In my Exploring the Basics blog post on pressing, I talked about tips for good pressing practice and mentioned some of my favorite pressing tools.
Quilt Pressing: Rotate Pressing Tutorial
Today let’s explore the pressing technique called Rotate Pressing or Four Patch pressing. You may also hear someone say to swirl or spin the seams. It has a lot of names!
This quilt pressing technique is one you would use when four seams come together. A great example is the simple four patch. I am going to make a four patch block using these awesome squares of Cherrywood fabric- 2 green and 2 purple.
When making a four patch block, a common technique is to sew the first 2 squares together and press the seams to one side. Repeat with the second set of squares.
In the example below, I pressed to the purple fabric.
Then you would sew the 2 sections together with the seams going in opposite directions so they nest together.
Now for the fun part!
After you press the seam flat to relax the stitches, open up your four patch and tug out those couple of stitches in the seam allowance.
Often, if you have not backstitched, they will just pull out but you also use Jack (your seam ripper) to help.
Then rotate (swirl, spin) the seams and press flat. What I love about this quilt pressing technique, is that it really helps the center of the seams to lay flat, even when the seams are all pressed to the side.
And you can use this technique whenever 4 seams come together- such as when sewing 4 pieced units together or 4 blocks together.
Sometimes when a pattern says to sew the blocks into rows, I may sew them into groups of 4 instead so I can rotate the seams. Then I sew 4 groups of 4 blocks together and so on!
The only time you might have trouble with this quilt pressing technique, is when your seams do not come together in the center. Because the seams do not line up, it is hard to remove the stitches and hard swirl the seams.
This pressing technique may not always work for every block or every quilt, but try it out the next time you have four squares/units/blocks being sewn together. You might like it!
And I found it helpful in making Block 1 of Luminous, the Adventure in Color Quilt Along quilt. Block 1 comes out next week so I will see you back here on Jan. 29th!