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How fussy are you about your seams staying flat?

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    How fussy are you about your seams staying flat?

    I've been making a herringbone quilt MSQC style, which means the blocks have bias edges all around. The HSTs I pressed to the dark side, but all the other seams (i.e. to join the blocks are top) are pressed open to reduce bulk. Maybe it's the nature of the bias beast, but those seams keep wanting to flop around and ruffle up as I join the major sections of the top together. In one of my most fussy quilting moments ever, I enacted a plan: use a fine-tipped bottle of elmer's glue and baste down all the vertical seams in the top. These are the longest and the most likely to misbehave. It works, but it takes a long, long time. But those seams are staying put until I baste the quilt sandwich together!

    Sewing blocks together into a top is one of the most awkward parts of quilting for me next to basting, since you're handling so much bulk and you don't have the control you do with small pieces. This is where things start to go awry for me. How do you protect all the meticulous pressing that went into your blocks when you put together the top? Is it usually not worth the bother to fret over seams staying put/pressed?

    #2
    Re: How fussy are you about your seams staying flat?

    I'm pretty fussy. If I have a lot of HSTs, I sometimes press them open. Or if I press to the dark side, and there are several seams coming together at one spot, I use the Clover Pen to relax the fabrics. I put just a drop of liquid on the seams & press it with the iron. When all else fails, use a wooden or rubber mallet.

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      #3
      Re: How fussy are you about your seams staying flat?

      Yup, me too...very fussy about the seams laying flat. I discovered that my machine has a little lip between the machine and the extension table that would cause my seams to flip as I was sewing.
      I also use starch if there's a lot of intense matching required. The starch really makes the fabric stiff and it will keep a crease.
      Michele

      to the world you may be one person, but to one person you may be the world...

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        #4
        Re: How fussy are you about your seams staying flat?

        Another fussy pants here about seams and the back of the quilt. I use starch on the back too and press into place. There have been the occasional twist in a seam allowance but those are ironed flat. Pinwheel points are twirled to decrease bulk.

        Glue works well and was a feature topic at the LQS event last month.

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          #5
          Re: How fussy are you about your seams staying flat?

          Hi

          I too is fussy with flat seams. I use starch when pressing and that seams to do the trick.
          It gets stiff and lay down very flat. I press all my seams open.
          sigpic

          God, Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
          The stash to make a quilt to help me cope,
          A quilt to give to comfort those I love in times of hurt, fear and uncertainty.
          And the courage to keep on sewing when life itself seems held together by a single thread of hope.

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            #6
            Re: How fussy are you about your seams staying flat?

            I want my seams to be flat. I press with a little steam and that usually does the trick. I haven't pounded mine with a rubber mallet yet.
            sigpicwww.whisperofrose.blogspot.com


            Scottie Mom Barb

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              #7
              Re: How fussy are you about your seams staying flat?

              I find that if you have a lot of bias in the pattern it is best to starch the fabric before cutting.
              No act of kindness, however small, is ever wasted.
              Aesop

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                #8
                Re: How fussy are you about your seams staying flat?

                Fussy pants here too about flat seams, especially if I'm going to quilt myself. When fabric is cut on the bias, I starch it and handle as little as possible not to stretch. I use an awl, when guiding the seams through the machine.

                Enjoy life and do what makes you happy. Everything else will follow.

                Every day I try to do one thing that challenges my comfort zone.

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                  #9
                  Re: How fussy are you about your seams staying flat?

                  The aspect of all seams laying flat used to make me bonkers. No matter how many times I would iron, I would have one that would flip. And then I realized what I was doing wrong, lol. I started finger pressing all my seams bias edge or not. I would stitch my entire block finger pressing the whole time. Then moving to the ironing board and only pressing from the top side. I learned before cutting any fabric, if I starch it first, then finger pressing is almost as good as running the iron on each seam. Then I got a wool pressing mat. Because of all the fabric work leading up to the whole block being ironed, the pressing mat would allow everything to be extremely flat. You could also put a towel on your ironing board for better pressing (not ironing) results. Always press from the front, and your flipped bias seams should go away.
                  Blogging ahead.....research in quilting and sewing with a dab of cooking/recipes too.

                  https://myquiltprojects.wordpress.com/

                  https://thecookbookproject.wordpress.com/

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                    #10
                    Re: How fussy are you about your seams staying flat?

                    Not fussy. I thank heaven there are no quilt police!

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                      #11
                      Re: How fussy are you about your seams staying flat?

                      I shorten my stitch length when I plan on pressing seams open. Learned that from Leah Day.

                      I like to use Best Press starch in unscented. I water it down to 4 parts water and 1 part starch. I like it better that way.

                      And if you have a lot of bias edges, do a stay stitch 1/8 inch from edge. Learned that from Eleanor Burns.

                      I also have a machine that tries to flip the seams! If it's not a problem I let it go but if it increases the bulk I rip it out and sew it again. I quilted one quilt for a friend that did not decrease bulk in the seams and my needle got stuck 3 different times!
                      Vonnie

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                        #12
                        Re: How fussy are you about your seams staying flat?

                        I press to the dark side, use a spray bottle of water and regular iron, no steam. Once in awhile a seam flips to opposite side when sewing blocks together, BUT who is going to know once it is quilted. Now in Hawaiian quilting by hand which is my specialty, we have to sew very long seams to join fabric together to get a double size piece. I sew a 5/8" seam and press them open. It takes three layers the same size to make a quilt and you don't want those seams flipping to one side, OR when hand quilting across those seams you will either be going through 4 layers of fabric and one batting. If layers happen to stack on top each other then you are quilting through 3 layers for design, 3 layers for background, one layer of batting and 3 layers on the back, OUCH. So I am usually very careful when laying out quilt to offset those seams by about 3/4 - 1" so they don't stack.

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                          #13
                          Re: How fussy are you about your seams staying flat?

                          I do a lot of finger pressing before I iron and use a ton of best press starch. Unflat seams are not pretty.

                          One thing that I have found if I have to piece the back which is most of the time, I press the seam to one side and then use the biggest stitch I have to sew it down and press again. When the quilt is finished I pull out the basting. You can barely see the seam and its not twisted and lays flat.
                          Last edited by TMP; May 27, 2019, 01:56 PM.

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                            #14
                            Re: How fussy are you about your seams staying flat?

                            Originally posted by TMP View Post
                            I do a lot of finger pressing before I iron and use a ton of best press starch. Unflat seams are not pretty.

                            One thing that I have found if I have to piece the back which is most of the time, I press the seam to one side and then use the biggest stitch I have to sew it down and press again. When the quilt is finished I pull out the basting. You can barely see the seam and its not twisted and lays flat.
                            That's pretty smart!

                            I'm enjoying reading everyone's tips and tricks for taming seams. Thanks for sharing

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                              #15
                              Re: How fussy are you about your seams staying flat?

                              Wow, I must be the sloppiestquilter ever. I never notice stuff like this. I sew, I sandwich, I quilt, I bind and then I stand back and admire how magical it is that you can take scraps of fabric and make a creative, usable blanket.
                              Walk in peace with the Lord by your side.
                              Terry

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