Do you pop your quilt-block seams? (how-to video)

Last month we shared a video from Carrie Nelson that explained how to get quilt-block centers to nest together perfectly. Her how-to is a game changer!

Today we’re excited to share another video from Carrie that reveals how to press quilt block seams so your blocks lay super-flat and nest perfectly together with other blocks when it comes time to sew them together.

All it takes is a pint-sized pop. A tiny twist. A teeny twirl. Watch Carrie work her magic!


Reading this post in email? Click here to watch the video.

The technique works for any unit or block where four fabrics meet. Give it a try! We promise your blocks, your quilt top—and whoever will be machine quilting your quilt—will thank you!

Sometimes you just need a friend to show you the little tricks they know. You can bet that inside Carrie’s latest book, Miss Rosie’s Farmhouse Favorites, you’ll find more simple sewing tips that’ll make you say, “Thanks, Miss Rosie!”

Carrie’s sewing tips are just icing on the cake—in the book you’ll fall for a dozen delightful quilt designs that are just Miss Rosie’s style:

Three Barns quilt
Of this Three Barns quilt, Carrie says, “You’re thinking I went a little overboard with the stars, aren’t you? It isn’t possible! When it comes to stars, more is always better! How do I know? Go outside tonight and look up into the sky. I rest my case.”

Stella Blue quilt
Of this Stella Blue quilt, Carrie says, “The block in this quilt is a simple Star block, often called an Eight-Pointed Star, Sawtooth Star, or Variable Star. I placed background fabrics randomly in the blocks, and I purposely made flying-geese units with two small triangles that matched in color but were not the same print.”

Cracked Pots quilt
Of this Cracked Pots quilt, Carrie says, “Due to my love affair with 1½"-wide strips, I wanted to make something that would let me indulge myself while still making something different. (An extra-quiltacular affair, if you will.) The Courthouse Steps block seemed perfect. And, I wanted houses in my quilt—another way to use those 1½"-wide strips!”

Check out this Instagram pic from @richyjr16 of SpazzyCat Designs—he transformed Cracked Pots into a fun Halloween quilt. (Don’t worry, no Halloween frights in his neighborhood!)

So, how do you flatten your quilt-block seams:

  • I use the same method as Carrie!
  • I press all my seams open.
  • I press, press, press . . . and then I press again.

Tell us your method in the comments!

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45 Comments (leave a comment)

  • I use the same method as Carrie!

    —Angie Little on September 15, 2017
  • I use the same method as Carrie!

    —Carol Melcher on September 15, 2017
  • Will be popping my seams from now on! Great video lesson. Thank you!

    —ADKKATE on September 15, 2017
  • I use two methods, Carrie’s method or the clipping trick method. Both work wonders!

    —Patti on September 15, 2017
  • It depends what i am makeing or the project i am working on

    i work and quilt a lot of old tops

    they are my pride and joy and were bought long ago

    you can’t find many of them now

    —helen cox on September 15, 2017
  • I use Carrie’s method.

    —Mary Kastner on September 15, 2017
  • i press, press, press but i’m going totry this method on the quilt i am making now.

    —carolyn montgomery on September 15, 2017
  • I usually just press. I used this method years ago and had forgotten it. I’m going to give it a try again, they do lay flatter. Thanks for the reminder.

    —Dorothy Carter on September 15, 2017
  • I use the same method as Carrie, however, I carry it one step further. As soon as I take the iron off the seam (especially at the intersections where several seams come together) I press a tailor’s clapper down on it for a few seconds. You will have the flattest seams ever!!

    Great tip, Kathy, thanks for sharing it! –Jenny

    —Kathy on September 15, 2017
  • I press, press, press . . . and then I press again.

    —Brenda Hulsey on September 15, 2017
  • I press, press, press . . . and then I press again. I have so much to learn!!!

    —Martha Morgan on September 15, 2017
  • I use Carrie’s method within a block where 4 fabrics meet. However I use some pressed open seams where it makes more sense & faster construction. I always press after each step. So I can’t attest to only one method of piecing……love this featured book!

    sonja on September 15, 2017
  • I do all of them totally depending on the style of block and what kind of block it’s next to.

