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Thread: Steam or no steam?

  1. #1
    Super Member mike'sgirl's Avatar
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    Steam or no steam?

    I have heard different opinions concerning the use of steam when piecing a quilt. I prefer to use steam, but worry that it does distort the blocks, but the iron doesn't seem to work as well without it. I am using a cheapo iron, but had the same results when I was using an expensive one.

    What are some opinions out there concerning steam?

    Gina

  2. #2
    Super Member Peckish's Avatar
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    I think steam is okay, but you have to watch whether you're "pressing" or "ironing". And you can do both with or without steam. I like to use steam when I'm setting seams and when my block is finished. Either way, I'm pressing, not ironing. I've gotten in way more trouble with distortion because I've slid the iron across my fabric than I ever did with steam.

  3. #3
    Power Poster QuiltE's Avatar
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    Whether using steam or not the important thing to remember is to PRESS and not IRON!
    Up and down, not side to side.

    You'll get opinions on both being right ... I know top notch quilters who do it both ways.
    So do what works for you!
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  4. #4
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    Like others have stated, "PRESS not IRON." I also use Best Press or light starch when necessary.

    mltquilt

  5. #5
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    I use no steam when I put pieces together and steam once the block is together but the areas where the seams come together is bulky or lumpy. Steam tends to get it into submission. I have also used steam with starch to "block" a piece into shape.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by MadQuilter View Post
    I use no steam when I put pieces together and steam once the block is together but the areas where the seams come together is bulky or lumpy. Steam tends to get it into submission. I have also used steam with starch to "block" a piece into shape.
    I try to get my blocks 'trained' as I go, so they don't need to be 'beaten into submission'

    I have learned to press/iron along the grain lines instead of diagonally (on the bias) - and that seems to help maintain the desired shape.

    I usually use light steam.

    And- horror of horrors - I've taken a pressed block and then ironed it in all directions like I was rolling out a pie crust! From the top/right side.


    Try several ways - use what works for you - sometimes one method will work in a given setting - sometimes one has to go to Plan B

    Many of us have tried several ways of doing things - some worked well for us - some were 'interesting experiments' - (translation - WHAT THE ???? )
    Last edited by bearisgray; 07-05-2012 at 09:53 AM.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Earleen's Avatar
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    How do you break yourself to press and not iron. I am used to garmet sewing and find myself ironing, with lots of problems.
    Quote Originally Posted by mltquilt View Post
    Like others have stated, "PRESS not IRON." I also use Best Press or light starch when necessary.

    mltquilt
    Earleen The best helping hand is at the end of your arm.

  8. #8
    Super Member janRN's Avatar
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    I never figured out how to put water in my iron so I started using a small spray bottle of water. I lightly spritz the seam area before pressing. If I'm paper piecing, I spritz my finger and run it across the seam line. I like my seams beaten into submission before I assemble my blocks LOL.
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  9. #9
    Super Member Neesie's Avatar
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    Sometimes I steam; sometimes I don't. Depends upon the fabric and how it's behaving. I usually use steam, when pressing the fabric, though.
    Neesie


    By all means let's be open-minded, but not so open-minded that our brains drop out.
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  10. #10
    Super Member LivelyLady's Avatar
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    I steam press my seams to set them, but use starch to press blocks. Actually, I starch my fabric before I even cut into it. By the time my quilt is done there is so much starch that I've never had any trouble getting the markings out of it when I wash it as all the markings are on the starch. LOL
    When you sleep under a quilt, you sleep under a blanket of love.

  11. #11
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    No steam if I starch, steam if I don't.
    Also, I tend to iron and have never had anything catostrophic happen.

  12. #12
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    spray with water/best press and then press with a dry iron!

  13. #13
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    I like light steam, but sometimes the iron is empty and I'm in no mood to stop and fill, I just dry iron. Amazingly, that works for me, too!

  14. #14
    Super Member Dolphyngyrl's Avatar
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    I like lots of steam

  15. #15
    Super Member burchquilts's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dolphyngyrl View Post
    I like lots of steam
    Me, too. It's kinda not fun when I'm pressing my seams open & kinda scald my fingers but like anything else, you get used to it. I also steam when I use sizing.
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  16. #16
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    I like steam, but I gently iron my blocks so as not to distort the seams.

  17. #17
    Super Member jcrow's Avatar
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    I use best press on my fabric, first thing. Then, if it needs it, I use steam. I press, but I have ironed with and without distorting. I'm learning.
    "Be yourself...everyone else is taken."
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  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Neesie View Post
    Sometimes I steam; sometimes I don't. Depends upon the fabric and how it's behaving. I usually use steam, when pressing the fabric, though.
    that's me too, except I rarely iron fabric before cutting, even if it's been washed , which it seldom is.

  19. #19
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    I steam each seam to set it and then to press it to the side. I have often wondered if steaming shrinks the fabric at all. Since I'm not sure, I make sure to do all the seams with steam so that if it does shrink the fabric, all of it will be shrunk. I don't wash the fabric before using it anymore so if there is shrinkage, it's from the steam pressing. I have never really tested it.

  20. #20
    Super Member ghostrider's Avatar
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    I do what works for me after years of trying all the options and what works for me is NOT what works for other quilters. You should do what works for you and not bother with anyone else's rules.

    Make some identical blocks (include HSTs or other bias edges in them), trimming to make sure they're all the same size. Press some both dry and steam, then iron some both dry and steam. Measure them all again. Note any changes. That'll give you a starting spot for accuracy.

    If you're obsessive about it, you can refine that testing procedure for the best (i.e., most accurate) method for pressing seams, too. Make one block using only dry pressing. Make another using only steam ironing. Then the other two ways, then some combinations. It sounds tedious, and it is, but you'll know for sure what works best for you when you're done....and phooey on everyone else.
    The Earth without art is just "Eh".

  21. #21
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    I never steam because my irons have all become incontinent and invariably stain something. I use a dry iron and if I want to set something particularly, such as a finished block, I spray the piece then apply the iron.

  22. #22
    Senior Member teddysmom's Avatar
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    [QUOTE=mike'sgirl;5340863]I have heard different opinions concerning the use of steam when piecing a quilt. I prefer to use steam, but worry that it does distort the blocks, but the iron doesn't seem to work as well without it. I am using a cheapo iron, but had the same results when I was using an expensive one.

    What are some opinions out there concerning steam?

    I wash all my fabric before cutting. That seems to eliminate the distortion problem but I also spray each seam as I piece with fabric sizing. So even if I iron the square after pressing the seams, there doesn't seem to be any distortion. Anyone else do this?

  23. #23
    Super Member Latrinka's Avatar
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    I use steam, and I press, not iron, my seams and blocks.
    If a woman's work is never done....why start?

  24. #24
    Super Member caspharm's Avatar
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    I use water or Best Press. Sometimes my pressing turns into ironing, but I try to be cautious.

    A tip I received from one of my LA teachers was don't press the quilt before loading. Load the quilt and then spray a 50/50 mix of water and Best Press and the fabric relaxes out most of the wrinkles. It works quite nicely.

  25. #25
    Super Member Peckish's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nycquilter View Post
    my irons have all become incontinent
    ROFL!!!! This made me chuckle!

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