Beginning Quilting: Pressing Seams

One of the questions I often hear from new quilters is “Which way should I press the seams?”  There are so many guidelines for pressing… let’s begin with two simple suggestions today.

Pressing seams open - not a good idea!Long seams, such as you might need on the back of the quilt to piece two big pieces together, are best pressed to one side.  When you are quilting the three layers together in the later stages of your quilt, you will have lots of pulling and stretching going on.  Pressing a seam open gives you more of a possibility of the stitching popping open (see sketch). 

DSC03300 When piecing a light and dark fabric together, whenever possible press towards the dark fabric.  This helps prevent something called shadowing, where the dark fabric shows through the light fabric.  Sometimes it isn’t avoidable.  To show what this looks like, I held up an example to my sliding glass door to let the sunlight through from the back.  See the blue fabric and stray threads peeking out around the edges?  That’s called shadowing, and whenever possible, you want to avoid that.

When you simply have to press towards the light fabric, trim your seam so that the darker fabric is just a smidge (technical word) smaller than the light.  I guess this is one area of my most recent quilt I forgot to trim.  Oops!Emma

Happy Ironing…

Happy Quilting!

2 thoughts on “Beginning Quilting: Pressing Seams

  1. I agree with everything you say about ironing quilt seams, but I can't find any “errors” in your quilt. If there are any dark fabrics showing through, I'm not keen-eyed enough to see them. 8)

    My blog (as you probably already know) is I actually prefer getting comments to emails. I'm on the Dear Jane email list and they generate so much email traffic that I can hardly keep up as it is. My comments, on the other hand, are MUCH less numerous and just that much dearer to me. 8)



  2. Susan, the little picture above with the single blue square has stray blue threads peeking out from behind the pale yellow fabric, along with a few slivers of blue edge showing,too. It's really hard to avoid when you have a light color like that. It makes trimming back the dark seams so much more important!


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