    —April Lopez on September 15, 2017
  • I use the same method as Carrie.

    —Virginia in AK on September 15, 2017
  • I use Carrie’s method and love it.

    —Donna W on September 15, 2017
  • Wow who knew! Popping seams is just that simple. I’ve been pressing them open and have tried clipping them open but I’m going to try this from now on. I am finishing up a Miss Rosie’s quilt right now. I can’t wait to see her new book.

    —Loretta B on September 15, 2017
  • I had not seen such an easy video on how to spin the seams. I will definitely be doing this from now on.

    —Sue on September 15, 2017
  • I use the same method as Carrie.

    —Jan on September 15, 2017
  • I press, press, press and use a tailor’s clapper. I may try Carrie’s method.

    —Karen on September 15, 2017
  • I’ve just been pressing all the seams open. Time to revisit…

    —bookboxer on September 15, 2017
  • I press, press, press and then press, press, press some more. I need to learn how to do this method!!

    —Sue F on September 15, 2017
  • I used to use Carrie’s method but for some reason abandoned it. Must return to my roots. Press, press, press doesn’t work as well.

    —Sandy May on September 15, 2017
  • My pressing method often depends on the block so I guess I do all of these at one time or another.

    —Melba on September 15, 2017
  • OMG, I shall definitely be using this tip from now on! Thank you so much for posting it.

    —Mary C. on September 15, 2017
  • I use the same method as Carrie!

    —Elizabeth Wilson on September 15, 2017
  • i use the same method as Carrie!it makes things lay so much flatter

    —Leti Peterson on September 15, 2017
  • Use the same method as Carrie. Learned it YEARS ago from Georgia Bonesteel. Thanks, Georgia!

    —Pat Meinecke on September 15, 2017
  • I twirl my seams the same as Carrie!

    —Jackie Trembley on September 15, 2017
  • I press open most seams.

    —carol on September 15, 2017
  • It depends on the seam. If I can spin it I do. Otherwise I press seams open.

    —Vicki Allen on September 15, 2017
  • I use Carrie’s method. It is one thing my quilting teacher taught me even though I had sewn for years. I love this method.

    —Jackie Wisherd on September 15, 2017
  • I press, press and press!

    —jackie norwood on September 15, 2017
  • Most of the time I just press and press, but since last week I try to pop seams

    A. Bouwman on September 16, 2017
  • I have started pressing ALL seams open – they lay very flat for my free motion quilting process.

    —Lillian K on September 16, 2017
  • I am a hand quilter. Mine never need pressing.They automatically layer flat and open and I am not reshaping a piece by pressing it.

    —Sara Bates on September 16, 2017
  • I use the same method as Carrie!

    —Linda Towers on September 16, 2017
  • I press every time I sew a new seam and then I press(and trim all stray and raveling threads)again, when the the top is finished.

    —Patricia Hambrick on September 17, 2017
  • It depends on the block design. Whenever possible I will pop the seams as Carrie does. Otherwise, I press and steam to get the best results.

    —Lisa Zook on September 17, 2017
  • I usually press my seams open. I think I will start using Carrie’s method. It looks like a time saver!

    —Patti Decker on September 17, 2017
  • I do the "pop" and twist method. Real easy and fast. Kathy in Colo

    —kathy pfaltzgraff on September 18, 2017
  • I’ve just recently tried Carrie’s method. Before I was just pressing it well and pounding with wood if needed.

    —Janet Sabol on September 18, 2017
  • I use all 3 methods depending on the circumstances.

    —stephanie woodward on September 19, 2017
  • I use the same method as Carrie!!

    Diane Hinton on September 25, 2017
  • Love Carrie’s video. I thought that I was doing my seams right but she shows us the right way to do it. Never to old to learn something new.

    kathy on July 20, 2018
  • I will start using Carrie’s plan for popping seams sure will help in pressing. Thank You

    —Althea Klosterman on July 21, 2018

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