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Partial Seam Sashing Tutorial

What is partial seam sashing?

This guide to partial seam sashing is written by quilting author and blogger Kerry Green. It is part of our Simple Sampler series which teaches you how to make a skill building sampler quilt. 

The original Simple Sampler Quilt  was designed with sashing strips and corner stones to space the quilt blocks but there are many other ways to add sashing, including partial seam sashing, which is one of my favourites!  Partial seam sashing creates the effect of a continuous frame around each block, which is especially useful for a scrappy quilt where lots of different prints need to be brought together. It’s an easier technique than the name implies and because sashing is added around each block, rather than just between blocks, it gives you an opportunity to make a larger quilt with the same 12” quilt blocks.

How to add sashing around your quilt block

1. Cutting Sashing

For each block, you will need four sashing strips.

Partial seam sashing tutorial

Sashing strips can be cut cross-grain (selvedge to selvedge) or you can cut vertical strips on the lengthways grain, following the selvedge.  The TIP section from the Log Cabin blocks post explains the effect of cutting strips cross grain or lengthways.   As I am using scraps, I have cut my strips in both directions according to the different sizes of fabric I was working with.  See below if you are using a single piece of fabric instead of scraps.

Fabric Requirements and Quantities For a Twelve Block Quilt 

For a 3 x 4 block layout:

You will need 1.25 metres (110cm wide fabric) or equivalent in scraps.  This quantity is for cutting the sashing strips along the length of fabric:

Cut three, width of fabric strips, each 14 ½” wide; subcut each strip lengthways into sixteen 2 1/2” x 14 1/2” rectangles to yield a total of 48 sashing strips.

Note:  I’ve opted for cutting strips along the length of the fabric – parallel to the selvedge – as it’s the most efficient use of fabric.  If you cut the strips across the width of fabric, you will only get two strips (29”) for each full strip (40” excluding selvedge). 


 Fabric Requirements and Quantities For a Twenty-Four Block Quilt 

For a 4 x 6 block layout:

You will need 2.50 metres (110cm wide fabric) or equivalent in scraps.

Cut six, width of fabric strips, each 14 ½” wide; subcut each strip lengthways into sixteen 2 1/2” x 14 1/2” rectangles to yield a total of 96 sashing strips.

(See note above)

TIP: When adding the sashing, work with one block at a time.  Once you are familiar with the technique, you can then work with several blocks and chain piece. 


 2. Sewing Sashing

Place the block at the centre and lay the strips around it.  Starting with the strip for the bottom edge, flip it over so the wrong side is facing upwards and measure 2” from the bottom left corner of the strip and make a small pencil mark.  Pin the strip to the bottom edge of the block, starting at the bottom right corner of the block and place another pin at the bottom left corner, which should align with the pencil mark (see red arrow in photo below).

Beginner's guide to sashing a quilt

With the sashing strip uppermost, sew from the bottom right corner of the block stopping approximately 1-2” before reaching the end of the block, secure end of seam with a few backstitches. In the photo below the red arrow shows where the seam ends and the blue arrow shows the pencil mark aligning with the block.

Partial seam tutorial

 TIP: You may be wondering, why measure 2” and make a mark on the strip?  By placing this mark, it means that the strip will be precisely the correct length for the block.  Without the mark, the strip or the block may become stretched and end up too short or too long for the final stage when the partial seam is closed.

 Press the seam and then press the strip away from the block.  Now work anti-clockwise around the block, adding the remaining strips along the block. These strips are the length of the block with one strip added.

What is partial seam sashing?

 The final stage is to close the seam from when the first strip was added.  Pin the end of the first strip to cover the short end of the last strip added.  Sew from the backstitches to the end of the seam.  Press the seam away from the block.

How to close a partial seam - quilt sashing

Your block is sashed!  Repeat with the remaining blocks.  Then, join the blocks in rows to make your quilt top.

Scrap quilt sashing

Finished Quilt Dimensions

Using the sashing dimensions in this tutorial, a twelve block with 3 x 4 layout, will produce a finished quilt measuring 44 1/2″ x 52 1/2″.

For a twenty-four block quilt, 4 x 6 layout your finished quilt will measure 52 1/2″ x 86 1/2″. 

Your backing fabric requirements will be greater than in the original sashing tutorial and you will either need to use wider quilt backing fabric or join lengths of fabric together to make the backing.


Quilt top with partial seams sashing

To learn how to sew the quilt pictured above visit our Simple Sampler Quilt project.