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Thread: lock the seams or keep it the way it's ironed?

  1. #1
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    I'm sewing a top and keep wondering what you all do--

    I sew the squares and iron--everything gets turned every which way so I have no idea which way to iron things so it all works out for a locking seam. So--when sewing rows together do you flip a seam over even if it's sewed that direction--to lock the seams? Or do you want the back to look nice so you keep it as it's ironed but sew over the seams both turned the same way?

    I find myself putting a greater importance on locking seams. I'll press the back flat--but seams will be flipped.

    I should have stuck with log cabins--it's never an issue there! :-)

  2. #2
    Norah's Avatar
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    I'm on your side. I was just wondering that this week when I tried to iron a mini 9-patch square. Yowee! I'm watching for the answer.

  3. #3
    bj
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    Super Member bj's Avatar
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    This is definitely one of the areas I struggle with. I try to have the seams lock, and I try to be careful when laying out and pressing to see that they do. I always seem to come with up spots that don't lock and there's no way to press them to make them lock without taking something out...which I hate doing. When that happens I just stitch like they are and hope for the best. It usually turns out okay. I'm finding that when I piece/press in chunks instead of in rows it's less of a problem. May also be the reason I am becoming fond of sashing between blocks :) and seams that are off-set!

  4. #4
    Super Member thimblebug6000's Avatar
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    If you're doing an all-over machine quilting pattern or meandering it might not matter which way you press your seams. Some teachers prefer if you plan out your pressing order before actually starting a quilt.....IF you plan to hand quilt, it's very important to make sure you've pressed carefully, so that you have the areas with only one layer of fabric where you plan to stitch. Stitching through a seam area by hand is not a fun thing.

  5. #5
    Country Quilter's Avatar
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    the very reason I press all my seams open, with the exception of the obvious like you mentioned, log cabins.

  6. #6
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    Being new at this I hesitate in advice, but letís have a go at a couple of observations:

    First, I say set the seams on most pieces, as itís the most natural procedure and lends itself easier to the iron.

    Second, interlocking seams (unnatural pressings) are great and at times essential to a good block and or quilt.

    Third, the idea that pressing towards the dark seem strange now (limited experience remember) to me since you still end up light on light when doing so ( I canít imagine a material so flimsy I could see through it in the end).

    Pressing is a fussy issue at best, huh?

  7. #7
    Super Member Quilting Aggi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Country Quilter
    the very reason I press all my seams open, with the exception of the obvious like you mentioned, log cabins.
    I have always been told to press my seams to one side as opposed to making clothing when you open them out. I have always pressed to one side. It is tough on bulk when quilting later either by hand or machine, when you have bumps and lumps (as my students started joking around with last night in class).

    How many out there press to one side opposed to opening out?

  8. #8
    Moderator kathy's Avatar
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    well I agree that quilting by hand or machine is easier if they are pressed open but sometimes that's hard to do and a bit more time consuming. Sometimes when I've pressed one row to lock it doesn't work when adding it to the next row, if the whole seam direction can't be changed I cut that sucker in the middle! 1/2 goes this way and the other 1/2 goes that way.

  9. #9
    Super Member jbsstrawberry's Avatar
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    I press to the darker or solid print as the case may be. It took me a long time to actually do it though, mainly because I was use to the clothing thing too...where you press open. I didn't like the way corners looked on the back when I pressed them open, so, I forced myself to the side thing. It may be for a silly reason, but its a reason that's always stuck with me; Grandma taught me (especially with embroidery, but it translates to most things) if the back looks neat, the front is always sure to. It doesn't always work out that way with my blocks, LOL, but I'm getting there slowly but surely.

  10. #10
    Senior Member redrummy's Avatar
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    I press to the side also, trying to press so next row lines up pressed the opposite way so there is no major bulk, but it does not always work out, so I finger press back the other way if the seams wind up on same side. once quilted, it does not seem to show. I have not had anyone complain anyway!!!!!!! :mrgreen:

  11. #11
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    I always press to the side.

  12. #12
    Country Quilter's Avatar
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    Oh my! I feel SO alone here! LOL It isn't because I learned in home ec making garments... to press seams open that I do this.... Lordy! That was eons ago! I do this to get my nice flat pieces, no bumps, not for quilting purposes, not for any reason other than FLATNESS! I also have better luck matching seams and making the nice points. Every time I have tried to press to one side and then match the seams they are always at least 1/8th inch off! I gave up! I press open, and yes, it takes alot more time but I feel it is worth it...

    I am not trying to convince any of you to press open, just explaining why I do! LOL

    It is a "to each their own" thing! I have been making quilts since 1975 and I have tried numerous times to change my way of pressing with no luck....I'm just gonna stick with what works for me! :)

    I've been watching this post all day and it flabberghasts me that I am the only one that has said they press open!

  13. #13
    Super Member jbsstrawberry's Avatar
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    LOL Country Quilter...don't be flabberghasted :D. I press everything else open. And, hen I add sashing between my blocks I usually press those open...does that count? {{{{hugs Country Quilter}}}} :D

  14. #14
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    i can totally relate to every comment. and, like strawberry, i dream of the day my tops will look as good from the back as they do the front. (in the meantime, i'm VERY grateful for batting and backing fabric! :lol: )

    i prefer seams pressed open. i was horrified when i switched from sewing clothing to making quilts and heard about the whole press-to-the-side thing. :shock:

    the only reason i press to the side most of the time is ... well ... just plain laziness. also get tired of fryin' my fingertips with the iron.

    what i'm slowly figuring out is that sometimes open works best; sometimes to the side. each has pros and cons. i've noticed it's easier to get good results with triangles and anything else that creates points if i press open. squares come together more neatly if pressed to the side in opposite directions. the seams look and feel more durable, too. but ... i suwear!!! ... i always wind up with things pressed in the wrong direction almost half the time, no matter how carefully i plan and proceed. sometimes i reverse sew and realign them. sometimes i twist them. sometimes i sew them as-is. sometimes i do a kathy and clip the suckers.

    as far as which makes it easier to match seams and intersections ... i have just as hard a time either way. :cry: that's why i buy straight pins and basting needles by the ton. :lol: :lol: :lol:

  15. #15
    Super Member Lucky Patsy's's Avatar
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    I press to one side if I want that piece to stand out, but press open if I want neither piece to. I am not sure what you all mean by "lock the seams"?

  16. #16
    Super Member azdesertrat's Avatar
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    What I have learned from teachers and show etc,is that back in the day when all was hand stitched the seams were pressed to one side as to ad "strength" to the seam,but with most tops being machined pieced it is no longer necessary to do this,I myself prefer ironing them flat open much easier to work with and quilting with no eztra bulk to deal with.my 2 cents worth

  17. #17
    Moderator kathy's Avatar
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    luckypatsy'smom, when you have seams to match up, if one is pressed one way and the other in the oppisite direction, they pull tight against each other (lock), it's flat and a good smooth fit

  18. #18
    Super Member Lucky Patsy's's Avatar
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    Thanks, Kathy. I usually do try to do that, but have not heard it referred to as "locking." I had a panic moment thinking I wasn't doing something that would lead to my seams "unlocking' and falling apart!

  19. #19

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    I reckon I'm off stride from most folks, but I always press my seams open, that's the way my mother taught me. In quilting, I've tried the pressing to the dark side thingy and it just doesn't seem to work for me.

    so, with exception of triangles, I just end up pressing everything open..at least the seams always match.

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