I tend to do things in a certain way with my quilting but I’m usually open to learning (hence all the books). For years I always used steam to press but in the last 6-8 months I’ve been using a dry iron and am surprised how much better I like it.
During the piecing of the block I only press with the dry iron but once the block is finished, I give it a spritz of Mary Ellen’s Best Press and press.

Another tip I learned a couple years after I’d gotten my longarm was that I didn’t need to press my backs before loading them on the longarm. A little spritz of water after the back is loaded gets even the most stubborn wrinkles out.

So what tips for quilting do YOU have to share?

18 Responses to “Pressing”

  • QuiltSue:

    Thanks for the tip about the backings. Anything that saves pressing time is a good thing.

    My useful tip? Do NOT think "I'll just do one more pass/motif on the longarm" when you are tired. Ask me what I spent yesterday evening doing? Yep, unsewing the results of ignoring my own advice!

  • Tazzie:

    I would love it if I didn't have to press my backing fabrics – it's my least favourite part of the whole process.
    I'm not sure I have any useful tips – it's still a learning process for me.

  • animal lover, quilt lover:

    I have always pressed with a dry iron. Only use steam when the block is done. I like the tip about Mary Ellen's best press! Where do you buy that? Fern

  • Joyce:

    I just recently tried Mary Ellen's Best Press and I love it. It works really well and smells divine.
    At the moment I can't think of any great tips to share.

  • Morah:

    Why do you like ME Best PRess? I can't get past starch is starch, sizing is sizing. Is it a differant type of starch? Is it the scent? Do you use it for pressing items other than quilting? I really have been curious about it.

  • BJ:

    I've made a few wall quilts and lap quilts over the years, and had read this tip many times. Why I never chose to heed the advice is beyond me, but maybe someone else is also in need of hearing this again: When sewing rows of blocks together, pin, pin, pin. When I did pin them in the past, I was very frugal about it – but the more pins, the better your blocks will match up. I just sewed 36 blocks together, and every single one is a perfect match to the next one…only because of all those stickpins. I have sewn for 40 years and should have known better!

  • Magnolia Bay Quilts:

    Thanks for the tip on starch. Your block looks perfect!

    I like to use starch on my fabrics before I cut. It helps to keep the pieces from stretching out of shape as they're sewn and handled.

  • Julia:

    I like using the starch too, before and after piecing. I still can't get past steaming. I try dry ironing, but the results I get with steam are still way better than dry.

    My tip is, don't make it a race just to get it finished. Slow down and enjoy the whole process of quilting! Cutting, piecing, pressing, quilting, binding, I love it all!

  • Jessica:

    I love ME's Best Press. I usually use it on stubburn wrinkles when pressing the whole fabric and I use it on finished blocks.

    However, when piecing I still always use steam. I can just get my seams so much flatter with steam than I can with a dry iron.

  • Lori in South Dakota:

    the tip about backings is great!

  • wendysquilting:

    I haven't come across Best Press anywhere here, maybe next time I'm in the states I'll look for it.
    When I use steam for pressing I, leave the pieces I've pressed to cool on the board before picking them up, I find there is less distortion that way. I used to only press with a dry iron and that worked fine, I'm not sure why I started using steam.

  • Quilter Kathy:

    I am the same as you…dry iron (had terrible problems with spitting irons) and Mary Ellen's Best Press.
    I had a habit of pressing the seam closed first, then opening or pressing to one side (which ever I feel like at the moment) on the back and then turning the block or quilt to the right side and pressing again.
    I could press quilt blocks for hours, but hate ironing a shirt for 5 minutes!

  • julieQ:

    My tip (guess how I know) press, don't iron! Especially bias edges. Recently I had some pretty wonky blocks due to overworking them, ironing them to death!

  • EileenKNY:

    I've never used steam, starch or ME's Best Press. I may have to give it a try.
    My tip-use a stiletto when you're sewing your seams. It can hold onto the fabric right up to the needle. That way you won't get off the 1/4 inch.

  • passingdowncrazy:

    I bought ME Best Press because the steam button on my iron quit. I love it. Citrus is my favorite.

  • Anonymous:

    I've always used steam to press my blocks…just never thought to try a dry iron. I'll test it out on my next round of blocks. Love the pink & cream block! Can't wait to see more blocks/finished top.

  • di:

    I also like ME's Best Press – it's a "starch alternative" available at you local quilt shop. It doesn't leave the residue that regular starch leaves and/or builds up. I also like using spray sizing. My tip is to make my iron last longer and prevent the spitting – I simply use water in a spray bottle and "spritz" my fabric and then press with a hot iron – same results without the steam or spitting. I don't need to add steam to my sewing room when it's 100 outside!!!!

  • Anonymous:

    I starch my fabric before I cut out my blocks, then press with a dry iron – I've had too many bad experiences with blocks becoming distorted to use steam – also, I notice that cheap fabric (Joanns), stretches and distorts much more than good quality quilt shop fabric. I suppose that's because the thread count in the greigh goods is much lower. I recently just started using a little wooden press when working with strips – I really like it – it saves a lot of jumping up and down to iron and doesn't distort the strips like pressing often does.


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