July 11, 2017

Week 18: Long Time Gone Sew Along | Assembly

Partial Seams

Didn’t you love the way Jen worked magic with the use of partial seams in joining the units in sections 5 and 6? That is, didn’t you love it after you were done, and it worked — especially if this happened to be your first experience with a partial seam. My observation is that nearly everyone’s first experience with a partial seam is confusion and doubt, all the way to a perfect ending! Partial seams just don’t appear often enough to be part of our everyday piecing “vocabulary.”

New Meaning to Partial Seams

I've been finishing quilts on my home sewing machine for a long time! I've found that nearly every quilt that is machine quilted in sections provides an opportunity for new solutions (and have written a book about several ways to do it, depending on how the blocks are set and how the sections are quilted; a little more about that later).

For my Long Time Gone quilt, I decided to completely quilt the left half first and then put it and the right half on the design wall. Then I pieced all of the borders into long strips and put them on the design wall around those sections. When they passed inspection, I actually started adding them to the left half of the quilt using the "stitch and flip" method. You saw the photo with the first side border in a previous post, but here it is again:

Then I started the partial seams, adding just the top and bottom first borders to the left side. The remaining 36 or so inches of top and bottom borders were actually hanging off the left half of the quilt until I rolled them up and secured them to the edge.

And so it went, one partial seam after another, for the second and third top and bottom borders. Here you can see the result of the borders on the left half, but I edited out the excess border. It looks pretty great, doesn't it?!  (Click on images to see larger versions.)

As for the right half of the quilt, after it is quilted, joined to the left side and finished on the back, and with the extra batting and backing sections extended, I will add the first side border using the "stitch and flip" method described in my Week 16 blog post.

... Then the partial seams that are the first stitch-and-flip borders both on the top and the bottom of the quilt will be competed. The first border will be completely done.

... Then I will stitch-and-flip the second side border in place and repeat finishing the partial seams of the top and bottom second borders.

... And, finally, the third border will be added and my quilt will be ready to bind. Well, I couldn't wait, so the left half of my quilt is also bound! (When you are looking at this photo, remember that the partial seams on the top and bottom borders will not be completed on the right side of the quilt until after the 2 sections of the quilt are joined.)

We cut 10- or 12-inch strips of some of the neutral fabrics used in the quilt and joined them with diagonal seams to make the binding. Making binding this way is so easy if you have one of our corner trimmers. It’s the perfect width and perfect angle.

Here’s a close-up that shows an angled joining seam:

And, because the quilt was made in sections, the binding can be easily joined after the two halves of the quilt are joined and completed. Just like quilting in sections is lighter and easier to handle, it was nice to add the binding to just half a quilt -- something I had never done before, but it was perfect for this quilt!

Some Designs Require a Partial Seam

I'm using partial seams to finish my Long Time Gone quilt because the method is a great solution for adding borders to the quilted sections. But partial seams are also used to make some quilt blocks, like Friendship Star. You could make this block entirely out of squares and HSTs, but fewer seams are more attractive and so much easier to quilt, it's worth a cutting trick (easy with our templates) and a few partial seams. I’ve covered template cutting tricks and loads more in my book More Bang for the Buck.


One of my most popular classes, The Interlocking Hexagon, features a block with a partial seam. The class pattern is “Ode to Asia” and the tool is the 4-1/2 inch hexagon, the outside edge of our large Multi Size Hexagon Ruler. Those of us who have just spent 16 weeks with 1-inch finished squares would not know how to handle a piece in a quilt that is almost as big as a standard sheet of paper! Everything looks so big now, doesn’t it?


Other LTG Assembly Options

Visit these Long Time Gone Sew Along blogs, too, for tutorials, contests and other info:



Use the hash tag #LongTimeGoneSAL to share photos on Instagram.

Long Time Gone by Jen Kingwell. Copyright 2016 by Jen Kingwell Designs. Available on the From Marti Michell website, www.frommarti.com

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