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Thread: 'Setting' seams

  1. #1
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    I was watching tutorials on The Missouri Star Quilt website, and the women always 'set' their seams by ironing them before pressing them open. I was wondering what this does, and how important it is to do it. I've been trying to remember, but I don't really notice a difference when I forget. Any explanations?

  2. #2
    Super Member Dolphyngyrl's Avatar
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    Supposedly it affects how the thread lays between the fabric to make it more crisp I think. I actually do see a difference when I do this versus just pressing

  3. #3
    Power Poster QuiltE's Avatar
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    Here's a previous discussion that you might glean some insights.

    http://www.quiltingboard.com/t-122732-1.htm

    It took me awhile to "convince" myself that it was worth the effort! I will say, I do notice an improved difference to the end results, and am now glad that I changed habits.

  4. #4
    Moderator Jim's Gem's Avatar
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    I do this too. I think it makes it so the seam does not take up so much of the fabric when opening them up. It's only the slightest fraction of an inch but when you have lots of seams, they add up. So I set the seam then open and press to the dark side, or whatever side they tell me to!

  5. #5
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    I've started doing it after watching a bunch of shows on TV. But I have not noticed it doing anything.

  6. #6
    Super Member lfw045's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by babalu
    I was watching tutorials on The Missouri Star Quilt website, and the women always 'set' their seams by ironing them before pressing them open. I was wondering what this does, and how important it is to do it. I've been trying to remember, but I don't really notice a difference when I forget. Any explanations?

    http://wiki.allpeoplequilt.com/page/Setting+a+seam

  7. #7
    Senior Member Rhaorth's Avatar
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    I have read that it reduces the puckers that are caused by the sewing...

    Being new to quilting, I am trying to make it a habit to do these kinds of things, that way it won't be a matter of having to relearn it later

    love all the tips I see here

  8. #8
    Super Member luckylindy333's Avatar
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    If I have a lot of seams to press, I usually start off setting them, then quit and just press them open, bad, bad, bad...

  9. #9
    Power Poster Sadiemae's Avatar
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    I was taught that it helps to sink the thread into the fabric, so I have always pressed in this manner.

  10. #10
    Power Poster blueangel's Avatar
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    I started doing this after watching it on here. It makes a difference.

  11. #11
    Moderator QuiltnNan's Avatar
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    i use this technique most of the time... sometimes i just forget :)
    but it really does make a difference

  12. #12
    Super Member Peckish's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rhaorth
    I have read that it reduces the puckers that are caused by the sewing...
    This is EXACTLY why I set my seams. I don't set all of them, however.

  13. #13
    Power Poster MadQuilter's Avatar
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    I generally set the seams. It straightens the seamline and flattens the piece.

  14. #14
    Senior Member kapatt's Avatar
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    I learned from the beginning to set my seams by pressing the seam line before pressing the block open. I do it now without even thinking. By setting the seam, it seems to make the seam more sturdy than if you don't set the seam.

  15. #15
    Power Poster alikat110's Avatar
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    I set mine!!!

  16. #16
    Super Member auntpiggylpn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sadiemae
    I was taught that it helps to sink the thread into the fabric, so I have always pressed in this manner.
    That's what Marianne Fons says! I saw it on one of the Fons and Porter episodes and I have been doing it since. I think it makes the seam crisper IMHO

  17. #17
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    Do I understand this correctly -- to set a seam, you lay the pieces down -- right sides together and press and then you open the piece up and press to the side????

  18. #18
    Super Member auntpiggylpn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Xstitshmom
    Do I understand this correctly -- to set a seam, you lay the pieces down -- right sides together and press and then you open the piece up and press to the side????
    Yep!

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by auntpiggylpn
    Quote Originally Posted by Xstitshmom
    Do I understand this correctly -- to set a seam, you lay the pieces down -- right sides together and press and then you open the piece up and press to the side????
    Yep!
    Thank you. I don't think I've ever heard of this before.

  20. #20
    Power Poster ManiacQuilter2's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim's Gem
    I do this too. I think it makes it so the seam does not take up so much of the fabric when opening them up. It's only the slightest fraction of an inch but when you have lots of seams, they add up. So I set the seam then open and press to the dark side, or whatever side they tell me to!
    I AGREE with Gayle !! It does make a small difference. :lol:

  21. #21
    Power Poster PaperPrincess's Avatar
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    It slightly embers the thread into the fabric. If you want to experiment, sew two test seams, set one, then try and unsew. It's harder to pick the threads out after they have been set, this is why I always check my piecing before I set the seam.

  22. #22
    MTS
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    Quote Originally Posted by PaperPrincess
    It slightly embers the thread into the fabric. If you want to experiment, sew two test seams, set one, then try and unsew. It's harder to pick the threads out after they have been set, this is why I always check my piecing before I set the seam.
    Or just feel the seam after it comes off the machine.
    You can feel the ridge of the stitches.
    Now set them (press) with the iron.
    You can now feel how they've sunk into the material.

    Now when you goto either press the seams open or to one side, that ridge isn't taking up any room, and your pressed seam should be as flat as wallpaper (not to mention the correct size).

    Now, if you've got a 12" four patch block....obviously, it's not going to make much of a difference.

    But if you're making a 6" Ohio Star block - you can see how all those seams can effect the final size and stability of the block.

    I don't even think about it anymore - I set everything.

  23. #23
    Super Member Rose L's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MadQuilter
    I generally set the seams. It straightens the seamline and flattens the piece.
    I agree. It's especially noticeable when you are sewing long strips such as borders and also when you are doing many tiny pieces together such as on a Lone Star quilt.

  24. #24
    Super Member LivelyLady's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim's Gem
    I do this too. I think it makes it so the seam does not take up so much of the fabric when opening them up. It's only the slightest fraction of an inch but when you have lots of seams, they add up. So I set the seam then open and press to the dark side, or whatever side they tell me to!
    Agree :D

  25. #25
    Senior Member sewhappy30's Avatar
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    I'm going to try this with my next block and see what happens. Thanks for the info.

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