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How to get blocks to lay flat

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  • SuzyQue
    replied
    Re: How to get blocks to lay flat

    Interesting.....I thought we were suppose to have a hard surface to iron on...so I did away with the padding I have used for years and went to only a thin cotton batting and the ironing board cover.....since I started quilting. HMMM???? The rules change all the time, depending on who is talking. I will try the bath towel technique on my next non-flat block and see if it helps. I am always open for a new trick!

    Leave a comment:


  • coffeebreak
    replied
    Re: How to get blocks to lay flat

    Originally posted by Rhonda D. Matzker View Post
    Okay all of you expert quilters out there. How do you get your blocks to lay so nice and flat when my blocks always look like the hills of southwest Missouri? I'm talking about blocks that have a lot of pieces to them (like the one our group is doing - the Friend's Star). I won't post a pic of mine all lumpy looking, I would be too embarrassed.

    Please explain.
    I know what you are talking about! I make HST's alot and then use them to make a block design. Talk about alot of seams! I usually press open to reduce bulk but still...when done..I press and starch and the fabric area BETWEEN the seams is always a "valley" while the seams are those mountains you mention! Drove me nuts!

    Then I heard/read this tip...and boy howdy, it works! Take a bath towel (I keep a bath hand size towel by my iron area) Lay the towel on your pressing board, then place your finished block FACE DOWN onto the towel and press. Then I switch and place face up and press. Why does this work? It is one of those simple little things that once you do it, you think "well duh! That is just common sense, why didn't I think of that!" things.
    When you are pressing (what in reality is multiple layers) seams and flat fabric areas...the only part that gets pressed is the part that is touching the iron....what part of the block is touching the iron in this case? The seams. The bulk of the seams keeps the iron from touching the all "just fabric" areas, those areas between the seams, ergo they don't get pressed. But the towel offers some "give" to the hard iron board surface, and creates a foundation for the fabric area between the seams to have a "backing" and not get pushed down below the seams. The blush of the towels allows the fabric area to stay elevated so the iron will touch that area and press it. Turn it over and press it again on the right side and now you have the blush of the towel creating an elevated area that will match the elevated seams..so they are kind of on the same level now, so all areas are now touching the iron..so press away! It works like a charm! Add some starch and you have nicely pressed, flat blocks! I never press without a towel!!!

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  • JCY
    replied
    Re: How to get blocks to lay flat

    I press HSTs open all the time. It makes for less of a lump where the seams come together. I think I don't want to take the time to do that swirl thing & pick out those stitches, but I saw Eleanor Burns doing it on one of her tutorials. I use my Clover Fabric Folding Pen. Just a touch of the liquid on a lumpy seam & press. It really helps. As my quilting instructor said, "If all else fails, use a hammer!" (A wooden mallet works.) The pen can be bought on line or at your LQS. They cost ~$11., but the concentrated liquid which you mix with water lasts a long time. I still have 3/4 of my bottle left, & I've been using it for 5 yrs. JCY

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  • Bubby
    replied
    Re: How to get blocks to lay flat

    Joyce, Is 'smoosh' a technical term!..lol!

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  • Rhonda D. Matzker
    replied
    Re: How to get blocks to lay flat

    Originally posted by Iris Girl View Post
    Just give it a good pressing and post it so we can all see. No police here.
    Marilyn said she won't post her's if it doesn't lay flat if it takes her weeks to make one. LOL

    The one I made last night was super quick and wasn't really for show but to make one in case someone has problems on Facebook where I can help them. I am going to make another one in the colors that I have chosen (not Patriotic I think pink for Breast Cancer).

    Can you press HSTs open?

    Leave a comment:


  • madampolo
    replied
    Re: How to get blocks to lay flat

    Pieces that have biased edges will cause everything to be wavy. I don't have much of a problem with a block laying flat if the edges are all cut on the straight of grain and if you press. If you have a block where the points all meet in the center, there will be a lump. Try removing some of the cross stitches and smoosh it with your finger.

    Leave a comment:


  • Swedish leo
    replied
    Re: How to get blocks to lay flat

    I use a mix of all the suggestion above. Depending of what I am making.

    For 4 patche I do the swirley thing
    For other piceing I press the seam open
    And sometimes I combine all of them in the same block to get it as flat as I can.

    Good luck!

    Leave a comment:


  • Iris Girl
    replied
    Re: How to get blocks to lay flat

    Originally posted by Rhonda D. Matzker View Post
    I'm talking about blocks that have a lot of pieces to them (like the one our group is doing - the Friend's Star). I won't post a pic of mine all lumpy looking, I would be too embarrassed.

    Please explain.

    Just give it a good pressing and post it so we can all see. No police here.

    Leave a comment:


  • Iris Girl
    replied
    Re: How to get blocks to lay flat

    starch helps, I starched mine, also just press no ironing.

    Leave a comment:


  • Annav
    replied
    Re: How to get blocks to lay flat

    Swirl seams! Seriously. Cut to Pieces: Tutorial on Making a Nine Patch Block with swirled seams. A quilt guild member told me about swirl seams recently when I was having a similar issue with my HST all converging. I googled it and the above site is what I used. It really does make a difference. It takes a few tries to get it right (at least it did for me), and you cannot always piece just like they do in the video (this is for a 9 patch, but you can use it for any converging seams), but it does make a difference.

    Leave a comment:


  • Vonnie
    replied
    Re: How to get blocks to lay flat

    Sometimes pressing seams open will help.

    Leave a comment:


  • K. McEuen
    replied
    Re: How to get blocks to lay flat

    Starch that sucker. The center part of mine seemed to be stretched and I know it wasn't because it was sewn with IDT. Once I gave it a good pressing with Best Press it was ok.

    Leave a comment:


  • Sew Perfect
    replied
    Re: How to get blocks to lay flat

    Make sure you're not stretching your pieces by ironing (press in stead) or using too much steam (if you want steam, just a hit of it will do). Also, the more you handle your pieces/blocks, the more they can stretch and become wonky. If you need to, get some best press or, I've even seen Fons and Porter use regular spray starch on their show.

    Hope this isn't too boring: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m7SYtaEVHQk

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9sw5QJr2mGw
    Last edited by Sew Perfect; January 14, 2014, 12:28 AM.

    Leave a comment:


  • Rhonda D. Matzker
    started a topic How to get blocks to lay flat

    How to get blocks to lay flat

    Okay all of you expert quilters out there. How do you get your blocks to lay so nice and flat when my blocks always look like the hills of southwest Missouri? I'm talking about blocks that have a lot of pieces to them (like the one our group is doing - the Friend's Star). I won't post a pic of mine all lumpy looking, I would be too embarrassed.

    Please explain.
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