Ironing & Pressing Tips For Quilting

Should I Use Quick & Portable Ironing Board?

In most cases, I find it more convenient to position a conventional ironing board across the room from where I do my work. This forces me to get up and move around every so often. But ever since I started working on my double wedding ring quilt, there have been so many seams that need to be pressed before I can move on to the next one on the arc that I decided to make a small ironing board to keep right next to me while I work.

I started with a small wooden TV dinner table that folds up, placed a layer of cardboard from a box on top of that, threw a towel on top of that, and then placed an old piece of fabric from a sewing project from a very long time ago on top of that. I used a substantial elastic band around each end to keep everything in place. Now I have an instant sewing table that I can keep right next to me without it intruding in any way on the space I need to work in. When I need to put it away, all I have to do is fold it up like I always do, and then it can be stored practically anywhere. It works wonderfully.

Should I Press My Block as I Go or When It’s Complete?

While there are quilters who press after each seam, I am one of those who prefers to wait until all of the patches have been sewn into the blocks before pressing.

Once a patch has been pressed, I’ve discovered that it is difficult to adjust it if it needs to be larger or smaller than it currently is. When the entire block is sewn together, I want the inside patches to remain the same size as they are now.

I press both sides of the block, starting with the back, so that I can be certain that the seam allowances are facing the direction that I want them to. This allows me to ensure that the block is assembled correctly.

Once everything looks good on the back, I flip the block right side up, and give it another press, checking the seam allowances. Sometimes giving the seam allowance a little extra pressure with the iron in order to flatten the block even more can help hide any mistakes that may have been made while sewing.

Additionally, if my seam allowance was just a little bit too small, pressing provides me with the opportunity to correct that as well. When this occurs, I will occasionally correct the problem by going back and re-sewing the seam. On other occasions, I do nothing to alter it and allow the quilting to take care of securing the seam.

How To Protect My Fingers While Ironing?

When ironing your quilt blocks, you should be careful not to burn your fingers.

You might want to try putting a leather thimble on the index finger of the hand you use to hold the fabric in order to prevent it from slipping. While you are aligning the seam allowances, your finger will be protected by the leather, and the leather will also prevent your finger from being burned by the steam coming off of the iron.

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