How to Nest Seams

Kimberlee Tanner

How to Nest Seams in your Quilt Blocks

One of the biggest trials in quilting is getting all your seams to line up and your quilt block to lay flat. One might not think that the way you sew your seams together would make a big difference, but it can! This week we are sharing tips on nesting your seams and how it can help your piecing improve.


Ironing the Seams

It’s all in the ironing.

Nesting seams isn’t complicated or complex, but it does take a little extra time and planning. It’s totally worth it though!

When we nest seams, we like to lay out the block completely and keep it close to the ironing board. Having it nearby will help you remember what needs to go in what direction. It will make it much quicker and easier.

After you have lined up the blocks, choose which direction you are ironing the first row. This one really doesn’t matter. The second row you simply want to iron in the opposite direction. This is where keeping the rows close by is useful. Then continue alternating the direction you iron the seams until you get done.

Pinning the Rows Together

Now that the seams are ironed in opposite directions, it’s easy to line them up and pin them together. Place the seams close to each other and then use your fingers to walk them together till they are touching. You can either pin in the middle of the seam, on one side, or on both sides of the seam, depending on your comfort level. The more pins, the more accurate. Simpler blocks are usually fine with one pin, but more complex ones can benefit from extra pins.

Iron Again

Now that the rows are sewn together, it’s time to iron your final seams. There are two ways to approach this. If you are sewing them to other blocks with matching seams, you can repeat the process, ironing the seams in opposite directions so you can nest the seams on the blocks as well. The second option is to iron the seams open. We often choose this method when using lots of half square triangles or sashing around the blocks. Just keep in mind, if you are planning to quilt it by stitching in the ditch, you probably want to stick with ironing the seam to one side to protect the integrity of the quilt and help it last longer.

Nesting seams can be done on a small or large scale! Just continue to iron the seams in opposite directions as you construct each step of your quilt top.

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