10 Simple Things (2) - Press WellJul 13, 2021
As a teacher of mostly improv techniques I can attest to people thinking you don’t need to press much. Wrong!
This isn’t about the debate on pressing direction, but actually taking the time to press well. A well pressed block and quilt lays flat, quilts better, and wears well.
Please remember that pressing it not ironing. Pressing is lifting, up and down. Ironing is moving the iron around. If you run that iron around with a lot of pressure you will stretch the fabric of the block. Practice pressing with only one hand, the other behind your back.
That being said, here is a dark secret of improv piecing: use the iron to press the block into submission when it isn't cooperating. While we normally want to keep our grain straight and not stretch our blocks, when we are working with improv we've likely lost track of graininess. So use the tendency to stretch to your advantage when a piece isn't cooperating and iron or press it to make it go where you want. Just do this before you square up!
Finally, I cannot recommend the pressing spray Flatter, by Soak, enough. Using this as you press after sewing will absolutely help your blocks lay, well, flatter.