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Thread: Why not iron seams open?

  1. #26

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    you should always iron them to one side your pattern will tell you how to press then helps when you are sewing them

  2. #27
    Super Member quiltmom04's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Twilliebee
    Kryssa, there really isn't a reason not to iron your seams open anymore, and although I've read the reason they were customarily ironed to one side, I don't recall what it was. A number of quilters iron their seams open because they prefer the absolutely flat look it provides. Some also believe free motion quilting is easier with flat seams. I believe there is some concern that seams are more likely to get skewed when ironed open, and that intersections of blocks require more special handling. I've done both, but I'm not experienced enough to have much of an opinion either way. When I have a little extra time, I'll try to find the sites where I originally got this information and post the links. Have fun!
    Right! No reason not to press open. In the days of hand pieced blocks, seams were pressed to the side to give them more strength, but with the lock stitch of machines today, it is not necessary. I like the way seams pressed in opposite directions "lock' when I sew them, but if you're careful, seams pressed open will be just fine.

  3. #28
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    I do both- one side when I need seams to nest and open when I need a flat block

  4. #29
    Power Poster littlehud's Avatar
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    It seems it is up to you how you do it. I learned to press them to one side so that's what I do. I am a creature of habit.

  5. #30
    Senior Member catlover's Avatar
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    There are times when you should iron them open. But, let me tell you, it's a lot of work. Going to one side is much easier and the seams stay straight. When you iron them open, they can easily get curves ironed in. And when you put blocks together, the ironing to the CORRECT direction is of supreme importance.

    Cynthia

  6. #31
    Junior Member GGquilts's Avatar
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    pressing seams to one side is a residue of hand piecing.

  7. #32
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    I iron them open sometimes, but you run the risk of the batting showing through.

  8. #33
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    You press the seams to one side so you will not have gaps for the batting to 'leak' through. The gaps are 'teeney' but remember we used to sew by hand. If you are doing a star block, it will be flatter if all seams are 'to the right' then there will not be a bunch at the center.
    It is also much easier to press to one side, you sort of gently pull the fabric in one direction and push the iron in the other and you will have nice neat seams that are completely open.
    Keep in mind that you really want to press more than iron, in other words, press the iron down but do not push and pull as you may distort the seam, particularly if youhave something on the bias.
    Mary

  9. #34
    Super Member Olivia's Grammy's Avatar
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    I press to the sides 99% of the time. There are certain blocks that have to have the seams open to lay flat. When I press the seams open I can see the thread and I don' like that look. If you press the seams to opposits sides you have two layers when you join the blocks you have two layers on each side of a joined block. When you press the seams open and join to another block you still have two layers. Again as several have said, Do what works best for you. We'll keep the quilt police away from your quilts. :lol:

  10. #35
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    Hello Kryssa, I was taught that a seam pressed open might spread bulk, but is weaker - a thread can easily be snagged (say by a buckle on a child's shoe or broken zip in clothing) and the whole seam could be ripped open with fabric actually tearing in different directions thus making a major repair necessary. Strong seams are a must in patchwork, hope this helps :D

  11. #36
    Power Poster BellaBoo's Avatar
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    If the block has a lot of seams I press them open. I always fan out my intersecting seams if I press to one side. The block will lay much flatter by opening the intersecting seams.

  12. #37
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    Wen you press all seams to the same side, it will evern out when you butt two seamed pieces together. also when you quilt (and in the old days, it was ususally by hand,) the quilting would go on the seam side and make a stronger seam as it was sewn like a flat fell seam (I am showing my age)

    Mary

  13. #38
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    I only press to one side if I am using lights and darks. I feel better knowing my dark side is not going to show up on the light side if I press towards the dark but otherwise I like an open seam.

  14. #39
    Dee
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    Super Member Dee's Avatar
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    I press my seams open. Seem to lay better in my opinion.

  15. #40
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    It makes the seams stronger,

  16. #41
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    I press seams open when I want less bulk and it works great.

  17. #42
    Senior Member chichimamma's Avatar
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    I am so new to quilting, my husband just bought me a quilt kit in Gatlinburg, Tennesse, I started out pressing my seems to the darker fabric, but after about five squares that I fumed over I decided to press open-that worked no more taking out mismatched seams.

  18. #43
    Senior Member yellowsnow55's Avatar
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    I've been asking myself this question many times. Most books and magazines tell you to iron to one side while some of the European ones tell you to open seams. So I guess it's personal preference. I do both now.

  19. #44

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    If you got alot of seams coming together you need to open the seam. There is just too much bulk to make it lay flat. I have always made open seams doing garments. However like on a 9 patch its easier to put it together with row 1 and row 3 going one way and the middle one going the other way. They are just easier to put together. Some times we have alot of seams to make that are close together and that would be a headache to work if you opened the seams. They tell you to press to dark side as if you could see thru a lighter fabric you see the shadow of your seam. By pressing to the dark side there is no danger of being able to see that seam on the lighter fabric.

  20. #45
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    It looks like you've received opposing pros and cons for every situation. I've found that quilting (I always hand-quilt) is always easier when seams are all pressed one direction; then I quilt on the opposite side of the seam: one less layer of fabric you have to sew through.

    In order to do this, I recently made a disappointing mistake. I almost always press fabrics to dark side, but so I wouldn't have so much bulk to quilt through, I pressed some long seams to the light side. Would have been o.k., but it was medium blue against an off-white block, and my blue seams were just slightly wider than the off-white. Result: I have a dainty blue edge on that light seam that shows through! Live and learn! :x

  21. #46
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    I have always been told by my teacher that if you hand-piece and quilt
    you must NOT iron seems open because they would not be strong enough or dence enough. the only time you would ever do it is when you have 8 pointed stars.
    Mad Gertie from England

  22. #47
    Super Member GailG's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kryssa
    In my first quilting class I was told to iron seems in the direction of the darker fabric or toward the least bulk. But is there a real reason why I can't iron my seams open?

    I haven't read all of the responses, but IMHO, quarter inch seams are difficult to press open and don't like flat as well as a wider seam. Also I think a seam pressed in one direction is more durable. There isn't that fabric pulling against fabric putting stress on the thread of the seam.

  23. #48
    Super Member C.Cal Quilt Girl's Avatar
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    Most of mine go to one side always thought if later the thread let loose, was an easier mend, and the bulk does come into play w/the stars, Really dislike burning my fingers ( You hear art can be painful, but I want Quilting to be fun! )

    Persosnal preferance, from the sounds of above anwsers, and whatever works best for you is correct.
    Happy Quilting :)

  24. #49
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    Yesterday, Carol Doak told us that we don't press open because it exposes the thread to light and dirt which causes it to degrade.

  25. #50
    gaillynne's Avatar
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    You can press the seams open absolutely. The time it comes in handy to press to one side is when you are matching up points. Then it a makes that nice "tuck" lining them up to sew.

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