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the question on pressing seams

the question on pressing seams

Old 06-20-2020, 05:18 AM
Join Date: Jan 2020
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I sew my seams open so there is less bulk and the quilt top lays flatter. I like straight line stitching when I do the quilting at home. I have read that you should not "Stitch in the ditch", but what if you used a decorative zigzag or serpentine stitch? would that hurt the seams?
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Old 06-20-2020, 05:33 AM
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Originally Posted by Stitchnripper View Post
I stitch in the ditch with seams pressed open. As Iceblossom and others have said, just use a shorter stitch length. Leah Day, I believe, did some experimenting and found her pressed open seams were just fine with ditch stitching and a shorter seam length. I like pressing open. Much flatter. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yv0iqnvmLOo If anyone is interested in her podcast about it.
Thanks. I will do some experimenting
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Old 06-20-2020, 05:38 AM
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Kimber -- I have had no problems stitching exactly on the seam of my open pressed seams. My piecing stitches are quite small, my quilting stitches are larger. In both instances I use fresh sharp needles. I have had very very few stitches ever break, I mean count on my hands total not just on one top but on all of them in 20 years. Just like when you are piecing you are not punching holes in the fabric you are slipping between the weave, change your needles often and you shouldn't have problems.

I can see where if the stitch length is too long that quilting in the ditch might aid batting in escaping through the seams or other problems. All I can say is I haven't found it to be a problem even after years of hard use and heavy washing (dust mite allergies, all my old quilts had years of being washed monthly).

Last year I did my first ever quilt with the serpentine stitch. My vintage machine didn't give me that option, but my modern one does. I think it is an easy, versatile, and yes, stabilizing method of quilting that works very well with a lot of the modern large/grid type quilts. I think I would deliberately use it if I was concerned about how securely a border was sewn on a quilt, even if did quilt the rest of the quilt differently -- so in that case I think it would enhance rather than hurt the seams.

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Old 06-20-2020, 06:07 AM
Join Date: Jan 2020
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Thank you so much for the info.
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Old 06-20-2020, 06:11 AM
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And - one can mix methods of pressing in one item!
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Old 06-20-2020, 07:45 PM
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Originally Posted by bearisgray View Post
And - one can mix methods of pressing in one item!

For sure! I do it all the time. No need to be locked into one method. Also, has been mentioned numerous times.......short stitch length when pressing open.

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Old 06-23-2020, 08:01 AM
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Winston-Salem, NC
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There are so many smart quilters on here, I sometimes hesitate to reply. But, pressing seams is an interesting thing to me. When I started quilting, the rule of thumb was to press to the dark, but sometimes a certain type block, the seams had to be pressed open. I am now working on a quilt (a project that several friends are working on) called First Blush. The instructions recommends that ALL seams be pressed open and at the center where the blocks meet, it is recommended that you trim the seams down to about 1/16th for about an inch or inch and a half so there won't be a big bulge in the center of the quilt. It also recommends Starch, everything should be starched. So far, it is working ok, but it is tedious. There is still some fullness in the middle where the small end of the strips meet. I have finished 13 blocks of 24. I have been using a stitch length of 1.8 on my machine. I have to admit, I'll be glad when this one is finished, plus the fabrics are not my favorite colors. I need to learn to say "no" when my friends say "Oh, come on - it'll be fun. You gotta make this with us." Oh, I found out one thing that's kind of interesting....when I start to press a seam on the wider edge, I hold the fabric up somewhat on the other end as I move my iron up the seam and the seam opens up easier as I go than trying to do it with my finger. This has been a challenge and I've learned a lot - I think my next project will be something a little easier......lol
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Old 06-23-2020, 06:35 PM
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Is she not tacking down stitch starts and stops? That would be my guess. I learned pressing to dark but when working with small/mini blocks you have to press open. Simply pressing to one side can be enough to make your block look completely off in those tiny blocks.

Like others, I'd be looking at tension setting and stitch length as well but my first question would be whether or not she tacks her line of stitching first and last. If she doesn't want to hear it, as others have mentioned, it's not worth your time and effort. She'll need to find a new quilter.
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