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Thread: How to Plan your Seams?

  1. #1
    Super Member rvsfan's Avatar
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    How to Plan your Seams?

    I hope I can explain my question. How do you plan ahead your seams that will intersect so that they are laying in opposite directions so that you can nest them? Inevitably, mine will match up with a row where both rows are laying in same direction and making a big hump at intersection. I just don't know how to plan ahead. Hope I'm making sense. TIA

    As a PS, you know the log cabin cross pattern some of you have seen? Well, I am just now making my 5th one, yes I said 5, to give to friends. I can now make them in my sleep. Beautiful wall hanging. I will try to post a picture.
    rvsfan
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  2. #2
    Junior Member Sheep Farmer's Avatar
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    Most times you can plan your seams by pressing one to one side the other to the other.

    However, there are time when you sew a row and seams will be going in the same direction. In this case, I simply fold one seam over the other direction as I am sewing in order to make them nest. Remember that no one is going to rip your quilt apart in order to see which direction you've sewn your seams, so sew them and press them in whatever direction you want in order to get it as flat as possible.

    Some seams may even go in both directions!

    And if the intersection is really bulky, just open up those seams and sew it that way.

    Another trick I use for bulky seams is to grab a little paint brush and paint on some spray starch just on the bulk and press it with a hot iron. That makes the bulk lay very flat.

    :-)
    Sheep Farmer by day ~ Learning to Quilt by night

  3. #3
    Super Member Stitchnripper's Avatar
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    I have decided about 10 quilts ago to iron all my seams open. I don't think their use will be affected. I don't expect them to be in use for a hundred years. There are some folks talking about this - one comes to mind is Leah Day. I've read other quilters blogs on this but can't remember.
    Alyce

  4. #4
    Super Member rryder's Avatar
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    I've been known to do the following:

    1. Use a hammer to smash a too thick seam- put a board under it, or lay it on the concrete sidewalk. This is an old tailorís trick and it works very well for places where multiple seams intersect.

    2. Flip the seam in question while sewing. This will result in a place where it is ďtwistedĒ at some spot. That is easy enogh to manage- make sure the twist is away from a join, somewhere in the mddle between intersections works best, then use some spray starch and a hot iron to flatten the twist.

    3. Clip the seam so it can be ironed in the direction you want. When doing this, Just make sure you donít clip the stitches.

    Another possibility: Some folks diagram their pressing plan when designing their quilts in order to avoid the problem- Iíve never done this as I tend to design on the fly.

    Rob
    Last edited by rryder; 12-24-2017 at 06:37 AM.
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    I almost always start off a new quilt by making one 'practice' block (which is usually good enough to make it into the final quilt). The practice block is where I figure out things like the best order to sew the pieces together, which way to press the seams, and how to mass produce the block.

    Pressing some seams open can help deal with the humps at the intersections. The only downside is that you can't stitch in the ditch then.

    I'm going to try that hammer trick, though. Nothing better than problems that can be solved by whaling on something with a hammer.

  6. #6
    Senior Member catsden's Avatar
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    I have started to press my seams open. Able to reduce bulk. Most of the quilts I make consist of lots of intersecting triangles etc. I also find it easier to match the seams.

  7. #7
    Senior Member tallchick's Avatar
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    I know some who make pressing plans when starting a quilt and I envy their patience and fortitude! This past year I decided to press my seams open and make my life easier. I do shorten my stitch length, and think they will be fine, I like how they lay on my longarm when quilting, so much easier! Canít wait to see your finished projects.
    Lisa

  8. #8
    Super Member quiltingshorttimer's Avatar
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    my friend has a book (can not remember the title or author) that explains how to do this on lots of quilts. I almost always have a few seams with a "twist"--as much from carelessness as not knowing which direction they should be going--starch or steam will lay them down pretty flat. Pressing open means SID is out--but sometimes I do that if I have lots of seams meeting (like with a star, etc). And I have a rubber mallet that I use with a board (and some spray starch) to flatten those that would end up as knots when quilted--works fine.

  9. #9
    Super Member Teen's Avatar
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    If I know I'm going to flip blocks around after they're finished to play with the design, I typically just finger press seams. Like on a drunkards path quilt. Then when design complete, I press the seams for nesting. If I can't do that, then I've been known to repress blocks or just press seams open, too. I don't like the bulk but, obviously, this can't be avoided sometimes. Eleonor Burns teaches a neat twist technique but I've never been able to do this. She does it on pinwheels but I just press pinwheel blocks open now.
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  10. #10
    Power Poster Jingle's Avatar
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    On the simple quilts I make for donation, I pin the seam allowances in the direction they need to go. If other seams don't nest, I lay them opposite, pin and sew on. I really haven't made any fancy quilts.
    Another Phyllis
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  11. #11
    Senior Member janjanq's Avatar
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    I have become a fan of using sashing strips and cornerstones between blocks. I usually don't have much trouble piecing a block, but when piecing blocks together, especially a BOM or Sampler type quilt, the seam issue is eliminated by using sashing strips.

