Good pressing skills are essential
to a well made quilt.
Here are the things you must
1. Pressing is not
ironing. When you iron you slide your iron back and forth
on the fabric. When you press, you do just as the term states.
You press down, lift up to reposition, and press again. If you
slide you iron on your fabric blocks, you will distort them.
2. Do not press too hard.
Most new quilters tend to over press. If you over press
your block, you will make ridges on the front of the fabric from the
seam allowance on the back of the fabric.
3. After you sew your seam, press the seam as you have sewn it.
This will embed the threads in the fabric.
4. Then gently open the
fabric, and press the seam open from the seam out. You may want to
finger press it first, and then press the iron on it.
If you press from the wrong
side, you have a much greater chance of getting a pucker on the
right side of the fabric. These are VERY difficult to remove.
Press from the wrong side only
after doing the above in most circumstances. There will be
occasions when you are sewing a lot of seams that are close together
(like thin rectangles) where you cannot follow any of these rules,
and you have to turn the piece upside down and press everything in
one direction, but this is the exception rather than the norm).
5. When you set your piece down to press
it, lay it on the ironing surface with the side
you want to press the seam toward on the top.
6. As a general rule, you
want to press your seam towards the dark side, but this can also vary,
depending on how the blocks are constructed.
If you are using the recommended
100% cotton fabric, you will be pressing on the cotton setting of your
As far as using steam, it's your
choice. So do, some don't.