How do you keep the patchwork quilt tops flat? With the proper pressing of the seams.
Some quilters prefer to press their seams open; for many patterns, it’s a great option. I am not a fan, I do it only when it is absolutely necessary. I prefer pressing to one side.
Nesting seams means pressing the seam allowances in opposite directions; this way of pressing makes piecing more accurate and easier; it also reduces bulk.
Let’s see how to do it while piecing a simple square sample.
First, sew all the rows.
Label with numbers all the rows of the quilt top. I used price tags for this; if you don’t have price tags, just write the numbers on small pieces of paper and pin the paper to fabric.
Arrange the rows in two stacks: one stack with the odd numbers and one stack with the even numbers.
Rotate one of the stacks 180 degrees.
Put one stack on top of the other; now you have one big stack with all the rows of the quilt.
Turn the stack over and bring it to the pressing board.
Now press all the seam allowances- for all the rows- in the same direction.
When it’s time to join the rows together, all the seams are pressed properly- in opposite directions from row to row.
Now piece two rows together; the seam allowances pressed in opposite directions makes matching the seams easier.
Pin at each intersection. You could skip the pinning and keep the seams “locked” with your fingers while you sew. I prefer pinning, even if it takes a little more time; the results are better.
Press the seam allowances between two rows to one side- this is the fastest option. For this quilt, with simple piecing, the bulk is still minimal.
Here is my top.
It’s amazing- most of my seams are perfectly aligned- even if I pieced this top in the biggest hurry!
When you piece blocks with complex patterns, use this technique wherever you can; it requires a little preparation- you have to determine which seams to press in which direction, but it is worth the effort.
Do you nest your seams?
Nesting seams is easy and makes for better accuracy. I also chain piece them so there is no need to number rows and the seams are already “pinned” with the stitching – improving accuracy and speeding process considerably.
Geta Grama says
Linda, I chain piece too, when I piece the blocks into rows. But I still need to number my rows. How do you do so you don’t need any label? Thank you for sharing.
Pat Evans says
For something like your baby quilt with all square units, I spin the seams which makes a very flat finish and reduces bulk. It does take a little more time but creates a tidy finish.
Geta Grama says
Pat, I know this technique, but I don’t think I have enough patience to use it on a bigger quilt. I love the look of the seams on the back, though!
Anne Dirks says
I nest seams like you do whenever possible. One of the main reasons I will buy a pattern is for the pressing directions!
Geta Grama says
You are right, Anne, sometimes we don’t even realize how important the pressing is.
yes, i’ve finally learnedhow to nest my seams and it really does make a difference!!!!! if you have a chance, could you please explain to us how to “spin” the seams, for instance in the middle of a 4patch?
thank you so much for all you help.
I am trying to find the fabric line you have used in the “nesting” blog. Could you share? Thank you.