Pressing Fabric

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Pressing fabric correctly makes a huge difference in the way your blocks fit together. Today you'll learn the correct way to press your fabric pieces.

This method is quick and easy, yet it has a big impact on the size and shape of your blocks. 

Your Pressing Surface

Let's start with your equipment. I recommend using a sturdy ironing board or a pressing pad with gridded lines printed on the surface.

I use a June Tailor's Cut'n Press because it's portable and easy to use. The 1" grid lines on the top are wonderful for measuring fabric as you press.

There's also a gridded rotary cutting mat on the back of the pad. With these features, it's perfect for taking to class.

If you need a gridded ironing board cover, check out your local sewing or quilting store. It's well worth the investment. 

Dry or Steam Setting for Pressing Fabric?

Personally, I use a dry setting. The fabric doesn’t stretch or distort as much. But once I finish sewing a block, I'll use a steam setting.

If you're more comfortable using a steam setting on all your seams, that's fine, too. Just be extra gentle with your fabric.

If you prewashed your fabric and you want to regain the crispness, use Niagara Non Aerosol Spray Starch. It's lighter than most starches, and that's good. Heavier starches weigh down your fabric.

Another great option: Mary Ellen's Best Press Starch Alternative. Quilters love the light scent, and it works really well.

A word of advice: Don't starch damp fabric. Wait until it dries.

Set Your Seams First

In quilting, you must "set your seams" before you press them open. This gives your seams a crisp, professional look.

It also ensures that extra fabric doesn't get caught up in the fold. And when it comes to piecing, every centimeter counts! Here's how you do it:

1. Sew a seam.

2. Place fabric on your ironing board or pad. Fabric should be flat with right sides together. 

3. Lower your iron onto the seam.  Hold for a few seconds, then lift the iron.

Now Press

1. Gently open the fabric (right sides up.

2. Press seam allowance to one side, usually toward the darker fabric. This makes it easier to match seams.

That's all there is to pressing fabric!

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