Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Pressing Seams

Thanks for all your comments on my previous post. Here is the back of a block where I used 3 different seam treatments – toward the darker fabric, open, and collapsed. Looks like I couldn’t make up my mind what method to use with this block so I used them all.

Here is a closeup showing what I thought was a collapsible seam. I'm not sure how to describe how to do it, but you kinda just work a bit of the seam loose until it lies flat.

Liz and I did some searching on collapsible seams and she discovered that some quilters will also clip a seam – GASP!!! Okay, I won’t say I will NEVER clip a seam when quilting, maybe I just haven’t stitched a seam that requires this, but I know I will hesitate before doing it. In my searching, I found an interesting article on the merits of pressing seams open here.

My triangle quilt is almost finished – just a few long seams to do. I could have finished it last night, but I was so tired. I’m not sure now if I want to have it quilted by a longarmer or do it myself. I’m thinking all it needs is wavy lines and I can do that myself. Years ago I took a class called “Quilt as Desired”. The instructor talked about what you should consider when deciding on a quilting design. I think the most useful tip I learned was sometimes straight (or wavy) lines is all a quilt needs.

That dreadfully hot weather is on its way here. We will be in the low 90's today, but the following three days will be close to or at 100 degrees. I can escape it tomorrow, but we have three pool related activities scheduled Friday and Saturday. It doesn't matter how much water I drink or shade I seek - I know I'll feel a bit wilted on Sunday. It will be a good day for me to stay inside and stitch ; o )


  1. My pressing motto is press it whichever way it makes the block lay flat and the front look its best. Stay cool and drink lots of water!

  2. I also do those little collapsed seams on 4-patch intersections. The are nice and flat that way. I've never done the clipping. That would scare me. I have only pressed open when I have a pattern that indicates that is needed, but there are times when I have finished a block and wished I would have thought to press a seam open here and there.

  3. thanks for the link to the article. i think Mabry makes some pretty good points for pressing open and will be continueing to give this more thought . . .


  4. Sometimes I find the seams just go the way they want to but my general rule is to have as little bulk as possible and if need be I sometimes press the seams open too. I like to quilt my own quilts and often just do lots of simple quilting with the walking foot - its nice to totally own the quilt. Take care.

  5. Very interesting. I love your block example. The link is good reading too. Curious if you use a little iron or full size? I've been making some tiny blocks and may have to pull my tiny iron out...
    Thanks for sharing!

  6. Glad to see there are others out there who care about the pressing! I try to figure out the best way to make the blocks come together easily, meeting points and without too much bulk. Sometimes that means a combination of all three you showed.

    I think Ruth McDowell said that if you press to one side, that piece is slightly raised and sometimes you want that. It's true, and sometimes, I do that too.

  7. Thanks for the link, Maureen! There was some really good info in there. I am really going to start paying attention to my pressing now, and will probably do a lot more open seams! And your block looks so good...even from the back! :o)

  8. guess I am old fashion I will still press my seams to the side...
    works for me :)
    I do think about what direction for easy piecing though...

  9. I have agonised over seams too. One blogger advised me to get a mallet and bang it flat. Made me laugh but I didn't do it. I am no purist, I do what suits me and looks best.
    Hope you survived the heat. My sister in Michigan says it is unbearably hot. We are having sunny winter days. I don't think that the flora knows what season it is here!