Frequent question: Should quilt seams be pressed open or to one side?

What is the best stitch length for machine quilting?

For straight stitching, it is advised to set your machine’s stitch length to 2.5 to 3.0 or about 8-12 stitches per inch. This range works quite well for a majority of machine quilting but there are always exceptions when you make a rule. For threads with sparkle or shine, use a longer stitch length.

Why you should press seams open?


This helps distribute the fabric bulk evenly in a small area, eliminating lumps and making the seam easier to quilt through. Some quilters prefer to press all seams open for a smoother, flatter finished quilt top and to prevent fabrics from showing through in the seam allowances.

How Big Should quilt seams be?

The 1/4″ seam allowance (it’s not uncommon to see it abbreviated in quilt patterns as SA) is standard for all types of quilting. It’s big enough to hold the patches together. Small enough to reduce bulk and save fabric. Sewing an accurate, reliable 1/4″ seam is the first step to enjoyable quilting.

How do you press a finished quilt top?

Ironing Tips for the Flattest Quilt Tops

  1. It’s important to press with as much care as you cut and stitch.
  2. Avoid steam, as it can stretch quilt blocks out of shape.
  3. Lower the iron down and “press” and then lift it back up, rather than pushing it across the block as you would when ironing an article of clothing.
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What does Press seam toward back mean?

Pressing to the back or front is when you press the seam allowance towards the front or back of the item being sewn. You will usually find this in garment construction such as pleat. Quilts are also usually pressed to one side or the other. Most quilters press towards the darker fabric.