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Thread: pressing seams open

  1. #1
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    pressing seams open

    I recently began work on a churn dash blocks and read somewhere to press the seams open; I have done so and completed most of my blocks. Now I read that I should press the seams toward the dark fabric or away from the center. Will I be okay with the seams pressed open? I don't think I have the energy to make changes required to change what I have already done.

  2. #2
    Super Member UglyCook's Avatar
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    Haha, there is no "right" way. If it looks good, you did it right.

  3. #3
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    Pressing to the dark side was the traditional way. The quilt seams were done this way because they were stronger when piecing was done by hand. Now that we sew and quilt by MACHINE it is not necessary.

  4. #4
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    I press seams open all the time, regardless of directions and/or block type. Not a problem in the least. I think it makes any block lay flatter and ultimately easier to quilt, either by hand or machine. Don't fret - it will be fine.

  5. #5
    Power Poster ckcowl's Avatar
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    one of the benifits to pressing to one side is nesting the seams so they match up- if you manage to match your seams with them pressed open they are fine- there is no right & wrong- just different- use what ever technique gives you the outcome you are looking for & don't worry about it. there is no reason to do over or change something just because someone recommends a different technique than what you have used.
    hiding away in my stash where i'm warm, safe and happy

  6. #6
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    Thank you all, ladies! I do remember it said something about the seams laying flatter if pressed open. On with my task!

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    Since I use to make clothes, and seams were allways pressed open, when I started quilting I just kept pressing the block seams open.

  8. #8
    Super Member ptquilts's Avatar
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    I used to hand quilt for a quilt author/TV host and all her seams were pressed open. And her tops were pieced PERFECTLY.
    I am afraid my seams get pressed "Whatever"!

  9. #9
    Super Member Lori S's Avatar
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    I am of the "press seams open" school. None of my quilts have had issues because I presses open. Go forth .. quilt/sew the way you want.

  10. #10
    Senior Member lfletcher's Avatar
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    Some patterns do work better pressed open, but there is one concern. If you plan on stitching in the ditch when quilting, you will just be stitching over thread, not fabric. You could solve this by stitching slightly to one side of the ditch.

  11. #11
    Super Member Deborahlees's Avatar
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    I am just finishing up a quilt where the sashing between the blocks were three pieces sewn together. I had a horrible time trying to get it to look right and lay flat. Ended up sewing those seams open....and bingo everything fell into place. If I know or think that I am going to iron a seam open I try to remember to sew it with a 'tight stitch' for strength......I feel as with just about everything in quilting it is what you want to do, and so often the pattern speaks to you or the fabric speaks.....or you just do what FEELS right at the time.....as we have all said a million times on this board there are no Quilt Police allowed in my house, so I am pretty sure I am not going to jail
    Yes that is a real picture of my hometown Temecula, California. We feature premiere Wineries, World Class Golf Courses, Pechanga Indian Casino and Hot Air Balloons

  12. #12
    Power Poster joyce888's Avatar
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    I press seams open 99% of the time. I too like the way they lay flatter and are easier for me to match seams and not have the intersection move because of the bump.

  13. #13
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    It really bothers me is when a seam is pressed towards the north on one of the seam and towards the south on the other end of the seam.

    It doesn't bother some, but it really bugs me.

  14. #14
    Super Member jlm5419's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by NJ Quilter View Post
    I press seams open all the time, regardless of directions and/or block type. Not a problem in the least. I think it makes any block lay flatter and ultimately easier to quilt, either by hand or machine. Don't fret - it will be fine.
    Same here. I think it makes the seam lines so much sharper, and I can attest to the fact that it is easier to quilt without those bulky seams, especially at seam intersections.
    jlm5419-an Okie back in Oklahoma!
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  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by NJ Quilter View Post
    I press seams open all the time, regardless of directions and/or block type. Not a problem in the least. I think it makes any block lay flatter and ultimately easier to quilt, either by hand or machine. Don't fret - it will be fine.
    I just started to press seams open, and I like the effect very much. The seams are flatter which is not only nicer looking, but will be easier to be quilted. Not only that, but my machine likes it better since it doesn't like to over very think seams when putting the blocks together. I have even considered to make the seams wider than 1/4 inch! I just have to research why the 1/4 inch seam is used. Yes, you save some on fabric, but I would like to have a little extra fabric on each side of the stitching.

