Fanning Seam Allowances

Fanning your seam allowances means spreading out the fabric in those spots where several seams come together to evenly distribute the bulk and avoid bumps.

Here is an example of how to fan seam allowances on a four-patch block. All four pieces have been sewn together, and the block is ready for pressing. Click on images for a larger view.

Unpick the last part of the seam until you come to the cross seam (see arrow). Unpick this part on the back side as well

Fanning Step 1

unpick part of the seam, flip over and repeat on other side

Fanning Step 2

block with seam partially unpicked

Open the block, and you can see how the seam allowances are already going counter-clockwise even before pressing (see arrows).

Fanning Step 3

unpressed block

Press block carefully from the left side, and you are done. This is a simple trick to avoid bumps without having to press seams open.

Fanning Step 4

pressed block, note the tiny four patch in the centre


Header Photo: "Third Weekend in October" Pieced and Quilted by Beatrice Rieske, Design by Ruth Powers of "Innovations"
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