How to Finish Off a 4 Corner Seam

Many of the quilt blocks that I make have 4 corner points somewhere in the block and if no-one has ever showed you how to handle sewing situations like this, you might be a bit confused on how to properly treat these seams. There are actually 3 ways to deal with a 4 corner seam: Open seams, press to one side seams and a 4 corner swirl.

Open Seam:

The open seam is an old seam technique. Many quilters of the past used finger pressed open seams and for hand quilting they work very well, especially if there is a lot of stitching going on over the seams. For the first 30 years of my quilting life, this is how I pressed my seams and it worked wonderfully. Some people think that an open pressed seam is a weaker seam and that is true in some aspects, but if you are sewing over the seam, you use the correct thread and you properly launder and care for your finished quilt the stitches will hold and the quilt will be just fine.

#1. Sew your two individual sections together and press the seams open.

#2a & 2b. Match up your seams and  slide a pin between the seams making sure they match up perfectly.

#3. Stitch 1/4″ away from the edge.

#4 & 5. Press the seam open on the wrong side of the block, then press from the right side to created a nice finish.


Pressed to one side seam:

Some people like to press their seams to one side when it comes to a four corner point. If you are machine quilting your piece or if you are not going to be hand quilting over the seams, this technique will serve you just fine.

#1. Sew your initial two seams and press them to one side.

#2. With right sides together, carefully align the two seams as shown.

#3. Stitch with a 1/4″ seam allowance.

#4. Press the seam to one side.

4 Corner Point Swirl:

This technique is a bit more time consuming, but the effects are beautiful on the underside of the block. Your seam intersection is not going to be as strong as the seam that was pressed to one side, but I have found it to be a bit more durable them the open seam. I view this technique to be an all purpose way to finish off a four corner seam.

  1. Once you have your sections stitched, press the seams in opposite directions. Align the pieces with the right sides together and butt the two seam allowances up against each other. Stitch together.

2. Open up the seam you just made and you will be able to see which stitches need to come out: There will be only 2 or 3 per side. Carefully pull them out using a seam ripper.

3. Finger press the corner open, removing any additional stitches to make it lay completely flat. Press with an iron and your done!


I hope this tutorial helped. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me.

Happy Sewing!



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