the quilting four-patch trick (tutorial)
Having just pressed a quilt top for one of my bee quilts, I know seam-flattening is a pain and begs for a trick to make it easy. If you’ve ever sewn a four-patch and always pressed to the dark side in both steps, you know how quickly that seam gets bulky. 5 layers of soft fabric can turn into a hard nub that will break a needle when you try to quilt over it. Thankfully, I have just the trick to make it easy. Surprisingly it isn’t well-known so it seemed perfect for a tutorial. It also begs for photos to show the beauty (and simplicity) of it. NOTE: This tutorial works for 4-patches, 9-patches and anywhere you’re joining a whack of squares where you don’t want a bulky seam allowance.
Start with the initial 2 patch seams pressed to one side. If you always press in the same direction, you can snuggle the seam folds up together and you’ll feel them lock into place like a puzzle. This is the key to getting your points to match up exactly. Tada! Instant perfect point matching.
Lay the piece open and face down on your pressing surface.
Before busting out the iron, gently nudge the center of the seam open. There will be one or two stitches to undo, but since you don’t need to backstitch on quilting seams, this will be easy to pry apart with your fingers.
Finger-press the seams in opposite directions. If you originally pressed to the dark sides, these will go to the light sides. You’ll see a wee checkerboard appear dead center.
Press these seams with your iron.
Behold the magic of the nonbulky seam. Beautifully flat and crazy easy to quilt over because the seam is now minus two layers of fabric. Neat eh?