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The Perfect 1/4" Seam

The key to improving your piecing skills is achieving accurate seam allowances.

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Press For Success


In quilting, almost every seam needs to be pressed before the piece is sewn to another. Pressing the seams ensures accurate piecing. The direction you press is important in piecing and usually will be specified in the instructions. When in doubt, press both seam allowances toward the darker fabric.

You'll usually press the entire seam allowance to one side rather than open. When two seams will be joined, press the seam allowances in opposite directions; this helps line up seams perfectly and reduces bulk.

Press seam allowances in each row in opposite directions so they abut when rows are joined. Press, don’t iron: Don’t know the difference? Ironing involves moving the iron while it is in contact with the fabric; this stretches and distorts seams. Pressing means lifting the iron off the surface of the fabric and putting it back down in another location.

Setting a seam: Before pressing a seam open or to one side, press the seam as it was sewn, without opening up the fabric pieces. This helps sink the stitches into the fabric, leaving you with a less bulky seam allowance.

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