Sewing Tricky Seams: August Meeting Recap

Did you know a popular seaming technique used by the garment industry can make sewing a t-shirt quilt a breeze?

That was one of many eye-opening tips presented at our August meeting, as ChattMQG members Theresa Kitchell, Martha Griffin, and Karen Downer showed us how to sew tricky seams. Their program covered Y-seams, partial seams, curved seams, and more.

One of the biggest “ah-hah!” moments came when Theresa demonstrated how to create quilts using flat felled seams. Strong and durable, flat felled seams are often used to finish garments such as jeans, but Theresa discovered they’re also great for making kids’ quilts and t-shirt quilts. The process is similar to quilt-as-you-go projects, and the flat felled seams end up becoming the quilt’s sashing and binding.

Use a flat felled seam to create durable, quilt-as-you-go projects.

Use a flat felled seam to create durable, quilt-as-you-go projects.

Here’s how to do it:

  1. Cut your quilt top fabrics to the desired size. Theresa used 5” charm squares.

  2. For each block, cut one square of batting the same size.

  3. For each block, cut one square of backing fabric that is one inch larger on each side than the front block. For this example, that would be 7”.

  4. With the backing fabric wrong side up, center a batting square on top of it, followed by the top fabric, right side up. Quilt the block as desired, and repeat for each block.

  5. To combine the blocks, take two and place them wrong sides together, then sew a 1” seam. Press the seam open, and then fold each side over twice to cover the raw edge of the fabric.

  6. Top stitch each flat felled seam into place.

  7. Continue this method to create rows of quilt blocks, which can then be assembled together in the same way.

If you want to learn more about quilt-as-you-go techniques, be sure to join us for our September meeting!

Theresa also showed us how to use tricot tape to sew a Hong Kong seam finish on a jacket. And Martha showed us how to sew hexagons together without paper templates. Yes it involves Y-seams, but Martha assured us they are nothing to fear. The trick is to make sure you don’t stitch inside the 1/4” seam allowance.

Want more tips? Check out our tutorial on how to sew a Z-seam.

Finally, Karen demonstrated how to sew curves with confidence. She says it doesn’t really matter if you sew with the convex or the concave curve on top; the most important thing to focus on is your “stitch horizon” — that’s the half inch in front of your sewing machine needle. As long as the raw edges of your fabrics line up in that area, sewing curves will be a breeze.

Guild members can access more tips for sewing tricky seams by visiting the Member Resources page of our website.

Handcrafted Happy Hour

We took some time off from HHH over the summer, but it’s time to gather around the table once again.

Join us Wednesday, Sept. 18 from 4-7 p.m. at WanderLinger Taproom, located at 1208 King Street in downtown Chattanooga.

Bring some handwork or a sketchbook and enjoy a beer with fellow fiber enthusiasts.

You’re welcome to stay as long as you like, and this event is open to the general public. All skill levels are encouraged to attend.

Don’t Miss Award-Winning Quilter Elaine Wick Poplin!

She’ll be in Chattanooga next month for a special two-day event.

Join us Friday, Sept. 20 at 7 p.m. for a trunk show featuring some of Elaine’s most beloved quilts. She’ll show us how the leftovers from one project can lead to another, and you’ll learn what to do with a design that just isn’t speaking to you. Plus, see how various life events have influenced Elaine’s quilting style over the years.

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The trunk show will be held in the Youth Center at Christ United Methodist Church, located at 8645 E. Brainerd Road in Chattanooga. Admission is free for ChattMQG members, $8 for nonmembers who prepay online, and $10 for nonmembers who pay at the door.

Then on Saturday, Sept. 21, Elaine will teach a workshop demonstrating free-motion quilting on a domestic machine. The workshop is sold out, but if you want add your name to the waitlist, please email Karen at

Show and Tell