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how do you press the back of this star?

how do you press the back of this star?

Old 02-10-2013, 08:26 PM
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Default how do you press the back of this star?

I took a class at my local quilt shop yesterday taught by a big name quilter. She had us making a wall hanging out of an eight legged star made of diamonds. She didn't let us press anything until the star shapes were finished, and then we only pressed the center of the star on the back, swirling all the tails of those eight diamonds in a circle. Mine came out looking horrid on the front. Another participent happened to be at the ironing board beside me, and hers looked much better on front. She said she had been previously taught to press open 4 seams and sew the center seam and the cross seam and press that all flat. It was too late for me to press those seams open, but I did manage to run a seam all the way across and it looks a little better. I would post a picture of the back of it, but it's too mangled looking to tell much. After I attached the corner blocks and setting triangles, the rest of the seams seemed to fall in place when I pressed them. To make my long story short, what is the correct way to finish those center seams on a star? There's got to be a way to make the seams come together nicely to a center point and not all lumpy and bumpy looking. Thanks for any advice and info.
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Old 02-10-2013, 08:37 PM
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Location: northwest Ohio
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This was one of the hardest things for me to learn when I started piecing. I made a large sampler quilt (Sylvia's Bridal Sampler) and it had several eight point stars and one sixteen point star. I made a few of them multiple times.

Here's what worked for me. When I sew the star points together I treat it as I would a Y seam; I mark the 1/4" point on each piece and I don't sew in the allowance. I start out by sewing towards the marked point, adjusting my stitch length so I can sew exactly to the marking and then I pivot and sew the rest of the seam. Not having all of that thread where the eight points meet makes a big difference in the bulk you'll have to deal with.

I assemble the stars in two halves and I press all the seams in the same direction. When I put the two halves together I pin carefully, lining up the 1/4" marks I made before I sewed the seams. Once the two halves are together I make the swirl on the back.

If I'm having trouble, I try a couple of things. First, I have tried sewing my final seam in two parts, starting at the center each time. This helps things stay aligned for me.

Second, once it's together, if it's still lumpy I use some Mary Ellen's Best Press when I press. I don't use too much (if any) steam because I've found that distorts the center more and can add lumps and wrinkles.

Third, I've seen others use a rubber mallet to flatten out their centers. I've never tried it, but they do sell a mallet for that purpose so it must work for someone!

This is truly one of those "practice makes perfect" things. The more you do it, the easier it gets.

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