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Pressing

Good pressing skills are essential to a well made quilt. 

Here are the things you must remember:

1.  Pressing is not ironingWhen 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 iron. 

As far as using steam, it's your choice.  So do, some don't.

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