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Thread: Open pressed seams

  1. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by JulieR View Post
    Confession: I've tried several times to press my seams open, and it always ends in burnt fingers and frustration. What am I doing wrong? I've watched people do it online before but my seams just don't ever seem to want to open.
    Take two quarter round pieces of wood and use wood glue to hold them together. Place the pieces together so you get the flatest surface possible on top. Use clamps to hold the pieces together until they dry then sand smooth. Lay seam centered over the wood piece and use DRY iron. They sell a padded version of this but it's pricey and padding is unnecessary.
    Cheryl Robinson
    http://www.silverneedlestitching.com
    APQS Millenium Longarm with Intelliquilter

  2. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by quiltstringz View Post
    I do press mine open when I have a lot of pieces coming together. For me (and yes it may only be me) I have an easier time matching when I press to one side. I have never had issue of breaking a needle when quilting with seams pressed to the side.

    I also lower my stitch length to at least 2, most of the new machines come up at 2.5 (not sure how many stitches to the inch that is). I think the other thing is that SID was not meant to be in the seam line but a little to the left or to the right of it. Most older quilts I have noticed have the quilting stitches either just to one side of the seam or a 1/4 to the side of the seam.
    I think the theory behind ironing seam to one side is/was adding strength to that seam.....as mentioned above, SID should be done just to the edge of that seam-on the double seam allowance side, not right in the ditch-that could break that joining thread.....if done right, seams all going to the side in a multi pieced block, there should not be Bulk.....I always pinwheel my seam meetings on the back....even on pinwheel/kalideoscope block, if all going in same direction, the center will fan out smoothly....
    If a LA will not accept a top unless the seams are opened, she would not be my choice.......and needle breaking is not caused my seams, her needle is either too thin or she is going to quickly and causing the needle to snap. Just from personal experience

  3. #28
    Senior Member MarthaT's Avatar
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    I think ironing to one side rather than open makes (not sure how to describe it) a "tighter" seam. If a seam is ironed open and stretched tight, there can almost be a gap between the two pieces of fabric, but if the seam is pressed to one side, it is "sealed" up. Also, there is the stitch-in-the-ditch issue. There is no "ditch" when you press a seam open. I also like the accuracy gained by butting seams (pressed in opposite directions) against each other which you do not have if you press a seam open. I have pressed select seams open on a few quilts I've made, but it is vary rare. But as they say, there are no quilt police. Whatever works for you.
    Thimble and Thread

  4. #29
    Super Member jeaninmaine's Avatar
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    For generations, the rear seam on mens pants were pressed open without too many problems. When I was taught to quilt, seams were always pressed open. I have had fabric wear through but never had a problem with the seams.

  5. #30
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    I started out making clothes and other items where the seams were pressed open. Then my first quilt instructor said "press to the dark", which I generally do, however, when you are piecing a block with many pieces, it's better to press your seams open to reduce bulk. You can finger press or use the wooden iron - a favorite of Eleanor Burns, and then if you need to use the iron go ahead, but I've found that the wooden iron works pretty well. The "rules" do constantly change, but use what works best for you and you'll have good results.

  6. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by JulieR View Post
    Confession: I've tried several times to press my seams open, and it always ends in burnt fingers and frustration. What am I doing wrong? I've watched people do it online before but my seams just don't ever seem to want to open.
    I start the seam by finger pressing it first or using something I have laying around to press it open and then just press the rest of the seam starting at that end.

  7. #32
    Super Member nhweaver's Avatar
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    I have a sleeve ham sitting in the drawer for years, never used it. I will try it when I press the seams open. what a great idea. Re utilization of tools!

    Quote Originally Posted by JulieR View Post
    Oh! I will definitely try this, thanks! I always try to finger press them apart before I press, but it doesn't always make things better.
    If life gives you lemons, make a margarita.

  8. #33
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    At the last AQS show in Grand Rapids a vendor was selling two size strips that actually looks like quarter round (you use for trim on walls, doors, floors etc) covered with very low loft batting and muslin. This lifts the seam just enough that the iron does not disturb the other sides and makes the finger pressing really easy before using the iron. This is now my new favorite tool!!!!!
    Also, using open seams eliminates the 'scant quarter inch issue'.

