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Thread: Press open or to the dark or...?

  1. #1
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    Press open or to the dark or...?

    I've read all kinds of conflicting opinions on this. When I first started quilting 10 years ago it was firmly press to the dark. Now I read both.

    Opinions? What do you do? Pressing open would give so much more crisp a finish, but it seems like it would be weaker?

  2. #2
    Power Poster ckcowl's Avatar
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    it depends on the pattern/seam i am working on- if i want my seams to 'nest' i press so they will- often this does mean toward the dark-but not always- if dealing with lots of bulk- pressing open at times is the better way to go-
    there are no -- hard rules---you press the way it works for what you are working on- some patterns tell you which way is best for your pattern- sometimes you have to figure out for yourself what is the best.---no reason for any 'conflict'
    hiding away in my stash where i'm warm, safe and happy

  3. #3
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    Great advice.

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    Power Poster BellaBoo's Avatar
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    I press to the dark when the seam will show through on a light color fabric and I have a dark to press to, but other then that I press open. My blocks sew together to be the perfect size and are flat when I press the seams open.
    Got fabric?

  5. #5
    Senior Member Sally J's Avatar
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    We all learned last night in our "open sew" that some piecing patterns just really work best if seams are pressed open. I'm going to try it, seems like it could really make a difference.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ckcowl View Post
    it depends on the pattern/seam i am working on- if i want my seams to 'nest' i press so they will- often this does mean toward the dark-but not always- if dealing with lots of bulk- pressing open at times is the better way to go-
    there are no -- hard rules---you press the way it works for what you are working on- some patterns tell you which way is best for your pattern- sometimes you have to figure out for yourself what is the best.---no reason for any 'conflict'
    What she said...
    If you feel like you're special...it's 'cause you are!
    Momto5

  7. #7
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    I usually press to the dark fabric. I press open if a lot of seams come together in one point. The reason I don't press most of my seams open is if I decide to stitch in the ditch, there is nothing by the thread to stitch over. I am always afraid that I'll break a stitch with my needle as I quilt. Do what works for you.

  8. #8
    Super Member Leota's Avatar
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    I was taught "press to the dark" but when you start setting the blocks together, some of those "dark" seams have to go toward the light (or be pressed open) because they will not nest nicely and may cause a larger than life bump in the seam... this can also be difficult to quilt over whether you are hand quilting or machine quilting.

  9. #9
    Power Poster joyce888's Avatar
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    When piecing blocks I like to press seams open. When I add sashing or borders I press the seams to the inside making the sashing or border stand out.
    Joyce

    Four things you can't recover: The stone.....after the throw. The word......after its said. The occasion.....after its missed. The time......after its gone

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by ckcowl View Post
    it depends on the pattern/seam i am working on- if i want my seams to 'nest' i press so they will- often this does mean toward the dark-but not always- if dealing with lots of bulk- pressing open at times is the better way to go-
    there are no -- hard rules---you press the way it works for what you are working on- some patterns tell you which way is best for your pattern- sometimes you have to figure out for yourself what is the best.---no reason for any 'conflict'
    I, too, agree with this completely. That said, I am a mostly self-taught quilter coming from a home dec/garment sewing background. I quickly got frustrated that seams did not 'nest' nicely when following the 'dark' rule of thumb that I started pressing open almost exclusively. I hand quilt. Open works much better for me when quilting and I've yet to hear of anyone that I've given a quilt to having an issue with seams not holding up. I go back to the garment background. Most garment seams are/were pressed open and they didn't seem to have issues.

  11. #11
    Junior Member Hemlock Tea's Avatar
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    I started sewing clothing long before I began quilting, and most of the time seams are pressed open. When I started quilting, I was taught to press to the dark, but I found I liked the results better when I press open. I seem to be able to match seams better when they're open then when they're pressed in opposite directions. I try to press open as much as possible unless it'll show through on white fabric, and then I may trim the darker seam allowance a hair so it doesn't show. I feel that the quilting will "hold everything together", so I'm not too worried about weaker seams.
    QMFAO

  12. #12
    Senior Member almond's Avatar
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    So glad to hear a lot of you press seams open. My points are so much better when I press open. I do lots of mini's so opening the seams are a must for flatness and acuracy.

    I do agree that you must find your own comfort zone. Just try different ways.
    Mary

  13. #13
    Super Member burchquilts's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sally J View Post
    We all learned last night in our "open sew" that some piecing patterns just really work best if seams are pressed open. I'm going to try it, seems like it could really make a difference.
    I was extremely lucky when I took my 1st quilting class in that I had someone I consider an excellent teacher. She taught us to press our seams open. She felt like it made your blocks & therefore your whole top lay flatter & better. Her theory was that you should be as proud of the way your quilt looked on the backside was as you were of the front. Plus it was easier to hand quilt that way (like I said... this was eons ago when everything was hand quilted). Plus you don't have to calculate which way to press the seams so they'll lock or line up correctly. So I've always pressed my seams open. I keep my stitch length pretty short to keep the seam as strong as possible. The only drawback I've found is that is when I sawp blocks, mine are different than the others re the seams.
    (`v)
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  14. #14
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    I think I'll be going open on my next quilt. The nesting just isn't happening well for me on this one. Great point UNOut the quilting holding everything together, as well as to the side if using quilt in the ditch.

    Thanks!

  15. #15
    Power Poster earthwalker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by momto5 View Post
    What she said...
    Yep...flexibility and what works best.

  16. #16
    Super Member Sweeterthanwine's Avatar
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    Good advice from all of you. I normally press to the dark .

  17. #17
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    My sister-in-law said her grandmother was a big quilter and always pressed the seams open. I'm shortening my stitch length just a little more and going with open seams most of the time. I like Superior Thread's Masterpiece for piecing. It is fine enough not to add bulk to the seam but very strong.
    Cheryl Robinson
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  18. #18
    Super Member Jan in VA's Avatar
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    "Back in the day" when I started quilting, polyester batting was all the rage, but it bearded when quilted.....that is, tiny bits of the batting occasionally pulled through seams and stitches like tiny tufts of beard. So, one way that could be 'somewhat' eliminated was by pressing seams closed, hence the press-to-the-dark dictate.

    Today's batts, even polyester, are better made and do not beard as much as they used to, whether hand or machine quilted.

    I tend to press to one side, out of habit as much as anything.

    Jan in VA
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  19. #19
    Jim
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    I do both depending on the project...some projects with multiple seams gathering at one junction I do both ...so whatever works best for you and your project...their is no set rules...thus no quilt police in existance here
    A positive attitude may not solve all your problems, but it will annoy enough people to make it worth the effort :lol:

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