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Thread: iron seams open

  1. #1
    Super Member sewmuch's Avatar
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    I have been working on blocks for a wall hanging and for some reason I started ironing the seams open, voila, they sure lay alot nicer when there are several in one block. :lol: :lol:

  2. #2
    Super Member mcdaniel023's Avatar
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    And for a wall hanging I would think it wouldn't matter at all.

  3. #3
    Super Member sewmuch's Avatar
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    I just compared some of the other ones I did before and these open seams look so much better, no bulk.

  4. #4
    Power Poster Lacelady's Avatar
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    I have been ironing seams open for a little while now, and I can tell you that doing it that way makes it so easy to stitch in the ditch when it comes to quilting. I reasoned that probably, the ironing to one side was because of hand sewn patches that weren't so strong. With modern machines, and the shorter stitches I tend to use, I reckon that my seams are not at all likely to part company in a hurry, especially as they are so difficult to remove if I make a mistake. There is also a lot less bulk in some places, compared to ironing to one side. The only draw back might be that you can't 'nestle' seams ironed in opposite directions when wanting to seam two sets of patches together. BUT even then, it's easy to pin the seams together when they are ironed open.

  5. #5
    bearpaw's Avatar
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    I'm glad you posted this. I just found this article ("opinion") a few weeks ago on equilters.com on why you should press your seams open when quilting.

    http://www.equilters.com/library/tec...SeamsOpen.html

    What do you think?

  6. #6
    Power Poster cutebuns's Avatar
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    At one time they were pressed to one side so that the quilting on top would reinforse the hand stitching, since most of us use machines these days, though there are some that still do it by hand, the machine stitching is a lot stronger and it doesn't matter is you press to one side or open, the bulk changes so especially if you are working with smaller pieces it is easier when they are pressed open to spread the bulk more evenly. For the most part it is not personal prefference. depending on what I am working on, I do either.

  7. #7
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    I was always told to press to one side. The reasons were: 1. Stronger seams. (Which isn't a problem with today's machines.) 2. Makes it impossible to see the batting through the seams and keeps the batting from exitting the quilt.

    Hold your pressed open seams up to the window. If you see light showing through the seam, you may see the batting through it, also. This could become more visible with repeated washings.

    In this case, it's a wall hanging, so little or no washing involved and shouldn't be a problem.

  8. #8
    Super Member Scissor Queen's Avatar
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    Pressing the seams to one side was also done to keep the batting in. At one time batting was just carded cotton laid on the backing, it wasn't bonded and needlepunched like it is now.

    I did a BOM that the instructions said for accuracy to press all seams open. Several of the blocks were rather complicated and it did help with the accuracy. That quilt is still at the quilters.

  9. #9
    Senior Member quiltswithdogs's Avatar
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    I've read what you all have said and that site too. This is so interesting. I'm going to try open seams next time! I always appreciate any advice about anything that can help make quilting easier and look better. Thanks.

  10. #10
    Super Member ghostrider's Avatar
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    I press seams to one side for two reasons: 1) to prevent batting from showing through because I always use fabrics that are darker than the batting and 2) so I can nest my seams to make them match perfectly. There is minimal bulk with 40 to 50 wt piecing thread and accurate pressing. Anything that will be ditch quilted has to be pressed to one side as well, otherwise there is no ditch!

  11. #11
    Power Poster amma's Avatar
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    I do both methods depending on the particular block. I can see where there are advantages/disadvantages to both methods....but I haven't started machine quilting them yet...so my vote is still out :roll: :lol:

  12. #12
    Senior Member quiltingbee12's Avatar
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    I did it on one block, not sure exactly what went wrong, but i think you can distort the bias.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lacelady
    I have been ironing seams open for a little while now, and I can tell you that doing it that way makes it so easy to stitch in the ditch when it comes to quilting.
    I'm a little confused here. Would you be stitching on the actual seamline, and therefore quilting your thread rather than the fabric? Or do you move over just a bit and stitch the actual fabric? Or would you quilt on either side of the seamline in case your piecing thread gave way?

