Tuesday, July 10, 2012

To Steam or Not to Steam...

Yup, that is the question!

Do you steam when you are pressing your quilts?

Some instructors say 'never, never, ever use steam' and others say 'steam as you need to' and yet others say 'steam everything'.
You can see why this is confusing.

This has been asked of me a lot in the past few weeks so I thought I would share what works for me (and might or might not work for you).  I also asked my quilting buddies for their opinions on this issue and in most cases we all treat our pressing task in similar fashion.

The first thing I want to say is...NEVER SAY NEVER!
You really have to do what works for you.

Now, I know the question is actually about 'how do I press when I am piecing?'.
First off, one of the most important parts to this is to actually PRESS not IRON!
Almost everyone is in agreement on this.
I did read and article recently and the author stated that she finds no difference between 'pressing' and 'ironing'.

The only time I iron my fabric is when I am first preparing for cutting.
At this time I tend to STEAM and IRON.
Sometimes those creases can be real hard to get out and you need to work at them.
Steaming and ironing is the only way I have found that it works!

When it comes to pressing after stitching a seam my approach is:

*Set the seam by pressing it for a few seconds
*Gently open the unit and press again for a few seconds
*If I feel I want a sharper looking seam...then I hit it with the steam
* I DO NOT pull and tug on the fabric...especially HST's and anything with a bias edge

Honestly, some fabrics press better than others.  If it looks nice and 'finished' to my eye after a good press I leave it...if not I hit it with the steam.

After I piece all my units and assemble a block I will give it a quick, good press with steam and a spray sizing or starch. 

Once my quilt is pieced and assembled I give it a really good pressing...front and back.
At this point I usually steam press AND use a spray sizing or starch.
This prepares it for quilting.

So that is what I do...you have to find your own solution and see what works for you.

Happy Steaming!