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.
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).
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!