October 7, 2012

Let's Talk Pressing

So, are you a press open or a press to the side gal? Do you always press the same way or does it depend on what you are working on? How do you decide?

You see, I started as a press to the side girl, then, I transitioned to press open and now, after this block I think I am back to press to the side.  When you nestle the seams together after pressing to the side, it's just so clean!

Plus, do you press the fabric right as it comes out of the sewing machine (before you press open or to the side)? I read somewhere that this sets your stitches. So for me....that would mean 3 presses for each seam. Why 3 you ask? Well I press the back side first, then flip it over to the front and if I did the "set the stitches method", that would be 3 - No thank you!

And another question for you? Do you really "press" or do you iron? I try really hard to just press, but I must admit, I enjoy running my iron from one side to the next so I press, but I also iron too, it's fun! I know I know, it stretches the fabric but I can live with that just a little tiny bit.

So...the whole reason for this post is a block I made for Liz for a Quilt of Valor Quilt that she is planning to make. She requested the Charming Squares pattern from the Moda Bake Shop so I followed the directions exactly and it had all kinds of pressing instructions, but you know what.....the end result was so nice and clean and NOT bulky.

It has made me re-examine this "always press open" mindset.

Tell me, which way do you press and why?


  1. I'm a big fan of nestled seams so I press to the side unless the seam is too bulky (like a pinwheel center). I set my seams all the time, for me it makes the seams "behave" better no matter what you do next (to one side or open). Like a lot of quilting, it's a personal preference!

  2. I really try to press but often end up ironing. I have decided that from now on I am going to starch all my fabric before I cut, and then it minimises any future warping. Sometimes when I press I end up with wrinkles or the shape of the iron on the fabric, and that's when I end up ironing to try to get rid of them! By starching first this happens less.

    I have also always been a "press to one side" girl but recently have started pressing seams open. I find that I can still line the seams up and they are less bulky.

  3. I'm a press open gal. Seems like the block always looks much cleaner and more finished when I do.

  4. I am still pretty new to quilting so haven't really settled on one specific way to press seams. So far I can see pros and cons in both methodls. I recently learnt to set seams and love the results- I will definitely continue to do this.

  5. I usually press open. It just seems to be a bit more crisp and less bulky that way. I'm with you though - I love to iron and always find myself gliding it back and forth instead of pressing!

  6. I think it depends on the block. If I'm not lining up a lot of seams, I press open. If I'm aligning things, I try to press things to the side.

    Charming Stars is such a great block! And her instructions for pressing are spot on on that one--they really come together beautifully if you follow them!

  7. I almost always press to the side and I always set my seams first. I think it makes a stronger seam when you press to one side and you get a good junction when your seams oppose each other. Sometimes, however, if there will be too much bulk, I'll press the seam open.


I look forward to reading your note - thanks for taking the time to comment!