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Thread: Hand pieced seams - press open or to the side

  1. #1
    Senior Member teddysmom's Avatar
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    Hand pieced seams - press open or to the side

    It would be so much easier to press all seams open because of the bulk when hand quilting BUT is it advisable to do that. Hand piecers and quilters HELP. What do you find is the best method. I hand quilt close to the seam so I'm catching the pressed seam fabric.

  2. #2
    Super Member nanna-up-north's Avatar
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    I usually hand quilt about 1/4" away from the seam .... that way, the extra fabric doesn't get in the way. The thicker the fabric, the longer the stitch!

  3. #3
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    I have always pressed to the side and now it is habit, the one I am working on now am trying to press open, not sure which is better. Although pressing to the side is easier than pressing open to me. Will be watching this topic.

  4. #4
    Senior Member GammaLou's Avatar
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    Up until recently all suggestions were to press to the side, but I have heard several professional lately say to press open, especially where there is a lot of bulk. The press to the side was to put less stress on the stitching, but with the quality of materials today, I don't think it is that big of an issue!

    Do it your way, it is your quilt!!

  5. #5
    Senior Member GammaLou's Avatar
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    Up until recently all suggestions were to press to the side, but I have heard several professional lately say to press open, especially where there is a lot of bulk. The press to the side was to put less stress on the stitching, but with the quality of materials today, I don't think it is that big of an issue!

    Do it your way, it is your quilt!!

  6. #6
    Power Poster dunster's Avatar
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    If you're piecing by hand, the seam is not as strong as a machine pieced seam. What I've read indicates that you should press to the side. If the seam comes open, even a little, it will not show that way, and less stress is placed on the seam.

  7. #7
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    I think that hand quilting is stronger pressed to the side. I do sometimes press open on machine quilting but only when absolutely necessary. My last quilt that I did this and it showed the stitching thread and I didn't like that. I ended up having to use a sharpie to colour my thread.

  8. #8
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    The couple that I've hand pieced, I pressed to the side because that was the 'correct' way. Used to do that with machine piecing as well but now I press virtually all of my seams open. I find it makes my points cleaner due to less bulk. When hand quilting the machine-pieced, open-pressed seams, stitching in the ditch is WAY easier. I've migrated over the last few years to more 'echo' quilting about 1/4" away from seams - easier still and this way my quilting actually shows! If you're hand quilting less than 1/4" away from the seams, I don't know that it would make much difference which way you pressed. That one additional thin layer of fabric won't make a huge difference in ease of quilting or lack thereof, in my opinion. And I think as long as your stitches/inch are reasonable in your piecing I would think they would hold up just fine. Look at the number of antique quilts out there that are hand pieced and hand quilted!

  9. #9
    Power Poster mighty's Avatar
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    I think probably to the side would be they way I would do it.

  10. #10
    Super Member Jan in VA's Avatar
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    I think we mostly began pressing the seams to the side in the days when we started frequently using polyester batting, because these often "bearded" through the seams when we quilted.

    Bearding is when tiny little tufts of the batting comes to the surface of the quilt top and can be seen like little lint clusters on the surface of the quilt. Because the tufts are usually still attached to the batting in the middle of the quilt, it's hard to just pull or brush them off; they usually are best removed by cutting them at their base.

    Jan in VA
    Jan in VA
    Living in the foothills
    peacefully colors my world.

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