Pressing is a method of using your iron to ensure a seam is flat and is an important part of quilt making. Most people think of ironing as moving a hot iron back and forth over the fabric with or without steam. This works great for garments or large pieces of fabric, but in quilting, the back and forth movement can distort the grain of your fabric and stretch your blocks or your quilt. Pressing is just what you imagine, it's simply pressing the iron down, with or without steam, and picking it up before moving. There is a lot of pressing in quilting. Pressing prepares your fabric before cutting by removing wrinkles that can distort pieces when cut. Pressing your seams on the wrong side after sewing sets your stitches into your fabric. Pressing your seams from the right side, either to one side or open, insures that no fabric is hidden under the seam allowance. Pressing with or without steam is a personal preference.

Benefits of Pressing

Careful Pressing helps your seams align when constructing blocks.

Pressing also insures that your blocks will fit together when assembling your quilt top.

Tools and Supplies for Pressing

You'll need the following for Pressing:

  • Iron
  • Pressing mat or ironing board
  • Water - as needed
  • Starch or sizing - as needed
What I Wish I Knew When I Started Pressing

Gentle persuasion while PRESSING can help your not so square block conform. In addition, there are many occasions when pressing seams, you want to be aware of darker fabrics showing through on the seam of the lighter fabrics.  The darker fabric should be trimmed to the same seam allowance as the lighter fabric.

Pressing Resources