    Quote Originally Posted by JulieR View Post
    Oh! I will definitely try this, thanks! I always try to finger press them apart before I press, but it doesn't always make things better.

  9. #34
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    Appropriate topic since I recently started pressing seams open. It takes a little longer for me but worth the effort, especially when I am doing triangles.

  10. #35
    Super Member feffertim's Avatar
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    I just signed up for the new craftsy class by Anita Grossman Soloman and she presses all her seams open. It makes a lot of sense to me because when I am making a large quilt, I always seem to lose track of which way the seams go and end up with two seams going the same way no matter how careful I think I am being. I will always press mine open from now on

  11. #36
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    I think the press to the side originated when all seams were sewn by hand. It definitely made the seams stronger. Now that almost everything is machine sewn, I don't think it makes that much difference.

  12. #37
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    I am a longarmer and all my customers press to one side. It makes no difference. The seams in the finished quilt are stronger pressed to one side. when pressed open, all that is between the two pieces of fabric is a line of stitching. Make sense?
    Michelle Guadarrama

  13. #38
    Power Poster solstice3's Avatar
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    I have found that it depends on the patttern. I was always taught to iron seams open. It threw me for a loop when I started quilting that you are sometimes told to press them to the side.

  14. #39
    Power Poster MadQuilter's Avatar
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    I have pressed some open and some to the side. The only time I would not press open is if the planned quilting is SID.
    Martina
    Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Fabric!

  15. #40
    Super Member sniktasemaj's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JulieR View Post
    Oh! I will definitely try this, thanks! I always try to finger press them apart before I press, but it doesn't always make things better.
    That just doesn't work for me. I can't find any way to easily press open. it takes forever.

  16. #41
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    There are several types of finger protectors to keep your pinkies from being scorched. Fons and Porter sell some, I think.

  17. #42
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    If I want to stitch in the ditch then the seams are stitched to one side. If free motion quilting, then open seams. I do both domestic machine quilting and LAQ. Bulk at intersections is a consideration. Also, if a particular seam is the edge of a design, to one side adds a little emphasis to the advancing side. If that seam isn't important to the design, it can have less attention if pressed open. Whenever piecing fabrics together to make that piece large enough, ie, piecing borders that are long enough, press seams open. Paper piecing requires the seas are pressed in the direction coresponding to the order of piecing. One of the advantages to Ruth McDowel's paper piecing methods is you can choose which way the seams are pressed.

  18. #43
    Senior Member cattailsquilts's Avatar
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    I (almost) always press to the dark. I like being able to nest the seams when piecing. But, like everything else in our art, each quilter has his/her own preferred method of doing things.

    As for the long-armer's broken needle problem- the only time I've broken a needle because of fabric is when I hit the umpty-ump layers of seam allowance at the center of a paper pieced star. Otherwise, I dont' think I've ever broken a needle on my quilting machine (Knock on wood!!!)

  19. #44
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    The half round, (or two quarter rounds glued together), used for opening seams is called a Strip Stick. They are available on line. You can make your own easily. Pad or not, cover or not. A long one is 44 inches long, for WOF strips. And there is a shorter one.

    I found an easy way to open seams is to press it one way and then press it the other way. That way both seam allowances have been pressed aside and open easier.

    I don't press seams open unless it is the center of a star where many seams come together.

    I was taught that stitch in the ditch was done as close to the seam as you can get without catching the fabric from the other piece. When finished correctly, you can't see it unless you pull the two pieces apart and look carefully.
    Mavita - Square dancer and One Room School Teacher

  20. #45
    Super Member QandE2010's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bunniequilter View Post
    Some thing I press open, other to one side, each project is different. The pressing rule we have follwed for so many years is more flexible that we thought.
    Ditto to this. I'm just glad the quilt police never comes to my house. Whenever I see them coming, I run & lock the door. LOL
    Alma
    Nami to 6

  21. #46
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    Hello, I'm new here and have been reading. I have a question. What is "FMQ" and "LAQ" AND "SID" mean? Thank you for your help.

  22. #47
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    Free motion quilting, long arm quilting or quilter and stitch in the ditch
    I think there may be a thread with more of these explained.

  23. #48
    Super Member Auntie Em's Avatar
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    I am in the process of doing a quilt and am pressing the seams open.....I agree....what a difference!!!!
    There is no place like home!

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