  16. #16
    Junior Member coffeebreak's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by NJ Quilter View Post
    I press seams open all the time, regardless of directions and/or block type. Not a problem in the least. I think it makes any block lay flatter and ultimately easier to quilt, either by hand or machine. Don't fret - it will be fine.
    I have done it for the same reason...but..my problem is that the ends start to pull apart. No matter how careful I am..most often by the time I get to piecing it..the ends are a little pulled apart/open when I press the seams open. Does this not happen to you? If not, is there something you do to prevent it? I can see a quick back stitch but at the same time... I have never heard of anyone doing that.

  17. #17
    Super Member patchsamkim's Avatar
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    I have always pressed to one side for the majority of my piecing, but when it comes to joining units, sometimes I do press open as that makes the seam less bulky. I prefer pressing to one side though. Easier to join units when seams "butt."

  18. #18
    Super Member busy fingers's Avatar
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    I think that is purely a personal choice. In my quilt group it is about half and half of "press open" "press to one side".

    I press to one side but having said that when I did a patchwork binding recently on a tablerunner I did press the seams open to reduce the bulk in the binding.

  19. #19
    Super Member EasyPeezy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by coffeebreak View Post
    I have done it for the same reason...but..my problem is that the ends start to pull apart. No matter how careful I am..most often by the time I get to piecing it..the ends are a little pulled apart/open when I press the seams open. Does this not happen to you? If not, is there something you do to prevent it? I can see a quick back stitch but at the same time... I have never heard of anyone doing that.
    Try to reduce your stitch length. I use 1.8 for piecing. It's tight enough that the seams
    won't get undone and long enough for the seam ripper when needed.

  20. #20
    Super Member jitkaau's Avatar
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    Either way is OK.

  21. #21
    Senior Member rj.neihart's Avatar
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    I agree that if it looks good to you, then it's the right way. Remember, artists have their own style....

  22. #22
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    I'm making a Jacob's Ladder right now, and all the four patches are "furled" - all the seams go clockwise around the patch. So two are pressed toward the light and two are press toward the dark. The center opens up to reveal a tiny four patch as you press it. That way the patch has no up or down and matches up so that seams nest; the top seam faces away from you and the bottom seam toward you. The bottom seam will not "flip" the wrong way when feeding. You can see the top seam to assure that it goes under the needle correctly.

    I always press to one side; mostly the dark side. But sometimes it needs to be pressed toward the light as you are putting the pieces together. The only time I press seams open is at the middle of a pinwheel or star or such, where more than four seams are coming together. My sewing machine has no trouble FMQing over this.

    And if I get to a seam and both are going the same way, I'll flip one. So don't you go looking at the back of my quilt! LOL

    I think pressing to one side is so much faster and easier. The only seam I'll always press open is the seam on the binding, to reduce bulk.

  23. #23
    Super Member karenpatrick's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by NJ Quilter View Post
    I press seams open all the time, regardless of directions and/or block type. Not a problem in the least. I think it makes any block lay flatter and ultimately easier to quilt, either by hand or machine. Don't fret - it will be fine.
    I agree with NJ Quilter. It really doesn't make any difference. I press all my seams open now. I don't have to worry when I put the blocks together which way the seams are pressed. I think they lay flatter, too.

  24. #24
    Super Member QuiltnLady1's Avatar
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    I do either one -- if there are a lot of pieces joining together I will press open. I press to one side (not always the dark side) when I think it will work to have the seams go in that direction. Flannel I always press open to reduce bulk.
    QuiltnLady1

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  25. #25
    Senior Member 2blackcats's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rj.neihart View Post
    I agree that if it looks good to you, then it's the right way. Remember, artists have their own style....
    Here Here!
    Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand, WINE IN THE OTHER, totally worn out and screaming "WOO HOO, what a ride!"

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