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Thread: Setting seams

  1. #1
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    Setting seams

    I've seen setting seams mentioned here a few times and on some quilting videos, but I haven't seen a purpose for it. Could someone please explain to me why setting seams is recommended? I've done it a few times, but see no difference in the outcome of the block. Thanks!

  2. #2
    Super Member katier825's Avatar
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    I think it's supposed to help press the thread closer to the fabric so the seams lay a little flatter. I do see a difference sometimes if I forget.

  3. #3
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    Katier is correct. If you will notice that sometime the bobbin stitch may be a bit looser than the top or there may be skipped stitches. Setting seams embeads these looser stitches into the fabric making the fold lay flatter. Also the seam line may pucker a bit and setting the seam tends to help straighten out the edge and enable the fold to lay flatter. It also helps to tame the edges of different weights and texture of the fabric. I have been working with some looser weave cotton fabric and the pieces sure lay flatter when the seams are set. I believe it is just a good practice for good looking piecing even if you don't see much difference.

  4. #4
    Power Poster BellaBoo's Avatar
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    I set the seams, open and press, and then use a tailor's clapper to flatten the seam even more. I can tell a big difference in how flat my block lays and no over lap at all in the seams. June Tailor use to have the wooden clapper, I don't know if it is still being sold. At classes where I don't bring my clapper, I use the bottom of the spray starch can or bottle.
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  5. #5
    dd
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    Quote Originally Posted by BellaBoo View Post
    I set the seams, open and press, and then use a tailor's clapper to flatten the seam even more. I can tell a big difference in how flat my block lays and no over lap at all in the seams. June Tailor use to have the wooden clapper, I don't know if it is still being sold. At classes where I don't bring my clapper, I use the bottom of the spray starch can or bottle.
    My dad made me a clapper but I think Nancy's Notions still sells them.
    Blessed are the quilters, for they are the piecemakers.

  6. #6
    Super Member pumpkinpatchquilter's Avatar
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    I used to set my seams...but I really don't anymore. I took a workshop with Bonnie Hunter and she said to me, "the heat will reach those stitches without pressing them first...for me that's valuable sewing time wasted!" Hahaha...it was really hard to break that habit because that's how I learned to quilt too. But she got me thinking. I use thin piecing thread so it just seems redundant. I'd love for my quilts to last forever, but honestly, I have made HUNDREDS of quilts. My kids won't keep all of these and there's no guarantee even if I bust my hump over every tiny detail that whoever inherits them will keep them or care for them well either. So I just don't worry about it. Label it, enjoy the process. Besides, if you're trying to get your seam to lay flatter use some best press or starch. I always finish up my block with a little something to get it nice and flat, so for me personally, it just seems like a time waster.
    Valerie Smith - Pumpkin Patch Quilter
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  7. #7
    Power Poster BellaBoo's Avatar
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    A big block quilt I'm not so fussy but a small pieced block I do take the time to set the seams and always twirl the multi seams.
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  8. #8
    Super Member SueSew's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Holice View Post
    Katier is correct. If you will notice that sometime the bobbin stitch may be a bit looser than the top or there may be skipped stitches. Setting seams embeads these looser stitches into the fabric making the fold lay flatter. Also the seam line may pucker a bit and setting the seam tends to help straighten out the edge and enable the fold to lay flatter. It also helps to tame the edges of different weights and texture of the fabric. I have been working with some looser weave cotton fabric and the pieces sure lay flatter when the seams are set. I believe it is just a good practice for good looking piecing even if you don't see much difference.
    Holice and BellaBoo, I have always set seams (my blocks need all the help they can get, plus Sally Collins said to )

    but for first time I am doing a quilt where I have to press the seams open. It is an OBW.

    I started out setting the OBW seams but had trouble getting open seams to lie flat. So I tried setting BOTH sides. Then I tried not setting them but I am worried it is a weaker construction, threads at the surface, etc.

    What is your opinion?

    Sue
    SueSew
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  9. #9
    Senior Member Sally J's Avatar
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    I agree with Pumpkinpatchquilter....I set my seams most of the time (just a habit) but my quilts are USED and loved.I had a quilting teacher say that if you can't see the mistake from 10 feet away its fine. That's my guide and makes the process of creating useful and loved quilts lots more fun....I break many of the "quilt police rules" and I can't be bothered by scant. If the blocks look beautiful thats my only goal. Happy Quilting

  10. #10
    Super Member MartiMorga's Avatar
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    To press or not to press.....that is the question. Sounds like everyone has their own way. I need to press mine just to get everything to match up correctly, plus that is when I get to admire the block. As a pretty new quilter that is still a thrill for me....lol

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