along the already cut lines.
Step 8. Just as you did in Step 5, trim 2″ squares from the bottom corners. Your Outer Pockets should look like this.
As you can see, the Outer Pocket fabric has the same angles now as the Outer Panel fabric.
Step 9. Repeat for your Pocket Lining.
Everything is now cut – yay! Pat yourself on the back.
Now let’s sew it together!
Step 10. Take one of your Outer Pockets and one of your Pocket Linings. Pin along the top, right sides together. Stitch along just the top, using a 1/2″ seam allowance.
Step 11. Flip right sides out, and press. Top stitch along the finished seam.
Step 12. Repeat for your second Outer Pocket and Pocking Lining.
Step 13. Place your finished Outer Pocket Panel on top of your Outer Panel, as shown. Pin together along sides and bottom. Machine baste along the sides and bottom of the panel, using a 1/4″ seam allowance. ** Do NOT sew the cut out squares! **
Step 14. Now we are going to split the pocket into two sections. Using your ruler and a marking tool, measure halfway across the panel. Mark a sewing line lengthwise down the panel, as shown.
Step 15. Starting at the bottom of the panel and working your way to the top of the pocket, stitch your marked line. Cross over a bit from the top of your pocket onto the Outer Panel and backstitch. This will reinforce your pocket at the top.
Step 16. Repeat for the second Outer Pocket Panel and Outer Panel.
Step 17. Place your finished Outer Panels right sides together and pin along the sides and bottom. Take care to match up the top of the pockets when pinning. This sort of attention to detail will make your tote bag look professionally made.
Step 18. Sew down the sides and bottom of the fabric, using a 1/2″ seam allowance. ** Do NOT sew the cut out squares! ** Press your seams open.
Step 19. Now it’s time to sew the gussets! If you have never done this before, this is probably the trickiest step. I took a lot of photos to help explain.
“Open” up your bag in the corner where you cut the squares, and place the fabric back together matching up the side and bottom sewn seam, as shown.
Step 20. Pin as shown.
Step 21. Sew using a 1/2″ seam allowance.
Step 22. Repeat on the other side to make the second gusset. This is what your bag should now look like.
Step 23. Attempt to press your seams and flip your bag right side out.
Step 24. Repeat steps 17 – 22 to assemble your Inner Lining. **Leave approximately 5″ open along the bottom however, for flipping the bag right side out later.**
Step 25. Place your Outer Tote Section right side out, into the Inner Tote Section wrong side out, as shown.
Step 26. Pin along the top of the bag, and sew together along the entire top, using a 1/2″ seam allowance.
Step 27. Flip your bag right side out through the opening in the bottom of the lining.
Step 28. Stitch the bottom of the lining closed.
Step 29. Press your bag and top stitch around the top.
Step 30. Almost there! It’s time to make the straps. Fold the short edges of your strap fabric in about 1/4″. You can optionally stitch these down, as shown. Now fold your strap fabric in half, lengthwise. Iron to make a crease and then open.
Step 31. Fold your strap fabric in lengthwise towards the center crease line, as shown. Press.
Step 32. Fold in half again. Press.
Step 33. Stitch around each side of the strap. Repeat for the second strap.
Step 34. Measure 3″ on each side of the pocket line you stitched earlier. Place your strap ends at this point, 1-1/2″ down from the top of the tote bag. Pin in place.
Step 35. Stitch in place, around all sides and then diagonally, as shown.
Step 36. Repeat until all 4 strap ends are attached.
March 1, 2013 32 Comments
Next month, Kati of From the Blue Chair and I are going to be teaching a class at the Sewing Summit called “Shapes and Angles”. Kati is going to show everyone how to sew Y-Seams using Hexagons and Diamonds. I’m going to focus on Partial Seams and Equilateral Triangles. Because our class time is limited to 1 hour 15 minutes, we are asking everyone to cut their fabric at home ahead of time and bring the pieces to class.
Let’s dig deep and try to remember Trigonometry class. I know, it’s painful. You probably remember that an equilateral triangle has three 60° angles. In order to cut your fabric for these triangles, you will need a ruler with 60° angle markings – there are two lines that represent 60°. The ruler does not have to be a special ruler for cutting triangles. Just needs the angle markings.
Let’s get started!
Cutting Equilateral Triangles
Step 1: Cut a 4″ tall strip of fabric.
Step 2: Using your quilting ruler, line up the 60° line marking along the bottom of your fabric strip.
Step 3: Using your rotary cutter, cut your fabric on the ruler angle.
Step 4: Next we are going to cut the third side of the triangle. Remember how your ruler has a 60° marking line going to 2 directions? This time, use other 60° line marking that you did not use the first time. (You will alternate marking lines, every other time you cut.) Make sure the ruler is lined up properly to create the top point of the triangle. Cut your fabric along the ruler edge to create your first equilateral triangle.
Step 5: Continue down the strip of fabric, lining up the 60° line marking and cutting additional triangles.
Enjoy all your pretty triangles!
A Special Note for Those in my Sewing Summit Class:
Bring at least 20 of these triangles to the Sewing Summit class. Although you are welcome to just bring triangles cut from one 42″ strip of fabric, you may want to bring a variety of prints/colors for fun.
Please bring the below additional cut fabric pieces for the Partial Seams portion of the class.
(32) 1.75″ x 5.25″ rectangles in various colors/prints
(8) 4″ x 4″ squares in neutral color/print
We will be beginning work on these sample blocks in class:
September 21, 2012 11 Comments
Today I’m so excited to be able to share my first project as part of the Art Gallery Fabrics Fat Quarter Gang, the Fresh AG Tote!
I designed this tote with summer in mind, perfect for taking to the park or the pool. It’s a simple pattern for beginner bag makers as well. You can find the pattern over on the Art Gallery Fabrics blog and also the PDF download on their pattern summary page (if you don’t see it there right away, it will be there soon – just go to the blog post).
Now for the giveaway! Want to win all the Art Gallery prints I used on my bag (minus the solids)?
• Leave a comment on this post
I will pick a winner Friday evening, July 27th.
And don’t forget to add photos of your finished project to the Fat Quarter Gang Flickr group. Happy sewing everyone!
Closing comments to pick a winner!
The lucky winner is #124: Martha said “Love your tote:) awesome!”
Congratulations Martha! I will be emailing you for your address. Thanks for commenting everyone!
July 23, 2012 217 Comments