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Forum > Sewing Techniques and Tips > Pressing seams flat before pressing them open ( Moderated by MissCelie)

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Pressing seams flat before pressing them open
Why/how does it work?
stirwatersblue
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stirwatersblue  Friend of PR
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Date: 8/14/13 5:26 PM

We've all seen Gorgeous Fabrics's super pressing tutorial, but I have to admit, I'm new to the notion of pressing seams flat first. Well, I've just had to press a gazillion fussy curved seams, so I figured I'd give it a try. WOWZA!!! Those babies came out so nicely, I didn't even have to snip the seam allowances.

So, my question is... why? What's actually happening when you press the seams flat and then open, that makes the pressing so much more effective?

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~Gem in the prairie

DonnaH
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Date: 8/14/13 5:32 PM

The explanation I've heard is that it "sets" the stitches. I assume this means that it sort of embeds them into the fabric a bit.

I have also only recently started doing this, and really like the difference it makes.
PattiAnnJ
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Date: 8/14/13 8:45 PM

They become one with the fabric, Grasshopper.

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OLD CHINESE PROVERB: I HEAR & I FORGET; I SEE & I REMEMBER; I DO & I UNDERSTAND.

quiltingwolf
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In reply to stirwatersblue

Date: 8/15/13 10:06 AM

It was one of the first things I learned in home ec oh so many years ago press as you sew.

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MrsCharisma
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In reply to PattiAnnJ
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Date: 8/15/13 11:09 AM

Quote: PattiAnnJ
They become one with the fabric, Grasshopper.

Love.

I recently started doing this after reading it somewhere and yep...makes a difference.

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JKimes
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Date: 8/15/13 11:38 AM

The term I was taught is "melding". The stitches are 3-dimensional on either side of the fabric. Pressing flat first flattens these stitches, and in some case presses then below the surface of the fabric (you'll see indentations from the stitches if you rip out a seam).
That all helps to make the seam disappear.
At the ASDP conference in Portland we had a workshop on garment judging. They told us the two most common issues they see are inadequate pressing and understitching.

Juliette

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Juliette near Austin, TX
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Date: 8/15/13 12:59 PM

I was at a sewing seminar a while back, and the well known instructor claimed that pressing the seams flat changed the chemistry of the thread when you press the seams. As the daughter of a chemist, I know this is not true UNLESS you hold the iron to the fabric so as to actually burn the thread and fabric, or you're using fusible thread. What you ARE doing is altering the physical property of the thread. And you do want to do this.

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SewLibra
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Date: 8/15/13 1:12 PM

Does it matter if you are going to serge the seam after you sewed it on a sm? It sounds like a good idea, for me anyway, as I often serge right beside my original seam. I'm going to start pressing the seams flat on both sides today! :-)

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Elaray
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In reply to stirwatersblue
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Date: 8/15/13 3:57 PM

Quote: stirwatersblue
We've all seen Gorgeous Fabrics's super pressing tutorial, but I have to admit, I'm new to the notion of pressing seams flat first. Well, I've just had to press a gazillion fussy curved seams, so I figured I'd give it a try. WOWZA!!! Those babies came out so nicely, I didn't even have to snip the seam allowances.



So, my question is... why? What's actually happening when you press the seams flat and then open, that makes the pressing so much more effective?

What's even "curiouser" pressing a seam open, such as the seam that joins the upper and under collar, prevents the seamline from rolling to either side. I learned this from one of Louise Cuttings Industry Insider DVDs. In other words, pressing the seam open helps it stay closed and pressing it closed helps it stay open. Go figure!

------
I sew, therefore I am.

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Date: 8/15/13 5:37 PM

Read about that in directions for a quilt, think was an Eleanor Burns, so probably more quilters know about it.

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MartiP

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