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Any one have any opinions (strong or otherwise) about pressing seams open. I recently tried it because the squares in the blocks of the quilt that I am working on right now are very small. My points and matching seams are looking great. I was just wondering if there was history or logic about why NOT to press seams open?

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Comment by Jane Klein on July 21, 2009 at 6:40pm
Janice: I almost always press my seams open. I hand quilt and do not like to quilt in the ditch, so pressing seams open just makes good sense to me. I also think it makes the finished quilt top lay flat and less lumpy. I do backstitch at the beginning and end, because pressing the seams open will also cause the seams to rip at the top or bottom if you are not careful.
Comment by Angelinaquilt13 on June 1, 2009 at 2:14pm
I've read that the seams sewn by hand, as they where done in former times, are stronger when pressed to one side. And that the stuff used as batting migrate less through such a seam.
Comment by Stephanie G. Benson-Greer on June 1, 2009 at 1:27pm
I've also heard the same thing about weakness in the seams when pressing open, with the exception of flannel quilts (my favorite). I have had no problem with sitting on them, cats/dogs deciding these quilts belong to them. I still press normally on regular fabrics though.....good luck!
Comment by Cheryl / NC on June 1, 2009 at 6:01am
Hi Janice, I was a seamstress long before I was a quilter so I was used to pressing seams open. The first guild meeting I ever went to (was about 5 years after I started quilting) and one of the little old ladies(I'm talking 90's here ladies so nobody get mad at me for using the word old!) Did that little "tut tut tut" sound at me that I remember my grandmother making right before she said "Shame on you!" I stopped pressing seams open on quilts that very night! LOL! She did explain to me that "it makes the seams weaker dear, especially on a bed quilt that will see a lot of washing or husband sitting on it to put on his socks" her words! It was okay on wall hangings and small things that wouldn't see the wear and tear a bed quilt would have. I do think that with some small pieces, especially some of the foundation piecing that we do now, you need to press open to reduce bulk. So I tend to decide based on the piece I'm working on and what feels right under my fingers.(Some of them just don't want to go the way we want them to!) So I agree with the others, do what works best for you! Big help I am huh? I'll continue to press all my bed quilts to the side, I just can't seem to keep that "tut tut tut" out of my head ;)
Comment by Barb D in Maine on June 1, 2009 at 5:26am
I agree - sometimes it is necessary to press open to reduce bulk. Especially when all the seams connect in the middle, such as eight pointed star blocks. I also usually press the seams open on dresden plates - otherwise, I just press to one side.
Comment by Pam Miller on June 1, 2009 at 3:53am
I have heard all of the same things about pressing open and it seems that it may depend on how you will use your quilt. If it hangs on the wall and looks beautiful, what's the harm. If you put it on a bed and have children, or a husband, who sets on the bed, it have be a problem down the road.
Comment by Gico/NS/CAN on June 1, 2009 at 3:49am
Hi Janice ! I started quilting only a few years ago and was taught to press my seams open when machine piecing. I also find it makes it easier to match seams. Never had trouble with my seams since I use a short stitch when piecing. However, my instructor was saying to press to one side if you hand piece your quilt. I must admit I use both methods. I press to one side when doing flying geese, etc...
Comment by Lynda Banks/Ont. on June 1, 2009 at 2:59am
I have also heard that open seams are weaker, but have no idea why they would be?? The main reasons for pressing to one side seems to be that your matching seams will lock together,also it creates a ditch for quilting. If these things are'nt an issue, then I press in which ever manner works the best for the project I am working on.
Comment by Ada Funnell on May 31, 2009 at 9:25pm
Hi Janice. I read recently in one of my quilt books that open seams are weaker and will not last as long. I can't remeber were I read but is since this came up recently. I have never opened seams but]have been tempted to at times because of bulk. Especially when working with thick flannel.
Comment by Marla Southers on May 31, 2009 at 9:12pm
I have heard it being done both ways. Just depends on what you are doing. Some definitely recommend it to cut down on the bulk.

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