Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Pressing Matters-I remember what I forgot the first time I posted this!

Crazy blocks in pastels
I have been working on these blocks for well over a week, at least an hour a day and at this point I have finished a whole 12 blocks. Many of them are getting close to finished and to be honest, as it gets warmer it gets harder to sit under the hot lights sewing and pressing. So I am getting ready to be finished!!
Basically this project is just cut, sew, press, repeat. Last week a non-quilter friend came over and offered to help so I had her press. I didn't realize how much there is involved in pressing because after all this time I just do it without thinking so I thought I would share the important points in case anyone needs to teach someone how to be a "sous-presser:"
1. Press seams to one side. For people who come to quilting from garment making, this is hard to get used to because with garments we press seams open. Place the fabric that will flip up on the top and press toward the seam.
2. Press in the direction the fabric wants to go. In this project I am sewing one piece of fabric onto a piece that might have 3 or 4 seams on it. The fabric wants to go to the new piece so that the seamed areas are flat.
3. A general rule is to press to the dark piece when sewing two pieces together. The seam is less likely to be seen through the fabric. When I am chain piecing half-square triangles together I always put all the lights on the bottom and the darks on the top so when I chain press they are all the same and I can do one after the other. (This rule really doesn't apply to this project.)
4. Always set the seam before flipping the fabric and pressing the seam down. This really makes a difference. Any ripples will disappear at this point and you help avoid any stretching. You get a nice clean press if you do this.
5. Magic Sizing is your best friend. I really wish I had learned this earlier in my quilting. When you are using lots of different fabrics with different weights and textures the sizing really helps to unify the fabrics. It also really makes a difference with any fabrics that are cut on a bias. It keeps them from stretching and keeps them staying smooth and perfect. It is very important with this project because the fabrics are cut on every possible angle of the fabrics and there would be a lot of stretched, ripply seams without it. It is also great at keeping the pressed seams staying where you pressed them. Nothing is more annoying than to have a seam flip the wrong way when sewing 2 blocks together, and the sizing sort of "glues" them down.
6. Use a dry iron. Steam will cause fabric to stretch. Use the steam to press fabrics before they are sewn together. (it is also safer for your fingers--no surprise steam burns as you manipulate the fabric on the ironing board!)
Hopefully this will be helpful. I feel like I left out something important and if I did, please let me know.
Oh, if anyone wants a little tutorial on making crazy quilt blocks by machine, let me know.

OOPS- I remember what I forgot the first time. This should be #1! Anyway, when quilting using the iron is called PRESSING. That is because you PRESS  the iron down on the fabric, do not move back and forth like when ironing. Moving the iron a lot can stretch the fabric or make the block misshapen. Duh.. Sandie!

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