Friday, April 17, 2015

The Problem with Trying New Techniques...

Is that sometimes they do not work. frown.

While I was sick in bed last Saturday I watched some craftsy classes, because, hey! I'm all for learning and trying new things. One thing I quickly realized is that the techniques I use to paper piece are a LOT different than how other people paper piece. (I have a few different tutorials as well as you tube videos if you want to see how I do it.)

I feel like my technique has evolved quite a bit over the years and I am currently very happy with the results I get, as well as the amount of time in which I can complete a project! Quick is a very good thing when you have four young children!!

Anyway, I watched and considered different techniques I saw, but most were, honestly, not a method I would ever go back to. And that's OK!!! Do what works for you!!! There is no wrong way!!

As I've been working on my latest pattern, Rockstar, I decided to try implementing a few things. One of which was finger pressing my fabric over after piecing each new section. I still did everything else the same, except for two things: I didn't set my seams before finger pressing, and I actually *pressed* my fabric instead of ironing it.

I've heard many times that in quilting you don't iron your fabric (pushing your fabric around) you press it. This is so that you don't distort your seams or fabric, which can cause waves. Which I do see in my work sometimes.

But after trying to join a few of my Rockstar blocks together, I say, "you can keep your pressing!" I am going to keep iron!! Let me show you why:

My points don't line up and I'm losing points that should be there!

This one turned out OK, because I ironed it before sewing the sections together.

Heres what I found happens when I finger press.

See how the seam looks nice and straight, and I was initially very happy with the process. But do you also see how the seam line doesn't go to the corner, but is off center a little?

It's because the fabric isn't folded right on my seam that I sewed. See how if I pull the fabric back, it doesn't seem like a lot, but it is a lot of fabric that is overhanging the seam.

Can you see that small amount that is highlighted, between the navy and the shaded area? See how when I pull it back it brings my seam line right to the corner?

That is more than enough to misalign your seams, ruin your points, etc. At least when I create my patterns I draw my lines to match perfectly. That means I need to sew on the lines, and probably even more importantly (because I do sometimes sew off of the lines) is that the fabric is folded right on that sew line.

Learning and trying new things is GOOD! As long as you learn something. What did I learn? That setting your seams before flipping your fabric over is GOOD! (Are you wondering what I'm talking about when I say "set your seams"? After you sew two fabrics together wrong sides together, before opening them up, set a hot iron on your stitches for just a few seconds. This sets your seams, which also helps to eliminate waviness, or distortion, in your seams.)

Also I learned, that at least for me, I'm going to keep ironing my fabric as I fold it over, to make sure that I get nice crisp seams and lines.

I think sometimes manipulating your fabric in quilting is a-ok. But don't tell anyone you heard that from me! I think I hear the quilt police coming...

I can't wait to show you my next pattern!!! I think I have at least three quilts planned to make with it already!!! A good contender to my Celestial Start quilt!! I am hoping to hear from all my testers by the end of the weekend, and then it should be ready by next week! Wahoo!

DISCLAIMER: I don't want to be misunderstood by my post. Finger pressing isn't a bad thing, or a wrong technique. I actually really like it! It just didn't work for me. Perhaps I'll practice again later. What is important  though, is that you get good results. If you are having problems aligning your points when you paper piece, or quilt, maybe try a different technique and see if you can find something that works better for you! So all in all, the moral of the story is: Try new things, have fun, and create something beautiful! Even if it isn't perfect!! :) (and pay attention to how and where your fabric is folding on the seam!) ;)



  1. That's so funny, that you have issues when you finger press. I have issues when I don't! :) If I don't finger press my seams first before I press them, with paper piecing, then I get those little folds in the seams that make me lose my points.

    1. That is funny! I am sad it didn't work better, because I really enjoyed it, and as I was finger pressing, I thought it was working perfectly. Maybe I'll try it again. Either way, it did make me realize to pay closer attention to where my fabric is folding. :) I hope my post didn't come across that finger pressing is bad... that's not what I meant to portray. :)

  2. I have been paper piecing economy blocks and I have been using a wooden pate knife my uncle made for me for a wedding present as a "finger" press. (I hate pate) and it seems to be working well but the points are not so obvious and precise as yours appear to be.
    I would love to hear how you go in future adventures.

  3. I'm right there with you -- for the exact same reasons. In my dream studio, I'd have an ironing station sit-and-spin adjacent to my sewing station. In real life, I have the sleeve board I went to college with a 100 million years ago. It's perfect for stashing away and bringing back up to the table as I need it. Not as efficient as finger pressing, but I'm more pleased with the results.

  4. I dont believe there is a right or wrong when it comes to any of the things you mention does it really matter what you do as long as you get the desired results? I'm the opposite of you when it comes to finger pressing, I find it to be much more accurate and find that I can really get in there and get each seam perfectly opened and flat. This could be beacuse I don't have the mini iron that I feel I need to get such accuracy with such finely detailed work, or it could simply be what I'm used to. When it comes to the ironing vs pressing seams / fabric in general I I'm firmly in the ironing camp. Again it's a control thing for me, and I find I get better results. At the end of thed ay each to their own works I reckon.

  5. I can't finger press, either! It never works!

    I made a pressing table from a folding TV tray table that I bought at Walmart, first covered in Insulbrite and then in a heavy bottom weight. I just stapled it around the table. It's perfect for sitting beside my chair and I can press right there without having to leave my seat!


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