Kim’s Design Wall: PRESSING MATTERS
Have you been wondering when the Temple Court tutorial is going to appear? Let’s just say, we’ve run into some “technical difficulties.”
In case you’re thinking my computer is causing me problems, I’ll confess it’s a much simpler piece of equipment that I’m wrestling with: the iron!
To be specific, I’ve had quite a struggle pressing seams for this block. While the partial-seam technique I mentioned in my last post works like a charm, the final assembly for these blocks hasn’t gone smoothly, to say the least.
As a matter of fact, they’re downright LUMPY! Take a look at the back of this early attempt: each of the circles highlights a point at which seams pile up to make a big, unsightly lump. From the front, it looks fine, but I know I’m going to be grumbling as I try to quilt through multiple layers where seams collide.
Pressing in the other direction didn’t help much: it simply moved the pileups to new locations. Clipping seams and alternating directions was a little better, but I’m never happy with the way patches look from the right side when their seams are clipped on the back.
Finally, after numerous attempts, I arrived at a compromise that seems [pun intended!] to work well for Temple Court. In addition to the partial seam technique, I’m pressing some of the seams open, removing a few stitches to make others change directions and achieving a tidy block that lays perfectly flat.
I’ll include pressing instructions in the tutorial, but it’s worth noting that pressing seams open instead of to one side or the other is sometimes the best solution when piecing complex blocks. Here are a few hints I’ve discovered as I worked at finding the best pressing plan for this block:
- Pick out skimpy seams and correct rather than just sewing a second wider seam: if you’re going to press open, you can’t have two rows of stitching.
- Don’t trim off the dog-ears where points are sewn until after the block is complete: they’re useful “handles” to help flip seams where necessary and to hold onto with a pin or stiletto as you sew across diagonal seams.
- Snip a couple of stitches where seams cross and flip those dog-ears over when necessary to make seams lie flat. If you compare the pileup points circled above with the seams-open block, you’ll see the dog-ears go in opposite directions at each of those points. That’s part of what helps the block lie flat. I’ll trim the dog-ears as I assemble the quilt top.
Look for a complete photo tutorial in the next week or so. I’m working on adding captions to the photos and getting them formatted for easier viewing. In the meantime, here’s one I discovered as I was flipping through the gallery making sure I had all the steps covered….photo-bombed by Quilt Inspector Django!