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 thoughts on “Pressing

  1. 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!

  2. 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.

  3. 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

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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!

  7. 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.

  8. 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!

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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!

  12. 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!

  13. 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.

  14. passingdowncrazy

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

  15. 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.

  16. 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!!!!

  17. 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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