Tips & Lessons

Partial Seams

The Harlequin Charm (left) and Holiday Memories Table Runner (right) blocks both use partial seams.

Some blocks that look like they require an inset seam can actually be constructed using a much faster technique: a partial seam. Let's see how it works.

Step 1: Sew the Partial Seam
Sew the first patch to the center, beginning from roughly the middle of the center patch and locking your starting stitches. If you are machine stitching, you can sew straight off the end of the fabric as you usually do. Finger-press the seam open.

The first patch is sewn to the center with a partial seam.
The next patch can then be sewn normally.


Step 2: Add Patches in Sequence
By sewing the partial seam, you now have a complete side to which you can sew the next patch. Sew, finger-press the seam open and continue to the next patch. Continue sewing patches in this fashion. When sewing the last patch to the center, be sure to fold the partially sewn patch out of the way.

 Add the subsequent patches normally.
 Keep the first patch out of the way when
sewing the last patch to the center.

Step 3: Complete the Partial Seam
After sewing the last patch to the center, you can finish stitching the partial seam to complete the block.

Look for blocks where patches seem to "pinwheel" around a center; they are often good candidates for this technique.

The Harlequin Charm quilt and Holiday Memories Table Runner both use this technique . . . and the patterns are free downloads. Why not give them a try?
Just click on the images below for more information.


Harlequin Charm Quilt
  Holiday Memories Table Runner