  12. #12
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    need to ask....if you press seams open how do you stitch in the ditch? I do this a lot or cross hatch(think that is what is called) I cannot master free motion after hand surgery and bum fingers Merry Christmas to all!!! Dee

  13. #13
    Super Member SusieQOH's Avatar
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    I like the idea of pressing seams open. When I started quilting it was a huge no-no but unless I'm using a fabric that the seams will show through why not? I'm going to give it a go on my next project.
    I really don't know of a way to remedy your problem other than to re-press the seams when it's completed, right before sandwiching, I just did that and it worked fine. I do think that sometimes it's unavoidable though. (but not a big deal)

  14. #14
    Super Member JENNR8R's Avatar
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    I press all my seams open with the stitch length reduced to 2.0. I never have to think twice about which direction to press the seam.

    I've never hesitated in stitching in the ditch either and have never had a problem. I'm not good enough to only catch the threads. There is plenty of fabric sewn in the ditch to hold it together.

  15. #15
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    If I'm putting string blocks together without sashing, I use a larger seam and press them open. Works well but I too am now a fan of sashing. I make a lot of string blocks with muslim backs but my boxes of strings never seem to get smaller.

  16. #16
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    I usually press all my seams open as well. Having been doing this for years. I honestly feel I get more accurate piecing this way vs 'nesting' as well. I can stab exactly in the middle of a seam to match up the next piece instead of being next to the seam for stabbing/matching purposes. And I've yet to have an issue with any of my quilts as far as I know due to the seams being pressed open. Also makes for much flatter blocks in general as well as those that have multiple seams meeting in the center. Much less bulk to deal with.

    Only exception is paper piecing. I just never think about pressing those seams open after I trim.

  17. #17
    Super Member b.zang's Avatar
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    I've been known to re-press seams, sometimes more than once. First, I press the seam back to flat, then press in the direction I want it to go. Thanks for asking the question. There are some good ideas here.
    Barbara

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  18. #18
    Super Member JudyTheSewer's Avatar
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    Somehow I have it in my head that the habit of pressing seams to one side when piecing is so that the batting doesn't work its way through the stitching. Did I make that up or did I read that somewhere?

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    Quote Originally Posted by rryder View Post
    I've been known to do the following:

    1. Use a hammer to smash a too thick seam- put a board under it, or lay it on the concrete sidewalk. This is an old tailor’s trick and it works very well for places where multiple seams intersect.
    This trick is a good one, but please don't use a regular hammer. The rubber maul will do less damage to your fabric and will do the job. I have a small one, and it works great.
    Mavita - Square dancer and One Room School Teacher

  20. #20
    Super Member QuiltingNinaSue's Avatar
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    Hammer??? Never had that problem and I have made a number of Stack 'n Whack with Bethany Reynolds book on Stack n Whack. When sewing three 45 degree pieces together, you stop short of the end of the piece that goes to the center... By not sewing the on fourth inch seam, it allows the ends to twist on the inside of the piece. The seam connecting the two rows catch all the seams together, so no open seam. I also use Eleanor Burns idea from four pieces together, to let them 'twist' on the back side. Again, its ripping back about two or three stitches on the back side so they twist. I have heard that pressing the seam open, weakens the seam, but have not experienced or seen any where that happened. Yes, even Jenny Beyer supplies offered for sale includes a 'hammer' to use on stubborn seams, so many quilters do use them. I will try to post a picture of multiple seams coming together to illustrate what I am saying. Sometimes a picture is worth more than a 1000 words. Works for me.

  21. #21
    Super Member QuiltingNinaSue's Avatar
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    Ok, I took pictures of the back sides to show how the back 'swills' with seams all together at one point; not sewn in the one fourth seam allowances where points meet.
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Size:  149.7 KBThese 'place mats' were from the Quilting on the Square quilt shop in Holton, Kansas. When signed up for their emails, they send out free paper piecing patterns developed by them. The last picture is one of the 50 paper piecing stars I finished that shows the seams pressed open, again without sewing the last one fourth seam allowance where all points meet.

  22. #22
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    This online craftsy quilting class explains this and other piecing techniques very well Piece like a pro https://www.craftsy.com/search?query...like%20a%20pro
    Wait for a sale or sign up for the trial unlimited classes new thing.

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