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Pressing seams open.

Pressing seams open.

Old 01-26-2012, 10:43 PM
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Question Pressing seams open.

I read the thread about making your own pressing tool for pressing seams open. It got me to wondering when it was appropriate to press them open. I thought pressing to one side was supposed to result in a stronger seam.
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Old 01-26-2012, 10:46 PM
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I press to one side, but there are a few occasion when open works better for some project. I bet you get lots of feedback.
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Old 01-26-2012, 11:34 PM
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One instance where it's good to press the seams open is when you have multiple seams ending up at the same spot--a star block for instance. It reduces some of the bulk and your star won't "volcano in the middle".
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Old 01-27-2012, 12:31 AM
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A lot of the modern quilters press their seams open. It results in a flatter quilt, which complements the modern designs.
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Old 01-27-2012, 02:54 AM
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when seams will be nested together for piecing and accuracy is important we press to one side - often the darker side-
when there is bulk- pressing open distributes the bulk and makes things easier/more precise-
both ways are fine-and have their place

back in the 'olden days' when hand piecing was the norm seams were pressed to the side to add strength and keep the seam from pulling apart---now days when machine piecing is the norm it is not such an issue- as long as you use a small stitch length chances are your seam is not going to separate when pressed open- so either way is fine-
when hand piecing most of the time to one side is still the way to go

Last edited by ckcowl; 01-27-2012 at 02:56 AM.
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Old 01-27-2012, 04:19 AM
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I press open all the time. I machine piece/hand quilt. Haven't had an issue with anything pulling apart yet. Definitely results in a flatter top and I find it far more accurate when lining up seams. I can put a pin truly in the center of the seams and then pin on either side to hold in place. Works for me but do what works best for you.
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Old 01-27-2012, 06:22 AM
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Pressing seams open does give a flatter quilt top. I don't usually do it because I don't like depending on the row of stitching to hold the pieces together. I think it puts more stress on the thread pressing open but I do press open when a lot of seams meet in one place. In the old days, seams were always pressed to one side because the fabric weave was looser than modern fabric and the thread was poorer. In todays good fabric, thread and machine piecing and quilting it is less important, in my opinion. Do what works in your piecing situation.
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Old 01-27-2012, 07:41 AM
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I press all seams open , with the exception of paper piecing. In over 40 years of quilting , I have never had issues of seams opening or failing because of "stress". I can tell you the times I had taken some of my tops to the LQS , so many would comment And say "oh how to you get your seams so flat". When I flip the top and they can see the open seams , they are all so stunned , as so many are taught "always press to the dark". It is my opinion that is a old rule and has outlived its usefulness. It is also my opinion that pressing to the dark creates a ridge of sorts, at the seam . If you look at where clothing wears out it is often at that ridge wear the bulk of seams creates a friction point and the fabric starts to wear. Granted we don't wear our quilts, but the friction of the washing machine will first start to show the wear in the color at that friction point will start to fade. This is the result of the fibers wearing down, and ultimatley weakens the fabric at that point. Look at your jeans .. where are the first areas that start to wear down .. its at the bulk or any raised area of a seam that takes friction. Granted this is an extreme example ,but my jeans aren't expected to last as long as my quilts and is offered only as case for the friction on fabric that is often over looked and comes from use and from washing.
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Old 01-27-2012, 07:56 AM
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If you are heavily quilting, there appears to be no difference in how well the quilt does over time whether seams are pressed to one side or open. However, if you are not quilting close together or tying, you want to continue to press the seams to one side. I'm not sure that I completely agree with the open seams group that it will last as long, but at least you know the current scoop.
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Old 01-27-2012, 08:04 AM
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since it was my thread about the pressing bar tool, I will tell you why...it makes the seams lie flat!
When you are strip piecing, like for a bargello, you need those seems to lie as flat as possible to make your sub-section cuts smooth and not wavy! YOu can't do that if you press to the side!
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