How to Press Quilt Blocks and Block Components
- Turn your iron to the "cotton" setting if pressing cotton patches.
- Place the patchwork, on your ironing board, unopened, just as it was sewn. The fabric that the seam allowance will be pressed towards should be facing up. (Most quilting patterns tell you which way to press seam allowances.)
- Set the iron down along the unopened unit to set the seam.
- Let the unit cool a bit then flip the top fabric back gently, using your fingers to fold it away from the bottom fabric along the seam line.
- Place the edge of the iron on the lower strip and very gently work it towards and over the seam allowance. Too much pushing action could stretch the fabric, so take care. Allow the weight of the iron to press the seam flat. Raise and lower the iron along the entire length of the seam to finish pressing.
- Turn the unit over and press from the back to complete the job.
Inspect the unit from the front. Notice that seam allowances on the back make the front of the unit pooch out a bit, creating loft. You'll put that trait to work for you when you sew units together.
Sewing Units Into Rows
- Sew units together to create rows, then press seams in each row as directed in your pattern.
- Sew rows together and press the completed quilt block.
If your quilt pattern doesn't specify pressing direction, try to press seams that adjoin each other in opposite directions. The loft of one will butt into the seam on the other to help create a snug fit.