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How to Press Quilt Blocks to Improve Your Quilting Skills

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Press as You Go when Making a Quilt
How to Press Quilts

A couple of areas still need to be pressed down a bit, but you can see the general pressing method.

© Janet Wickell

Why It's Important to Press as You Go

Your piecing accuracy will improve immediately when you learn how to press quilt blocks and take a bit of time to press as you sew. Pressing is an extra step, but you'll love the payoff in time saved because your quilt blocks will fit together exactly as they should when it's time to assemble the quilt.

Pressing seam allowances as you work helps eliminate little widths of fabric that become "lost" in seams, creating distortions and making blocks smaller than they should be.

Let's look at an example...

Your quilt block contains a row of pieced units, and in that row there are a total of ten seams. What if a pencil-line width of fabric is caught up in each seam allowance simply because you didn't press? It doesn't sound like much, but multiply that line by 10 and it becomes the difference between stitching an accurate quilt block or a block that won't match up to its neighbors.

You might argue that, if all seams are smaller by the same amount, what difference does it make? Maybe none if you're constructing very simple blocks and sewing identical blocks side by side, but the shortage will definitely cause problems in quilts where different types of blocks are sewn together, because each block will be off by a different amount.

You've perfected your quarter-inch seam allowance, so don't allow inadequate pressing to destroy your work. Get into the habit of pressing each unit as soon as it's assembled and you'll see an immediate improvement in your quilts.

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