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Pressing Decisions

Hi friends!

Today I have been working on a new quilt. There are lots of HSTs and QSTs and other pieced units in the blocks and I love how they are coming out. 

But, sometimes it is a struggle to find the best way to press a block. I always start with pressing things to one side.

Press to one side


It may be due to the fact that I have been pressing to one side for years, or the Quilt Police stated you must press to the dark, or because way back in time when I started quilting, pressing seams open lead to, over time, the batting creeping thru the seam. I believe they called that (back in the olden days!) bearding.

One of my favorite ways to press is to rotate the pressing on the back of the block so the center of 4 seams lays nice and flat.

Rotating the seams


Some call this 4 patch pressing, rotate pressing, twirling the seams… it has lots of names!

Regardless, I know when I press the seams to one side and therefore can nest my seams together, my blocks seem to work out better. But sometimes it just can’t happen. Then I have to decide, do I still press to one side or do I press open?

I usually end up pressing to the side, unless it is one of the tiny red and white blocks. For those I have been pressing some seams open. 

So, are you an open seam presser or a press to one side kind of quilter? Do you like when a pattern suggests how to press?

Back to the ironing board! I have a lot of units to press… I must press on! (Hahahah!)

happy quilting!


4 thoughts on “Pressing Decisions”

  1. I press open now. That is much more precise for me and coming from a dressmaking background it is so much easier for me to cope with. My head spins if I have to figure out how to press units to make them go together properly. Lots of patterns doesn’t tell you how to press. I have tried the method of cutting into seam allowance for all seams to go to the side they have to (can’t remember the name of the quilter who is an advocate of this) but that creates bumps when I try that. So far I haven’t had any batting coming out of the seams. I have however had bearding when machine quilting (bits of the batting being dragged out with the needle) and I decided never to use that batting again (test of bamboo/cotton mix). I think we all have to experiment and in the end we find what works best – we are all different.

    1. Yes! You are so right! We are all different and we have to find the method that works best for us. I say that all the time when I teach a class- I will show them a couple of ways to do something, then they pick what works best for them. When I first starting making quilts, I too was used to pressing seams open due to dressmaking. I quickly was told that was a big NO-NO. Now I do what works best for me with a particular quilt.
      Thanks for commenting!

  2. I love it when a pattern tells me which way to press my seams! I usually press over to the dark side, unless I am doing a pinwheel or QSTs, those I press open. I have not mastered the art of the 4P spin!! I guess I need to learn that. My longarm handles thick intersections very easily – I deliberately try to go through them to mash them down.

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