Partial Seam Blocks: A Tutorial

Buzzworthy Partial Seam Tutorial

Confession time: I LOVE partial seam blocks.  I love how they echo the infinity symbol, with no clear beginning and no clear ending.  And I LOVE LOVE LOVE that they are actually easy.  As in EASY.  E.A.S.Y.

Buzzworthy logo

I was working on a new pattern in this amazing new fabric line, Buzzworthy from Benartex, which just happened to use a partial seam block, and I thought it would be a GREAT opportunity to share a tutorial with you, walking you through the steps to sew a partial seam block.  And FYI if you want to see more about the full fabric line AND see some great projects, head over to Benartex's website.  You'll see it really is a buzzworthy group of fabrics (hahaha - see what I did there?!).  But seriously - check it out.  It is a terrific line with a fabulous range of prints and the fabric has an amazing feel!  I'm so excited for this project!

Before we jump in, a few disclosures:

  • The block I'm using is strip pieced.  The method works with any type of units - solid pieces of fabric, strip pieced units, paper pieced units, curved piece units....you get the idea!
  • This block is LARGE (about 15"), but this method works with almost any size block.  I will say that larger is MUCH easier than super small.  Having said that, I do have a pattern that has a 1" cut center - a bit tiny, but super adorable and yes, doable!

Ok, ready to see how the magic of partial seams happen?  Great!

Buzzworthy Partial Seam Block Units
For the purpose of our tutorial, we will work with a standard square block.  Our block has five units - a square center and four side units.  For the remainder of the tutorial, the side units are numbered to help you keep track of how we are moving around the center unit.

Buzzworthy Partial Seam Start Sewing

All sewing will be with RST (right sides together).  Place the center square RST, matching up the raw edge of the top left corner of Unit One with the raw edge of the center square.  Sew from the far right to about half way across the center unit.  You can stay stitch when you stop which will help prevent the stitches from coming out.

Buzzworthy Partial Seam First Press

I strongly recommend pressing AWAY from the center unit.  This will create a long straight edge that will EXACTLY match (isn't math wonderful?!) the length of Unit 2.

Buzzworthy Partial Seam second seam

So that's exactly what you are going to do - sew Unit Two to the long end of the center/Unit 1.  Again, press AWAY from the center unit.

Buzzworthy Partial Seam third seam

Continue working your way around the block.  Sew Unit Three to the long edge created from sewing Unit Two to the long edge from your first seam.  Yup - press AWAY from the center unit.  Guess what you do next?

Buzzworthy Partial Seam Fourth Seam
You are ALMOST done!  Fold back Unit One (see the picture above) so that you can sew along the full length of Unit Three and the center unit.

Buzzworthy Partial Seam fourth seam with fold back

Here is a close up of Unit Four lined up, ready for sewing!  Stitch along that full length.  Press AWAY from the center square. Just one more seam to go!


Buzzworthy Partial Seam fold back
Note that the first unit (Unit One, where we started) is now lined up with Unit Four.  Match up the unsewn edge of Unit One with the raw edge of Unit Four.


Buzzworthy Partial Seam final seam

To complete the block, start sewing at the end of the partial seam you made at the beginning.  I generally advise overlapping those stitches just a bit (start sewing on top of the end stitches) so that the seam is secure.  Fold back your completed block and press AWAY from the center square.

Buzzworthy Partial Seam Final Block

Here is the block from the back.  Pressing away from the center square allows the center to lay nice and flat, and really does make it easier to work with the partial seam!

Buzzworthy Partial Seam Block

Ta-da!  You have mastered the partial seam!  Go you!  Go forth and happy stitching!

If you prefer diagrams, I have a nice little partial seam tutorial you can find here on my blog.

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Disclaimer Statement: This blog is my personal blog, which means it is written and edited by me - and I may sometimes have guest posts (and they will be written/edited by the guest poster - whew!). This blog does accept forms of cash advertising, sponsorship, paid insertions or other forms of compensation, which may influence the advertising content, topics or posts made in the blog. That content, advertising space or post may not always be identified as paid or sponsored content. Sometimes I (the blog owner) may be compensated to provide opinion on products, services, websites and various other topics. Please be aware that, even though I may be asked to provide opinions, posts or reviews, I do always give my honest opinions, findings, beliefs, or experiences on those topics or products. The views and opinions expressed on this blog are purely my own. Any product claim, statistic, quote or other representation about a product or service should be verified with the manufacturer, provider or party in question. This blog does not contain any content which might present a conflict of interest.
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