  14. #14
    Power Poster Lacelady's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kacie
    Quote Originally Posted by Lacelady
    I have been ironing seams open for a little while now, and I can tell you that doing it that way makes it so easy to stitch in the ditch when it comes to quilting.
    I'm a little confused here. Would you be stitching on the actual seamline, and therefore quilting your thread rather than the fabric? Or do you move over just a bit and stitch the actual fabric? Or would you quilt on either side of the seamline in case your piecing thread gave way?
    I suppose if you put it that way, then yes, it would be more on the thread, but I do tend to use a much smaller stitch than most, usually about 1.6 and it's quite tight, when ironed open I still get a nice effect with the quilting. Why not try a small sample and see what you think?

  15. #15
    Super Member katier825's Avatar
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    I don't think you have to select one method over the other. I think it depends on the block. If you have many layers at an intersection, it may be better to press them open to get it to really lay flat. I generally press to one side, but have read a few different articles/posts that point out good reasons to press open. The link posted above was very interesting. I don't think there's a right or wrong, do whichever you prefer or whatever works for your project! :)

  16. #16
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    Boy, do I have mixed feelings on this topic. I normally press to one side, and contrary (as usual) to what I've read, etc, I do not always press to the dark side.. the fabric I'm pressing is the same color as the side I'm pressing to.. so who cares? I have NO problem matching points, etc when I'm piecing (yes, mostly by hand VERY rarely by machine). and I do hand piecing and I'm not in the least afraid of having batting beard through.. I use hand quilting thread for piecing and the finest #12 needles I can find to piece (and quilt) and I think my stitches are every bit as strong as machine stitching with machine stitching thread, and the fact that I usually stitch from 12 stitches per inch or greater. So, I just do whatever the mood dictates..or the pattern...or the sign of the moon.... :twisted: just my 2 cents.

  17. #17
    Super Member Chele's Avatar
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    I like pressing to one side for joining blocks. It just seems to lock them in better and match up seams effortlessly. But pressing seams open really reduces bulk for quilting. Perhaps a combination of both techniques would prove best. I'm going to keep my mind open on my next quilt and just try to reduce bulk. You guys have the best ideas!

  18. #18
    Super Member Shemjo's Avatar
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    I have always pressed to the darker fabric side, but I will re consider in my next project. :lol:

  19. #19
    Super Member sewjoyce's Avatar
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    I was taught to press to one side. But after reading this article, I'm going to try pressing seams open and see what happens....sometimes my blocks look "lumpy" where the seams join.

  20. #20
    Power Poster cutebuns's Avatar
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    You are probably right Tippy, supplies have come a long way and so has the quality, I think in the days of old they used what ever they could get their hands on so a lot of the fabric as also used before being put into a quilt, nothing was wasted.

    I have seen your work and it is great.

    I don't always press to the dark either, sometimes if I was to then they would be going the same direction as other seams ( I guess an arguement for pressing open) I have not had anything show through, depends onn he quaity of facric that you use as well. I vary it to suit what I am doing. the stack and wack that I am still working on especially the little one I am happy that I pressed open. other things like the black and red that I am working on now, just making sure that they are on opposites.

  21. #21
    Senior Member kathyd's Avatar
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    I like pressing to one side (usually the darker side). I think it makes for stronger seams. I also like the way seams nestle together where they meet. Unless the quilt police are in your sewing room, do what makes you happy and what works for you.
    By the way, are those the "Happy Cows" from California in your avatar? The commercials on TV are very clever and usually catch my attention when they come on. My favorite one is from a while back when the cows would be laughing because their feet were being tickled by an earthquake (not funny I'm sure if you live there)!!!

  22. #22
    Moderator littlehud's Avatar
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    I don't think it's a big deal if you press your seams open.

  23. #23

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    One problem I have when pressing seams open is quite often the seams on the underside "flip" when sewing to another piece or block. Anyone have any suggestions as to how to prevent that?

  24. #24

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    oops

  25. #25
    Power Poster cutebuns's Avatar
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    It flips becasue it drags along the edge of the machine as you sew, if you slow a bit and just lift up a bit or even stop an lift, if it is pressed it will flip the right way. You really just need to be aware and keep your eye on them, it is the same if they are pressed to one side, some times they get cuaght going in the wrong direction.

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