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Thread: Advantages and Disadvantages of Pressing Seams Open

  1. #1
    Super Member Boston1954's Avatar
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    Advantages and Disadvantages of Pressing Seams Open

    I would like opinions on pressing seams open or to one side or the other. I have always pressed to the side, but it makes for more bulk to quilt through. What do you think?
    Anne L. Fulton

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  2. #2
    Super Member pittsburgpam's Avatar
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    The more complicated the design, the more seams, the more I tend to press the seams open. Also, if I want my piecing totally perfect I press them open. Bulk is a consideration but it goes along with a lot of seams so, pressing them open.

    If it's a simple and quick design, I press to the side.

  3. #3
    Super Member grammyp's Avatar
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    One problem with pressing open is the batting can show through the stitching. Also, if both sides don't get quilted there can be more stress on the stitching in the seam causing it to loosen over time. That said, I often press mine open to reduce the bulk.
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  4. #4
    Junior Member J.M.'s Avatar
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    I usually press to one side, unless the pattern of the block specifically calls for open seams. Some patterns simply won't work unless you press the seams open, but I do find that open seems are more fragile, so I only do it when I have to.
    Live and let live.

  5. #5
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    Pressing seams to one side gives strength to the top. However, there's nothing wrong with pressing open if it eliminates bulk. Just remember you won't be able to quilt in the ditch if you press them open. I might suggest shorter stitch length in piecing and dense quilting if you press all the seams open.

    I see that you say you are in Eastern Oklahoma pining for Massachusetts. I grew up in Eastern Oklahoma and spent 36 years in Western Oklahoma. Am now in Northern Virginia and miss the slower pace of Oklahoma.

    Jane

  6. #6
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    I usually press to the dark side. The only time I press open is on joining of borders. This makes less bulk. I try to use the length of the fabric for borders rather than selvage to selvage. I personally think pressing to one side makes a stronger seam. That probably isn't true, but that's what I think.
    Sue

  7. #7
    Super Member Lisa_wanna_b_quilter's Avatar
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    I think there are advantages and disadvantages to both way. With some patterns open really seems to be the only thing that will work for me. Too much bulk tends to eat my points or make it very hard to sew.

  8. #8
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    I have always thought pressing to one side was recommended because handstitdhed seams were made stronger or had less tension on them. Since I think machine piecing is more durable, and I only machine piece, I press which ever way seems to work best for the pattern.

  9. #9
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    I posed this question to Bonnie Hunter this week as I got ready to sew my Spiderweb triangle sections into blocks. When the rows are sewn together there will be 8 points coming together. She said especially with string piecing, press however it is easier for you to prevent problems. Hooray, I am pressing my 8 meeting seams open and it is working well.

  10. #10
    Senior Member DeneK's Avatar
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    This is one of those things that seems to be mostly a matter of preference... I started out doing what I thought was "following the rules" and pressed to the side but by experimenting with both ways found my work was neater and my joins better when I pressed open. So that is what I do most of the time. Sometimes the configuration of seams tells me otherwise and when they do, I listen. Maybe the seams are not as strong... I haven't had a problem yet. But then I don't quilt for prizes, profit or posterity. I do it for my own pleasure and just hope what I make is pretty enough that someone else will like it. I want it to be used and enjoyed and don't have any expectation that it will still be around 20 years from now.

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