two pieced strips of fabric with title "pojagi seam allowances vs. quilting seam allowances"

Pojagi Patchwork Seam Allowances vs. Regular Quilting Seam Allowances

Seam allowances are tricky things. In traditional quilting, getting the correct seam allowance will make your life a lot easier. 

A scant 1/4″ means that everything will line up nicely when you’re finished and points will match.

If you are doing lined pojagi, seam allowances are the same, so you are good to go, but with unlined pojagi it’s a different story. Getting an exact seam allowance is almost impossible, especially if you’re sewing by machine.

My advice is this:  DON’T EVEN ATTEMPT IT! Don’t try to do a western design that involves corners matching up nicely. Even if you get it to match on one side, you may find that it didn’t match on the other side.

Of course, some people will take that as a challenge. They will have to prove they can do it, and it’s not as bad as I say. If that’s you, feel free to try. If you succeed, I will congratulate you.

I have done it before, and I have never had to take out so many seams in my life. I promised myself I would not do it again. If you are extremely OCD and enjoy nothing better than un-sewing, then by all means, give it a go. If you are an ordinary person, you probably won’t enjoy it.

Why the seams are different:

1. Traditional Quilt Seam

Start with 2 1/2″ squares.

four green fabric squares

The 2 1/2″ squares join together to form pieces that are 4 1/2″ long.

green fabric squares joined to make a strip

Those join to form a piece that is 8 1/2″ long.  Each square that was cut at 2 1/2″ finishes at 2″ square.

If you’ve been quilting for any length of time, this should not be new to you.  But the pojagi seam is different.

2. Reversible Pojagi Seam

Begin with 2 1/2″ squares.

4 pink fabric squares.

When they are joined with a pojagi seam, you can see that the pieces are different lengths on either side of the strip.

strip of fabric pieces joined with pojagi seam.

Pieces will either be wider on one side than the other (dark pink), or at least off-set from each other (light pink). Even if you are very careful to always join your seams in the same direction, it is very difficult  to get seam allowances the exact same size.

The entire piece is much less than 8 1/2″ long.

pink fabric squares joined with pojagi seam

They are just two different creatures. I will admit, in quilting, I do want my points to line up and everything to be exact, but attempting to transfer that tendency to pojagi would cause me to lose my mind, or at least my enjoyment of the process. That is one of the main reasons why pojagi designs look quite different from quilting.

comparison of regular quilt seam and pojagi seam

If you want to try it, go ahead, but don’t say I didn’t warn you!

Now that you are warned of the dangers of transferring your point-matching tendencies from quilting to pojagi, feel free to try out some pojagi projects. Without the stress of matching, you might even enjoy it more.


elizabeth decroos

Elizabeth DeCroos

designer, teacher, speaker

Elizabeth enjoys doing all types of sewing and needlework and teaching others new techniques. For more information or to have her speak to your group click HERE.

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