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Partial Seam Tutorial

Posted on: August 13th, 2013 by Lorna McMahon

Today, I found myself working on a design using partial seams.  So I thought I would take a few pictures and share the technique as a tutorial.  It is really very easy!

Instead of adding short strips to the sides of your block and then adding longer strips to the top and bottom of your block, this method allows you to add four strips which are all the same length.

Your four strips will measure the width of your finished block plus the width of one strip.
For this tutorial, my unfinished 9 Patch block measures 12.5″, so the finished size will be 12″.
My strips are 2.5″ wide.
12″ + 2.5″ = 14.5″
So each of my strips measure 2.5″ x 14.5″
With right sides together, place one strip on the block with raw edges flush, and pin in place.
The strip will overhang the block by 2″.  Sew a partial seam.
Do not sew all the way to the end of the block, but stop short of the end by about 2″ to 3″, and backstitch.
Press the seam.
I press my seams open, but if you like to press to one side, press the seams toward the strip.
The next strip will be applied to the end with the completed seam.
With right sides together, place the second strip on the block with raw edges flush, and pin in place.
Pin at each end and then in the middle of the strip.
This strip will NOT overhang the block.
Sew a complete seam.
  Press the seam.
As with the second strip, apply the third and fourth strips, sewing complete seams and pressing as you go.
Now it is time to complete the partial seam.
Line up the seam and start sewing on the partial seam somewhere before the backstitching.
Backstitch again and continue sewing to the end of the strip.
Press this seam… And you’re done!
See?  Easy!
Hope you will find this tutorial useful.  I am adding it to my Tutorials Page as found beneath my blog header.  If you are interested, there are many other helpful hints linked up there, too!
Keep on, Quilting on!

24 Responses

  1. Glinda ♥ says:

    Clever lady, thanks Lorna 🙂

  2. Kathy4aday says:

    Great job with the pictures!

  3. It's like the clouds have parted and angels have sung \”Ahhhhhhh\”. Thanks so much for the tutorial – I'm going to pin it!

  4. Sherry says:

    Interesting concept, I need to apply a border tonight so think I will try it. Thanks for something different to try.

  5. Nice! I used something like that by accident on the bowser quilt. Took about 50 blocks of crazy wonky seams to figure out how to get them flat. Oh well, live and learn. 🙂

  6. Erica says:

    That is a really nice way to teach the partial seam. Great photos and explanation. Thanks so much for sharing that!

  7. Anonymous says:

    Great job. Thanks for sharing. Marie (

  8. Vicki says:

    Great tut! I made a huge quilt that was ALL partial seams. Once it makes sense to your, it is fast and easy.

  9. Rosa says:

    Thanks for the tips.Wonderful block and love your fabrics choice!

  10. ~Carla~ says:

    Looks great! I've seen this done before but haven't tried it yet… cute block! 🙂

  11. Melissa says:

    I love using partial seams in my quilts! I think they add an interesting design feature 🙂

  12. Great tutorial, thanks for sharing ! 🙂

  13. Paula says:

    Oh my goodness! Thanks for sharing! So easy (and clear instructions!)

  14. This is so useful, and your steps easy to follow, thanks for a great tutorial!Thanks for linking up to 'Anything Goes'

  15. Rachaeldaisy says:

    Thanks for such a clear tutorial. I've always meant to try partial seams but haven't gotten around to it yet. I'll be bookmarking this tutorial for when I do.

  16. great tutorial Lorna! Your instructions are really clear and the pictures are great!Thank you so much for sharing at Needle and Thread Thursday!:) Kelly @ My Quilt Infatuation

  17. Stephanie says:

    Very nice tutorial Lorna – thanks for the extra information!!

  18. thanks for this tutorial, it is nice to be reminded of some of these great ideas! I think it was Jinny Beyer who first introduced me to this idea in one of her books in the early '90's! There are quite a few 'partial seam' blocks out there that you can use this on too!

  19. Regina says:

    Thank you for this great tutorial!

  20. Lisa says:

    OMG so easy peasy. Love it! Thanks for sharing!!!

  21. I always think that is such a great technique–and really easy to get such a great look!

  22. knottygnome says:

    thanks for the tutorial! i've pinned it for future reference.