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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.

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

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, as is usual, to the unit made with a partial seam.

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 uses this technique . . . and the pattern is a free download. Why not give it a try? Just click on the image for more information.

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