stronger seams without the bulk



There are many times when I can’t finish a quilt in one sitting, as I’m sure is also the case with many of you. When I’m working on a pieced quilt block for a project that is not going to be finished for a while, or a block that will be moved around a lot either on my design wall or in my studio, I’ve noticed that the threads of the exterior seams can come a bit loose if they are handled too much. If the threads of those seams come too loose, they can actually begin to unravel and the edges of your fabric could come apart. To stop this from happening, I’ve come up with a simple technique to make the exterior seams of my pieced quilt blocks stronger, but without adding too much bulk in the process. If there is too much bulk in the seam, the design of your quilt may not come together as it is supposed to.

How To Begin

This is a block from my Marrakech pattern that I am working on. It consists of large-scale pieced components and requires a quarter inch seam allowance, so I’m using the quarter inch foot on my PQ1500SLPRW. This is a great foot for quilt construction because it allows me to keep my seams accurate throughout my entire project.

As I am sewing a seam and getting close to the end of that seam, I stop the machine about 1/8” from the edge, and keep my needle down. I then use the backstitch feature of the machine and make one to two stitches in reverse. After those reversed stitches are sewn, I continue sewing forward, along the edge of the block, all the way to the end of it.

I’ve made a little video to show you how I do this, since I think this technique would be easier to understand if you could see it .

Watch Video

A Closer Look

You can see the extra locking stitch in my seam here. By placing the locking stitch about 1/8” from the end of the block, there is not as much bulk added to the seam as there would be if that stitch had been added at the very end of the block. If the locking stitch or stitches were closer to the edge of the fabric, there would be a chance that the extra thread from the locking stitches could increase the bulk of the seam. The potential extra bulk could have an effect on all of your quilt blocks and make them not fit together as well as they should.


I hope you’ll give this technique a try the next time you’re working on piecing some quilt blocks, and let me know how it works for you!

  • Marrakech pattern is a product of Heather Jones Studio, and Brother International Corporation makes no representations or warranties regarding such products.