Have you ever wondered why some quilts come out so beautifully? Why some seams are perfectly aligned, and all pieces match up, while others are puckered or just seem…off? Chances are it’s all in the pressing. AccuQuilt has some tips to help you, after you've cut all those perfectly accurate pieces with your AccuQuilt Fabric Cutter.
Proper Pressing Techniques
Beginning quilters have a lot to keep in mind, from color theory to fabric selection, to cutting, piecing, and sewing – but as mundane as it may seem, proper pressing technique must not be overlooked. So, let’s dive in, and learn how to take your quilts from simply finished to simply fabulous.
Fabric - It’s a Wash
Before you can press your fabric, you must decide if you are going to wash your fabric. This ensures that all excess dyes have been removed, any dirt and oil that have accumulated are gone, and all chemicals used in the fabric creation process have been cleaned away. Washing also ensures that the fabric has been preshrunk. This allows you to press it in a way that will stay, instead of snapping back into the shape determined by an artificial starch or sizing used by the manufacturer.
Go with the Fabric Grain
You don’t have to go with the grain in every part of your life, but it’s a must when pressing fabric. You may be used to pressing the iron around in circles or sliding it every which way when ironing shirts or pants. When ironing fabric for quilting, though, you must iron in the same direction as the grain. This can mean from cut edge to cut edge, or from selvage to selvage, but make sure you’re ironing the same direction. It may sound picky, but it makes the threads in your fabric lie in the same direction so cutting is easier.
To Steam or Not to Steam
Let’s be honest – we all love steam. It helps get those wrinkles out fast. But beginner quilters beware – steam can distort the shape of your pieces, making your seams less than perfect when piecing and sewing. Turning your iron up to a cotton setting when pressing cut pieces will ensure it’s hot enough to press out the wrinkles without distorting your fabric.
But in quilting for beginners some rules are made to be broken – so keep a spray bottle of water handy to help you press open seams. When using the spray bottle, spray the water lightly on the piece you wish to press, and wait a few moments for the water to absorb. Then use the point of the iron to follow the seam line, pressing it open.
After the seams are pressed, flip the fabric over and set the iron down gently on the front to complete the pressing process.
Many quilts begin with strips. There’s not a lot to pressing them, but there is one very important consideration to keep in mind for all quilting for beginners – and even old pros for that matter – do not pull on the strips. This will cause them to be slightly different lengths, and throw off the piecing of your quilt.
Start the Presses
Now that you have the basics of pressing down, are you ready to get going? Proper pressing truly can make or break the details of your project. We hope you’re ready to tackle your pressing projects with aplomb. Happy quilting!
For more information about the AccuQuilt GO! products, visit www.accuquilt.com.