How to ‘Spin’ Seams

I’m just popping in with a quick How To on spinning seams. This is a helpful technique to use in a block where there are lots of seams coming together in one place – it can help to flatten the block and reduce bulk.

I was in quilt class last night when one of the students asked about it, so I thought it would be a good idea to snap some pictures and share with you today.

My sample block is an easy four patch.

So first, here is my four patch all sewn together. The seams need to be nested to make this work. I used a dark thread to make it easier for you to see the seams.

Spinning Seams

After putting together your block, and before pressing the seam, we will be picking out a few stitches. Whaaat??? It’s okay. Trust me.

In the picture below, the seam ripper is under the first stitch that we will unpick. Remove the stitches only to the horizontal seam. In this case, I have three stitches to take out.

Spinning Seam Unpicking Stitches

Now, flip your block and do the same thing to the other side. Be sure to only remove the stitches that are above the horizontal seam.

Now, unfold the block and press the seams in opposite directions. See how the center of those seams naturally want to separate and “spin” or twirl”? You know you’ve done it right when it looks like there is another teeny tiny four patch at the intersection.

Spinning Seams

That’s it! Flip the block, give it a good pressing from the top side, and you’ll have a much flatter intersection and great looking block.

Four Patch with spinning seams

This method works particularly well when making a block with lots of HST’s, such as a pinwheel block. Now you won’t have to worry so much about hitting those intersections when free motion quilting and maybe breaking a needle. 🙂

I will be filing this post under the Tutorials tab in the menu above. That way it will be easy for you to find in case you need to read it again sometime later.

Linking up with Tips & Tutorials Tuesday.



About Beth

I'm a wife, mother of two, and lover of all things crafty. I love to cook up new things in the kitchen and in my craft room, and sometimes get "licking the spoon" mixed up with "licking the fabric"!!
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10 Responses to How to ‘Spin’ Seams

  1. Pingback: DrEAMi’s take over! |

  2. Pingback: Tips and Tutorials Tuesday #9 – Quilting Jetgirl

  3. Sandra Lanter says:

    Thank you for this tutorial….I have never had it explained so clearly.

  4. jayne says:

    I do love a good twist! Great tutorial Beth!

  5. I’ve done this for years, but always struggled with the wiggling this way and that to get those couple of stitches to pop. Lightbulb happened with the 150 Canadian Women project where Kat says that the seams will all spin in the same direction! So if you look at the first two before you press the last one, you will see they are both spinning to the left or to the right. Your horizontal ones will want to follow in that direction! Isn’t that just so DUH, er ingenious?! I’m adding it to my tutorial (or maybe I already did LOL) menopause brain again….sigh.

  6. I usually just give the 4 patch a little twist and that seems to work as well. I used to think that spinning the seams was hard, now it’s almost automatic.

  7. Thanks for this helpful tutorial. I’ve been meaning to find out how to do this for ages.
    And now I know ☺

  8. Tish says:

    Hmmm…I guessing this would be good for paper pieced blocks with lots of points coming together? I just might have to try this, this weekend. Because I’ve already found another squirrel project, but I blame my daughter…it’s easier than accepting responsibly.

  9. Lisa says:

    Nice illustration of this technique. I have never used it…now maybe I will and I know where to find it if I do. Thanks Beth.

  10. This is a great visual representation of the technique, Beth! Thank you so much for sharing and linking up with Tips and Tutorials Tuesday. 🙂

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