“I was a bad quilter an pressed my seams open,” wrote one of my pattern testers.
If that makes you a bad quilter, then I am the worst of all sinners…because whenever I can, I’ll tell you to press your seams open! I know that it’s not commonly accepted among quilters, but I think the benefits outweigh the negatives that might come to mind. Here’s why I (almost) always press my seams open:
You’ll Get a Nice Flat Quilt Top
As the daughter of a longarmer, I’ve heard the horrors of seams and points that are too thick. My Mom was a true professional and would always find a way to make it look amazing, but that’s not always the case with every longarmer.
Pressing seams out can reduce bulk throughout your quilt, which can greatly effect your quilting process and result. The flatter your quilt, the better!
Any project that requires me to have a nice crisp point, or to match points, turns out perfect whenever I press the seams open. Who doesn’t want perfect points every time?
Looks So Pretty
Ok…I know that this isn’t a functional reason to press your seams open, BUT for someone that loves clean and organized lines, what the back of my quilt looks like is almost as important to me as what the front look like. And for that reason, I love when I can press all seams open. Can I get an amen?!
No WoNkY Seams
Often, when pressing seams to the side, you have to be careful that you don’t press an extra fold into the fabric on the quilt front. When pressing seams out, they simply pop right open and follow suit on the front!
Some Reasons You Might Not Press Seams Open
Alright, now for all my haters out there—you might completely disagree with me on this, and that’s ok! There are some times where I won’t press seams open. Here are some common reasons why people don’t like to press them open
Seams Showing Through on Whites
Sometimes, patterns will tell you to press toward the dark fabric so that you can’t see the seam through white and light fabrics. And I agree, if you don’t like seeing that seam, then you should definitely press toward the darks. Keep in mind, it’s all about style—I love seeing that little bit of seam peek through, and typically, if you’re using a white batting, it disappears after quilting anyway.
Your Batting Will Show Through
Some say that if you press seams open, the batting will poke through once it’s quilted. This is a myth that I have yet to have problems with when pressing seams open on my quilts. There’s always ways to make sure that this doesn’t happen:
Use a Small Stitch
When pressing seams open, always make sure to use a small stitch, this will ensure that the fabric doesn’t have the chance to pull away and let the batting show through.
Use a Batting that Matches
If your quilt is mostly dark, then I would suggest using black batting. This is typically available at your local quilt shop or an option at your favorite longarmer. Always make sure that your batting is chosen carefully with your quilt top in mind.
Don’t Stretch Your Fabrics
A big mistake made throughout the quilt-making process is pulling on your fabrics—knock that off! It’s no good while your piecing and it’s even worse while you’re quilting. Quilt tops should be placed on top of the batting and backing and flattened, but not pulled tight—you’re asking for all sorts of troubles with that, especially if you’ve pressed your seams open.