Seminole Piecing

comments (25) July 11th, 2008     

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MaryRay Mary Ray, contributor
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The Seminole patchwork technique is a cool way to piece a small project or embellish a larger piece.
This basic version starts with three fabric strips.
Cut the sewn strips apart into equal segments.
The Seminole patchwork technique is a cool way to piece a small project or embellish a larger piece.

The Seminole patchwork technique is a cool way to piece a small project or embellish a larger piece.

Photo: Mary Ray

Piecing isn’t just for quilts. Joining fabrics together in an intricate manner is a fun way to add interest to almost anything—from sheets and towels to skirts and shirts. The Seminole technique lets you form really narrow patchwork strips without struggling with pieces that are almost too tiny to sew.

This style of patchwork is attributed to the Seminole tribe of Florida, who developed the technique in the early 20th century, using hand-crank sewing machines. Their colorful garments are filled with design variations that are unique to their style of clothing.

There aren’t a lot of books written about this patchwork technique, but I happen to have one that’s full of designs and examples: The Seminole Patchwork Book by Cheryl Greider Bradkin. It's out of print, but you can find used copies on Amazon and Alibris.

Seminole piecing starts with strips of fabric (typically solid colors, but there’s no reason you can’t use prints) that are sewn together, cut into chunks, rearranged, and sewn back together. Simple as that! Here’s a basic design to get you started. Or try your own variations.

Step 1. Choose three fabrics. Cut two into 1-1/2-inch-wide strips and one into a 1-1/4-inch-wide strip. Cut on the lengthwise grain, if possible, to avoid stretching. You can cut stable fabrics on the cross-grain as well, but don’t use the bias. Sew the strips together with the narrower strip in between. Press seam allowances in one direction.

This basic version starts with three fabric strips.

Step 2. Cut this unit up into 1-1/4-inch-wide pieces.

Cut the sewn strips apart into equal segments.

Step 3. Arrange the pieces on the diagonal as shown and sew them together, carefully matching the seamlines.

Sew the cut segments together, offsetting the original strips.


For a variation, reverse every other segment.

Step 4. Sew an edging strip of fabric to the long edges to encase the patchwork.

Sew strips of fabric along the angled edge to bind the pieced strip.
posted in: patchwork

Comments (25)

lucasward63 writes: its very nice.
Posted: 4:42 am on April 12th
royabilene writes: This is perfect
Posted: 2:03 am on April 7th
CherylEValenti writes: Nice stuff of seminole piecing, I like colour combination, thanks
Posted: 11:28 pm on March 29th
CatherineCJohn writes: Amazing Patchwork.Thanks for instructions.
Posted: 7:03 am on March 28th
NicoleTFlynn writes: Superior design!
Posted: 4:04 am on March 17th
DorisCGonzalez writes: Nice work
Posted: 7:32 am on March 14th
CarlosLSeth writes: Patchwork technique is unique stuff Mary Ray, thanks!
Posted: 5:06 am on March 14th
JamesJGeyer writes: Great job, keep it up
Posted: 3:30 am on March 9th
romanmyers writes: its great.
Posted: 5:53 am on March 7th
LouisCKnutson writes: Thanks for sharing this patchwork technology with us.
Posted: 4:08 am on March 4th
SaraJGarfield writes: Brilliant patch work.
Posted: 2:32 pm on February 23rd
RobertPrill writes: I am so impressed by all your posts and thanks for instruction.
Posted: 2:56 am on February 15th
jamiecook674 writes: Great use of fabric!
Posted: 3:57 am on December 3rd
Lucimonteiro writes: Great patchwork.
Posted: 10:34 am on November 15th
paulmennon writes: Lovely colors
Posted: 1:00 am on October 18th
Amymoreno writes: I love this
Posted: 6:19 am on May 5th
shabbokamli writes: i loved it
Posted: 2:06 am on April 30th
GThomson writes: Lovely colors
Posted: 3:43 am on April 29th
SoniaGupt writes: This is perfect
Posted: 1:52 am on April 17th
robert1546 writes: nice color combination
Posted: 12:50 pm on March 13th
jomacris1 writes: superb stufff
Posted: 2:28 am on February 21st
Heny writes: Thanks for the insruction
Posted: 8:58 pm on January 30th
HempNecklaceStore writes: Good instructions thanks.
Posted: 3:05 pm on May 3rd
MaryRay writes: If you right click on the picture, then left click on copy in the pop-up menu, you can paste the picture into a word document.
Posted: 10:24 am on August 22nd
butterflywing writes: why can't i print out the full page of seminole piecing that is the introductory picture? the other pictures print out just fine.
Posted: 9:27 pm on July 31st
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