Thursday 22 March 2012

Tried a new 'thing'

Thursday means linking up with T.N.T Thursdays at Happy Quilting.  This week I can share with you that I tried a new way of ironing my blocks.  Sounds pretty unexciting but let me tell you it was a light bulb moment for me!  Pressing open instead of to one side is my new thing and I'll be sticking to it!  Let me share with you why

It all started with the sashing on my Mod Sampler quilt.  I didn't want the seams to show through the white so I decided to press my seems over to the darker fabric side instead of all one way (which would have been logical and easier when I ironed it all out!  Hindsight is a wonderful thing).  Once I had done my sewing, I realised that I then had seams going left, right, then right again etc. - it was a nightmare to iron!  All pressed one direction would have been better.  Or so I thought!  

So, when I created my Week 1 block for my Sew Into Solids quilt block, I thought I needed to do something different...better.  On my 'Antique Tile' block I pressed my seams open.  Open?  I had never done that before so I thought maybe I should try something new.  Like I said, I had never done that before but with my experience of pressing my seams higgledy-piggledy to one side playing on my mind from my Mod Sampler quilt, I gave the 'pressed open' a go.  BRILLIANT! 

I pressed the seams open which was easy and helped keep everything nice and neat.
Antique Tile block
The block turned out great in my eyes.  I'm just so pleased that my corners all matched up apart from one which was only 1 millimetre off.  Success in my eyes!  Important too, I think, in an all-solid block as there is no pattern or print to distract the eye away from poor sewing.   Yay for me for trying something new. 

And then by chance I happened to read a section from "The Modern Quilts Sourcebook" by Weeks Ringle and Bill Kerr that said to always iron your seams open.  There are a number of  reasons of why they recommend ironing seams open [page 93]. These include:
  • more even wearing - basically there will be two layers of fabric which will wear more evenly than three layers (of fabric and seams) created from pressing to one side
  • improved precision - especially in areas where many fabrics intersect
  • points are easier to match - using pins through the seams (diagram page 95)
  • more even quilting - there will be less bulk at intersections which means you can quilt through them, therefore adding durability to the quilt
So that confirmed it - I'm definitely convinced :)
And in other news, I went to the Country Living Spring Show today and was very impressed.  Lots of up-cycled homewares and garments, shabby chic items and garden things - a feast for my senses - so I came away excited and inspired.  The weather was perfect for a wee bimble up to Raystitch where I bought a yummy American Jane Pezzy print and Klona (yes, Klona - not Kona) bundle plus some lovely linen/cotton fabric.  I think I may need to go on a 'fabric diet' soon!  Maybe next week....
And there you have it - a great day and I tried something new.  Happy sewing :)


Charlotte said...

well done for trying something new! I love pressing seams open - everything lies so much better!

Anonymous said...

brilliant tip, I'll try the ironing open next time. Wonder why we all iron to one side while quilting, when dressmaking we always iron seams open.

Amy's Crafty Shenanigans said...

The book says [pg 92] that this custom (pressing to one side) probably originated when people pieced and quilted quilts by hand as hand stitches were generally larger and less durable than sewing machine stitches, and that stitching through seams would have given the quilt additional reinforcement. Cool eh? But I can still see the advantages of pressing to the side as well, especially when using white sashing!!

Pennie said...

really useful tip, Amy, thanks! Will try this myself next time. Also going for s sly look at the Raystitch website.... although am also considering a fabric diet - it'll be the first time I've gone on a diet to add pounds (to my bank balance, that is!)

Cherie said...

Well check you out!! My seams end up so thin it doesn't work pressing them open with the hefty iron...I have invested in a mini iron which I hope will work out better for me =D

Amy's Crafty Shenanigans said...

Love that - a diet to ADD pounds. Too clever Pennie :) By the way, 'Beyond Fabrics' has the whole range of those multi-coloured Pezzy Prints you were after. They are under the Fairy Tale Friends section on their website. They had the whole range at the Country Living Show today.

Sandy Panagos said...

I'm with you on ALL the reasons for ironing seams open. I have been doing that for years and I love the results.

Melissa Corry said...

I also like to press my seams open from time to time. I tend to bounce all over which way I press come to think of it :) I guess variety is the spice of life for me :)

Sew Create It - Jane said...

Block looks gorgeous and pressing the seams open will result in a flatter block. I used to be a press to one side kinda girl, but more recently have started pressing open too :o)

MarneyMay said...

Kathy from prefers the seams to be pressed open. Less bulk when doing the quilting