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Quilters’ Pressing Guidelines

Quilters’ Pressing Guidelines

By Janelle Cahoon, Quiltcentric

 Pressing is an important part of quilt-making and following a few guidelines can make a real difference in the way your quilt turns out.

  • Press on a firm surface – small pieces can become stretched if the surface is too soft.
  • Press with an up-and-down motion not a rubbing motion.
  • Press fabric before cutting to remove the creases from storage or washing; if the fabric seems a bit limp spray starch it as well.
  • Press seam allowances toward the darker fabric.  If, for reasons of block construction, you have to press toward the lighter fabric, trim a sliver off the outside of the darker seam allowance so it doesn’t show through.
  • Press pieced units from the front side of the fabric first – this helps you avoid pressing puckers into the seams. If you want to flip the piece over and press the back too, that’s fine to do after you’ve pressed from the front.
  • Press seams open when 6 or more seams converge to avoid a big lump in the middle.  In this case, press from the back side of the block, opening each seam with a finger as you press from the outside of the block toward the middle.
  • Buy a quality iron that will heat up quickly, be hot enough for 100% cotton and have spritz or shot-of-steam functions when you need them.

A lot of us don’t really think about pressing much, but paying attention to these guidelines will help avoid stretched pieces, allowing greater piecing accuracy and more attractive quilts.  Try them!

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