It’s always the basics that get us in trouble. You just spent time measuring, cutting, sorting, arranging, stitching and now you need to set, and flatten the seams, and take out any unwanted creases. The iron is hot, and you have lots of pieces to flatten before stitching the units together to make your block. You start Pressing seams as directed by the pattern or the best way you know how.
You’re finish ironing, and as you start to stitch the units together, you notice some of the pieces are now longer than other identical ones. Now you have to take extra time to squeeze the pieced units into place, so they align correctly. Did you mess up the 1/4 seams? Nope they look right. So what’s wrong!? It might have been your IRONING technique. The following videos may give you some insight on how to use your Iron when piecing together your units, blocks, quilt top, borders, and bindings.
Image: National Quilters Circle
It’s Quilt Piecing Not dressmaking the Video on the Next Page Instructs you in How to Press Quilt Pieces
Ever hear the term set the seam. This step aligns the individual threads in the two fabrics together and prepares the fabric for the next step. Setting the seam lines up all the individual threads in the two fabrics so they fit into each other as they are folded and pressed over.
The folding over and pressing is really a two step process. Using the edge of your iron you push the fabric over to create the fold. The pushing motion slightly stretches individual threads in the fabric and creates small vacant spaces so the individual threads aren’t actually on top of each other as they are folded over. Now each thread has a small gap and is squeezed into palace as you finish pressing down on them. The heat and steam makes the fabric pliable and fuzzy and the fibers on each thread interlock with each other to form the crease.
[It’s all a very Technical Process.] NO it’s NOT! Just push and press without twisting the iron and that’s all there is to it.
As you stitch together your pieces to form either a unit, block, or quilt you may want to take the time and press the seams in the correct manner to reduce the bulk. The places where multiple seams come together can form bumps that are very noticeable. Pressing them in the correct direction helps reduce the impact of sometimes 4 or more layers of fabric where several fabric piece points converge. The following video may provide a solution to some of these bumpy problems.
As Dana Jones states, “Pressing Is Key” to make your blocks lay flat and makes it easier to join your blocks together in your quilt. Folding over a seam and pressing it in place produces a much stronger seam. Pressing seams open creates a situation where in structural integrity of the seam relies solely on the thread to hold the fabric together.
This folding over and pressing quilt seams also increases strength of seams, where seams are stitched to other seams. If done correctly your pieces will lock together. This provides other advantages as well when it comes to the actual quilting process. Watch the Video Below and you’ll see the advantage of why pressing seams the right way makes your quilt looks better and last longer.