Partial Seams

partial seams
partial seams
partial seams

Quilters like to sew straight seams because these are easy to manage. At times, a more difficult inset seam is needed to complete a pieced block. Sometimes a partial seam can be used in place of the inset seam. Partial seams are straight seams that are sewn part of the way. Later, when all pieces are in place, the seam is completed.

Learn how to sew an easy partial seam to avoid a more difficult inset seam.

NOTE: to enlarge the video, click the PLAY button, then click the full-screen icon at the bottom right of the video.

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TRANSCRIPT: Partial Seams

Partial seams are seams that you sew part of the way. And then you go and sew the rest of the seams and you come back to that final seam and you sew it the rest of the way. By using a partial seam, you avoid having to make an inset seam, as shown here.

So this was sewn all the way, and now when I’m going to sew this last piece on, I’m going to have to sew it and stop and make an inset seam at this point. So partial seams make your work easier.

So how does this work, first I cut out all my pieces. And the first seam I’m going to sew is between this center piece and this navy piece and I’m only going to sew part of the seam and when I open it up, it looks like this. Now I’m going to take the next piece and after I press this, I would put right sides together and I sew this nice straight seam, very easy. I would get something that looks like this. Next, I’m going to sew this next piece, down here. Once again, it’s a nice easy seam to sew, I’m going to put right sides together, sew through that; I’m going to end up with a piece that’s going to be ready to put the next piece in, over here. So, once again, I’m going to put right sides together and sew that long seam, I get something that looks like this.

Now, I’m ready to go back to this partial seam. You turn it over, I’m going to line that up, and then I would sew down, so it’s just sewing a straight seam. And, once again, I avoid that inset seam.

So my final piece has that seam sewn, let’s get it where it was, has that final seam sewn all the way across and there’s my block.



  1. Hi love your channel, I was wondering if there is a formula or chart for doing partial seam blocks of different sizes? Found you through Brenda from Conquering Mount Scrapmore.

    1. Hello Maureen! Thanks for visiting our website! I’m not sure if I understand your question. Partial seams can be used instead of inset seams. There isn’t a formula or chart for these – just leave open a seam a few inches so you can come back in later to sew up. Maybe you are asking about the block in the video? This block was just used as an example. Partial seams occur in many different blocks – here’s another look at partial seams (skip to 3:39):
      Hope this helps! Say hello to Brenda. Thanks, Ann

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