Learn How to Nest Seams

Have you ever wondered what it means when another quilter or a pattern refers to nesting your seams? I can help you learn how to nest seams today and take your piecing to another level of matching up perfectly!

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Nesting your seams when you are quilting is what makes those perfect points and is at the heart of perfecting the matching up of fabrics. In a nutshell it means to press your seam allowances opposite directions so that your two fabrics almost interlock as you sew.

Check out the center of this nine patch block. See how all the points on the block are perfectly set? Nesting the seams achieved this! Let me show you exactly how to do this. If you prefer to learn by video I have a video a the bottom of this blog!

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First let’s take our two pieces we are joining and lay one on top of the other, right sides together.

Think ahead when you will be joining two sections. Having your seams pressed in opposite directions is the key to nesting seams! Use your fingers to adjust and press your two pieces together. In my picture you’ll see I want to nestle the two prints together, or butt up the seams. Using how it feels between your fingers really helps. You’ll be able to tell in no time if the prints are overlapped slightly – it will feel too bulky. And if its too far apart you’ll be able to feel the gap.

Another way to double check that you are getting it nested well is to lay it down on your work surface and while one hand holds the seam securely in place, fold down the top piece to see how the seams look. Here is an example:

Fat Quarter Shop Quilting Fabrics and Supplies


Next in learn how to nest your seams you will pin just a little past the seam allowance. This is so things stay in place and when you are sewing you can secure your nested seam before removing the pin. Don’t sew over your pins! Your pinning should look like this:


Head to your machine and sew 1/4″ away from the edge, removing the pins as you secure your intersection of the seams.


Ironing is crucial to learn how to nest your seams properly! Be sure and set your seams with your iron. Not sure what that means? Setting your seams simply means to run an iron over your seams before you open them up to iron the block or pieces you’ve just sewn. Here is an example. This really does help create super crisp pieces when you open it up to do your final pressing.

This mini Steamfast Iron is the bomb! I just added it to my quilting tools and it is so handy to have next to my machine when doing lots of piecing! Click the link or the picture to grab your own! 2024 update: This iron has had many models recalled and the original recall expanded. Mine was not originally under the recall but later was added. To check to see if yours has been recalled check here: STEAMFAST IRON RECALL

Here is a different brand with similar build. I like being able to grab the round top of this style. Check it out on Amazon.

Setting the seams


Go ahead and open up your piecing and press your seam whichever way you need it to go for your project. Remember to think ahead if you need to nest the seams with the pieces that attach to this block. I don’t need to worry as I am using sashing for these blocks, so the direction of my seams won’t matter.

After pressing, I add my last row to make my nine patch block complete. Since I pressed everything to the “dark” side or pattern side in this case, this next row will nest just like the last.

Look at these points! They are perfect and it really didn’t take much extra effort. Once you get the hang of the “feeling” for the nested seams, it goes really fast!


Do you learn better by watching a video? You can do that right here!

Let me know what you think of nesting seams and how it helps you achieve amazing results!

Have you checked out my review post of Annie’s Kit Club? Hint: I like my Fat Quarter Kit Club and getting one every month in the mail is exciting and a surprise! Always fun. Check out Annie’s by clicking the graphic below, or check out my blog post review by clicking this link! Go to Annie’s main page for all their crafts by clicking here!

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