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Divide and Conquer – How to Pin Long Seams

I’m moving right along on my version of the Noisy Farm quilt with sashing added, and I realized this is the perfect time to share a little tip with you about pinning long seams.

I’m not very bossy about pinning most of the time. Some people pin, some don’t, and I’m mostly a live and let live kind of person. 🙂

But when it comes to long seams (like the ones attaching those looong sashing strips to rows) you’ll find that pinning – and actually pinning in a very particular way – will save you a lot of headaches.

Here’s the problem. If you just slap a long strip on your strip of blocks and just start sewing without pinning – there’s a really good chance that when you get to the end of the long seam, one of those pieces is going to be significantly longer than the other. This happens even if you use a walking foot and even if you’re really careful about keeping your tension even. It just happens.

You know what keeps it from happening?

Pins. 🙂

I’ve got a specific method I use to pin longs seams. I call it Divide and Conquer.

Here’s a seam I just pinned. (Actually clipped. When I pin already-quilted layers together I prefer to use these clips. They distort the fabric less.)

I loaded up a really large image size here so you can click on it to see it even bigger on your screen.

Those numbers show you the order in which I placed those clips.

First I start by clipping the ends – 1 and 2. That way I know that my ends are going to be perfectly lined up.

Next I want to divide that space in half (Divide and Conquer) and I place the clip right in the middle. That’s #3.

That leaves me with two large spaces – the one between 1 and 3 and the one between 3 and 2. I divide those spaces in half by adding clips 4 and 5.

Finally, I divide all the remaining spaces in half by placing clips 6, 7, 8 and 9.

It’s always the same – I start by securing the ends, then just keep dividing the remaining spaces in half over and over again until my clips are close enough together to take it to the machine.

Divide and conquer. 🙂

I hope this is helpful!

The post with all the information about adding sashing will be up tomorrow!



  1. Catherine SAYS...

    I enjoyed reading your technique “divide and conquer”. Had to smile, that is the exact way my little Mama taught me to sew years before i had Home Ec in high school. Great, common sense, approach😎