Thursday Tip #4

{Thursday Tip: A regular weekly feature sharing my quilting tips. There are no rules in quilting, these are just the things that work for me and might help you. There are no quilt police, so use them as a guide; no ones watching :) There is no wrong way to do anything......just relax, experiment, learn, create and have fun. }
Pressing is a very important part of quilting,  In my experience, choosing an iron doesn't need to be expensive and you really don't require one, with any of those super fancy features. I recently purchased a new cordless iron, thinking it would make life easier ........sadly it did not; it was more of a hindrance than a help. It kept switching itself off, it took forever to heat up and you had to lay it back in its cradle or it constantly beeped at me.  After a few days, I went back to a basic plug in/always ready when you are, steam iron with a stainless steel plate and I love it :)
There's a lot of debate about pressing seams but here's a few things to keep in mind:

  • Where possible press your seams to the side, usually towards the dark fabric, which creates a "loft". This makes matching seams so much easier as they butt against each other and fit snugly together, like jigsaw pieces.
  • When several seams intersect, such as a pinwheel block, press your seam open. This alleviates the bulk and there wont be a "bump" when your project has been quilted. 
  • If you opt to hand quilt your project, pressing all the seams open keeps everything nice and flat and makes "rocking" the needle through, so much easier.
  • When you are pressing units or rows, press seams in alternate directions to assist in matching the seams accurately.
  • It is possible to purchase a pressing roller, so you can press your seams whilst sewing but I prefer to sew multiple units and move between the machine and the ironing table. This also helps me stretch and move around during long bouts at the machine and hey, it counts as exercise, right? :)
  • Remember to press not glide, when using your iron. Ensure you lift your iron and place it down on each new area, to avoid stretching and distorting the fabric.
  • Maintain you iron regularly to avoid adding water stains or those pesky black marks (from buildup) to your finished projects.
I include pressing directions in my patterns but this may not always be the best option for you, so use them as a guide and do what works best :)

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