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Spinning Seams In Quilting - The Why's and How's

Originally Posted 6/30/2017
Last Updated 7/13/2022

Welcome to the Spin Doctor. In this post, we're going to explore the whys and hows of spinning seams in quilting. You might be wondering what the point is - after all, isn't a seam just a seam? As it turns out, there's more than one way to press your quilt blocks, and understanding the ins and outs of each method can help improve the overall look and finish of your quilts. So let's get started!

Learn how to quilt like a pro and make your blocks lay flat with these simple tips. Spinning the seams on your quilt block is an easy way to get great results. Watch this video tutorial to see just how easy it is!

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The Why's and How's of Spinning Seams in Quilting

I first learned how to spin seams from my mom when I was small.  It was one of the things I did to help her in her quilting room.  Later on, after she had passed, I saw Elenor Burns spinning seams and realized that's probably where my mom got it.  There's no way of knowing and I'm not saying my mom or Elenor originated the method.  Like most things in quilting, things get passed along and no one really knows where or why they started doing it.

Why We Spin Seams in Quilting

We've all made four patches and pinwheel blocks and there's a knot in the middle.  That's a lot of fabric in a tiny spot.  No matter how much you press the block won't lay flat.  That bump can cause problems later when quilting your quilt.  It's not unusual to get your needle stuck in that bump and break it.  I have a fear of breaking needles on my machine so I will do everything to keep that from happening.

How To Spin Seams in Quilting

When I originally published this back in 2017 I had a few people "SCREAM" at me because all I was doing was pressing the seam.  And that's 100% true, spinning seams is just another way to press your seams.  

Now this method works on any four patch style block.  I normally pop the stitches with my fingernail.  That doesn't doesn't work for everyone and it doesn't always work for me.  Today I was working on my postage stamp quilt and for whatever reason the seams wouldn't open up.  When that happens grab your favorite seam ripper. 

You'll see all of this in the video but I know sometimes I need to read before I see for my brain to click.  When sewing the block together, before we spin the seams, you have two short seams and one long seam.  There are 3-4 stitches from the short seams in the seam allowance of the long seam.  Those 3-4 stitches are what we need to "pop" or rip out.  DO NOT CROSS THE LONG SEAM!  We are just taking out the stitches in the seam allowance.

Now one side of the seam will go up and one side of the seam will go down.  You'll want to press on the backside of the block.  Congrats!  You've just conquered spinning seams in quilting. 

Video of Spinning Seams in Quilting

Let's watch me spin some seams.  I know the video makes it look super simple and it will become super simple.  Don't get discouraged if you struggle the first few times you do it.  With practice it will become much easier trust me.  

You'll want to check out all of our quilting tips!  You'll find tips on just about everything quiltinging.  Those tips will help you level-up your quilting game.

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If you know someone who struggles with spinning seams share this post with them!  You can pin the image below so that you will always be able to come back and watch the video.

Don't let your quilt blocks pucker up! Learn what spinning seams is and how to do it like a pro. This quilting tips video will show you how to make your quilt blocks lay flat and look amazing.

Would you like to comment?

  1. I'm not a quilter - yet - but I grew up watching my grandmother's quilt and appreciate all of the work that goes in to making a quilt. Thanks for sharing a great tutorial at #HomeMattersParty