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Thread: Pressing seams open or to the side: an answer!

  1. #1
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    Reading a quilt book, Ultimate Book of Quilt Block Patterns, by Judy Martin and found an answer that makes sense.

    "Generally, in patchwork, seam allowances are pressed to one side rather than being pressed open. This keeps the batting from seeping through the spaces between the stitches. It also forms ridges that will help you align seams perfectly at joints."

    Have seen this especially with the polyester battings. :D

  2. #2
    Power Poster BellaBoo's Avatar
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    The batting seeping makes sense but I have never had the ridges guarantee perfectly matched seams. :D

  3. #3
    Super Member ghostrider's Avatar
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    Most batting no longer beards, but nested seams definitely are an aid in matching seams and pressing to one side is almost an essential for stitching in the ditch.

  4. #4
    Super Member chairjogger's Avatar
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    After years of sewing, since 1960's, Marsha Marsha style skirts and vests, I was schooled in open seams.

    For Quilting I was schooled in side of darkest fabric but did not know why.

    Thanks for connecting the dots! :)

    Kris

  5. #5

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    I personally set to one side as to align up the seams..and, it works like a dream. I normally press to the dark as not to see the seam thru lighter fabric. When I hand piece, I do leave the seams open...as it is easier to get thru:)Skeat

  6. #6
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    i do which ever works best for the project. large blocks the seams can be pressed to one side but if you're working on 4 inch blocks with pieces that measure 1/4 square there isn't room to press to one side without creating a tremendous bulk issue.

  7. #7
    Super Member LucyInTheSky's Avatar
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    I dislike pressing seams open, since I usually press or steam my fingers as well. Also, if the seams are pressed open, you can't do stitch in the ditch, since you don't want thread on thread without any fabric holding anything in place

  8. #8
    Moderator littlehud's Avatar
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    I press mine to one side and the butting one seam up to another usually works for me.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by chairjogger
    After years of sewing, since 1960's, Marsha Marsha style skirts and vests, I was schooled in open seams.

    For Quilting I was schooled in side of darkest fabric but did not know why.

    Thanks for connecting the dots! :)

    Kris
    Like you I have always sewn clothes. Never could figure out why we didn't press the seams open on a quilt, this makes sense now. You gals that do the tiny stuff have a special talent and those tiny projects are wonderful. Me thinks I like the pressing to one side, all my blocks are BIG :D

  10. #10
    Super Member Bill'sBonBon's Avatar
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    I press to the side but if it creates to much bulk then I press it open. The pressing to the side and matching seams is easier for me, I can feel it when they lock together. The open seam matching my pins seem to move and I have to pin and check, pin and check. I generally press to dark side when pressing to the side.
    I also have that book and I love it.
    BillsBonBon

  11. #11
    Super Member dakotamaid's Avatar
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    Definitely let the block pave the way as far as determining press open or closed. I'm kinda into the history of quilts and remember reading that since most older quilts were hand pieced they were pressed to one side to help strengthen the seam. Especially with mini quilts or wall hangings pressing open makes more sense as these are made to be hung. In the end it is everyone's personal preference.

    I love this site, you girls and guys are so stimulating and entertaining!! I've bookmarked more links from here! :D

    Happy Quilting!

  12. #12
    Super Member sewmom's Avatar
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    What i've always heard was-back when everything was done by hand, seams were pressed to the side because it increased the strength of the seam and gave it more stability. with todays modern techniques its probably not as much of an issue. Me- i press them to the side unless there is too much bulk. JMHO

  13. #13
    Power Poster BellaBoo's Avatar
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    My stitch in the ditch is sewing one thread off the seam line. I like pressing seams open, the block stays flat.

  14. #14
    Power Poster oksewglad's Avatar
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    I do lots of mini's and like you "Lucy ITS" don't like burning my fingers when pressing seams open. So to reduce bulk I have started to press to the side and then grade the seam (trim seam allowance closest to the inside). I still have my seam bump to use, but less fabric over all.

  15. #15
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    Poly batting beards unless it is pretty heavily bonded. Even then, it sometimes occurs with laundering.

    I make exceptions, but most of the time I press to one side.

  16. #16
    Senior Member judee0624's Avatar
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    :D Good to know, thanks!

    judee

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by oksewglad
    I do lots of mini's and like you "Lucy ITS" don't like burning my fingers when pressing seams open. So to reduce bulk I have started to press to the side and then grade the seam (trim seam allowance closest to the inside). I still have my seam bump to use, but less fabric over all.
    Have wondered about grading but never see anything about it in instructions for quilting. Used that a lot with clothing. Need to take classes and find out all these tips, might be able to keep my points nice and pointy :roll:

  18. #18
    Power Poster oksewglad's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bluebird
    Quote Originally Posted by oksewglad
    I do lots of mini's and like you "Lucy ITS" don't like burning my fingers when pressing seams open. So to reduce bulk I have started to press to the side and then grade the seam (trim seam allowance closest to the inside). I still have my seam bump to use, but less fabric over all.
    Have wondered about grading but never see anything about it in instructions for quilting. Used that a lot with clothing. Need to take classes and find out all these tips, might be able to keep my points nice and pointy :roll:
    Bluebird--I just figured that sometimes mini seams are trimmed to 1/8", so why not compromise and grade the seam allowance instead. I wouldn't recommend it for large quilts as the short seam allowance may cause the seam to ravel too close to the stitching from constant wear and tear.

  19. #19
    Super Member Rose Marie's Avatar
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    I press both ways open and to the side depending on the bulk.
    Back seams in clothes are pressed open and you sit on them all the time so they are strong enough to hold.

  20. #20
    Super Member Katrine's Avatar
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    I have pressed open on a few occasions after reading this
    http://www.straw.com/equilters/libra...SeamsOpen.html
    but generally to one side.

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