How to press (iron) strip sets in quilting.

Pressing...

Ten photo's on how to press a quilt strip?  Is this necessary?
YES!

 PRESS!  Pressing is different from "IRONING".  Ironing is something you do to military clothes to get them to stand up by themselves.  Pressing is a gentle nudge with the iron to get the seams to go to one side.  You have sewn your strip sets together staggering the edges by 45 degrees.  Now you need to press the seams in one direction. 
We will start with the zigs!  These will be the pieces that come down on the left in the peak of your quilt.

Lay your strips on the ironing board. 

This is the measured end while you sewed.  You see it is very evenly staggered in.

What I do first is to give the whole piece a good dousing with spray starch.  Spray starch is your friend!  If the strips are stiff, it is much easier to cut them as they don't "squiggle" around as much. 

This is the opposite end of the same strip set.  The stagger is irregular because all fabrics are not the same length.  Some fabrics are just shorter than others in the making. I have a really big gap between the first and second fabrics. 

I will loose one or two diamond cuts because of that, so what I might do, is to cut a different piece of fabric and sew it onto the end where the short piece is after I cut all my strips from this piece.  It will give me one or two more diamond strips. If not that, if I have another short strip, I can unsew the short pieces and stitch together the longer ones from two strips.  Waste not!

To press the seams  together first "sets" the stitching and makes it easier to press to one side. 

So take the flowered, blue and tan strips in the photo and fold them down over the pink one.  (Your fabrics may be different!) Your seam will face away from you.

Press the top seam the length of the piece.  Don't attack it with the iron and push down the length of  the seam. All  that will do is stretch the seam!  Be gentle!

Down with the iron, press..... up  with the iron, and move down the strip further and press, up with the iron, move the iron and press...

After you press the seam from the back, lift up the top layers of strips and flip back over  so right sides are showing. Now you will press the from the top.  The seam will naturally want to go away from you since you folded the fabric away from you while pressing the back. 

Very important!  Be sure there aren't any little tucks or creases where the seams are pressed.  You want your seams to be all the way flat without any tucks. Little tucks where the fabric isn't completely ironed over at the seam will really mess up any quilt project!


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If you have to, get your fingers under there and push the seam away from you and press. 

Don't burn your fingers!

Stubborn spots can be re-sprayed with starch to make them co-operate. 
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Now do the same with the next strip in line. Just fold  the next two strips over and press down the strip set piece along the seam till you do the whole length of the piece. 

PRESS!

 

Fold the last seam over and press from the back to set the stitches,  then flip up the strip as usual...
Use the tip of the iron and swing it over the seam to press the top.

Remember, press all the seams in the same direction.  In this case they will all be away from you.

Turn it all over and make sure the seams all go in the same direction and you don't have any stubborn ones going another way.  Fix them if you do!
All done!  Now at this point I will give it another good douse of spray starch from the top and press it from the top from one edge to the other across the seams.  Just be very careful you don't stretch the fabrics.  If you do, you will have troubles!  That is advice for any quilt project. 
Listen up!  Now do your zags... the strips sewn in the opposite stagger should have the seams going in the opposite direction from the zigs. 

Why?  So when you sew the two rows together, your seams will be going one way on one piece and the opposite way on the strip you are sewing it to.  The seam will butt together for a prefect match!  Honest!

And if you happen to want to turn one upside down (yes you can do that!) you can just flip the seams up or down. It works really slick.

So, for the zags, you want your seams coming toward you, so start by flipping the three strips closest to you away from you over the last blue in this photo.  In other words, fold the flower, red and light print strips over the blue one.  Your seam will face you this time. Press each row from the back then front as you did before,  just go in the opposite sequence. 

Now we will start to cut the diamonds from the strips
 Introduction and objective 1) Supplies and fabric needs 2) Basic quilt / quilt with "built-in borders"

2b) standard mattress sizes

3) Larger quilt chart 4) Sew your strips together
5) Press your strips 6) Sub-cut your strips 7) Sew your diamond rows together 8) Sew your diamond rows together,  page 2 9) Admire the work of these "frenz" and see their "stripper quilt" pic's!
Back to  Main Frenzy Page
Back to Mary Ann's Cyberspace Quilt Page (my personal web page)

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