Pinwheeling seams

So excited to share this trick. No, I did not invent it so I can’t take credit for it.  I was going to do a video but decided just to do pictures.  Let me know if you would like a video and I will do one (or find one).  It really is simple and definitely help with the bulk in those seams with so many fabrics.  So here is my tutorial. I usually make my half square triangles by making a grid.  This was for a kit so it had the measurements for cutting it into strips and then cutting the strips into squares and then triangles so that is what I did.  When you make half square triangle blocks you want to cut (or mark) your square 7/8″ larger than you want the finished size to be.  So for a finished 4″ block, cut the blocks at 4 7/8″. For a pinwheel you will need 2 blocks of each color and at this size it would finish to a 8″ pinwheel block.  You can always cut the blocks 1″ over and then trim them up at the end so you know you have nice square blocks (I do this if I can as there is some trimming to do anyhow-the dog ears). So here are my squares I cut. First you cut the squares and then cut them in half.

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Then you stack the triangles with right sides together. And chain sew the triangles together with a 1/4″seam on the long side, being careful not to stretch since it is on ethe bias.

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Press the seams to one side (usually the darker fabric), and then trim off the points (called dog ears).

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Lay out the blocks in a pinwheel.

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Take the upper right block and flip it over onto the top left block.IMGP6173

Do the same with the bottom right and bottom left. so they look like this.IMGP6174

If you ted to get things turned around when you take them to the machine I would put a pin in the upper right corners of each block and then stack them with the top set on the bottom set. Now you are ready to go to the machine and sew these blocks together with a 1’4″ seam (I chain stitch them which means that as soon as I am done stitching 1 block I put the next one under the presser foot and then stitch that one without breaking the threads (I can do a video on this if you need more clarification-just send me a comment).

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Now when you open them up they will look like the block on the right (if they didn’t, you can cut the thread in between them and lay them out so they look like a pinwheel-or you may have to take out the seams if you did not sew them in the right order).  When you flip the bottom it will look the one on the right.  Now make sure when you sew it that you are sewing the side where all the pints meet in the middle.  When I sew this seam (boy there are a lot of things I do that I did not take pictures of-again if you need more help just comment), I would have the seams going in opposite directions (in this case the top seam going down and the bottom seam going up and making sure the seams nested properly) so the seams are going the same way all around the block (counterclockwise in my example).

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This is what you get before pressing.IMGP6188

And what I usually do at this point is just press the seams to 1 side (does not really matter), and you would end up with this big bunch of seams on 1 side and just a few on the other, which can alter the look on the other side (the pints not lining up, etc.) and can affect the quilting (you may even break a needle and damage the machine trying to quilt over that seam.

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So instead of pressing the entire seam to one side this is what you will do.  If you chain stitched you need to find that connecting thread and cut it.IMGP6183

On the next pictures I did a block with 1/2″ seams so it would show better.  I finger press the seams in opposite directs (following the direction of the other 2 seams that connect blocks (not the diagonal seams).IMGP6192Then you will gently pull the first couple of stitches loose (you may need to use a pin or seam ripper-don’t cut the threads just take them apart).

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If you do it correctly you should see a small pinwheel in the center like I have.IMGP6195

Then you can press the seams and have a much flatter center that can be quilted without much difficulty.IMGP6196

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The block in the center is the one that does not have the pinwheeled seam.IMGP6199

You may not be able to see much difference, but you will definitely be able to feel it.  I encourage you to give it a try, either with some scraps right now or with your next project.  Here is the project I was working on when I decided to give it a try.

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A soon to be project will be putting up a design wall so I won’t have to take pictures on the floor while standing on an ottoman.  Hope you enjoyed my pinwheeled seams tutorial.

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