If you are a regular reader of my blog, I don’t think it will come as a surprise to you that I press my seams open the majority of the time I am piecing my quilt tops. There are certainly lots of reasons to press to one side, and pressing seams open is not for everyone. Today, I want to focus on a quick trick that I use to help my open seams stay locked together as I am piecing. My secret? Seam tails.
As you can see in the images above, I cannot always use what I call seam tails. When trimming pieces to size, like the HSTs shown above, the edges of the seam will be raw. However, when piecing blocks together and as often as I can when piecing, I sew 4-5 stitches in place before starting a seam and after finishing a seam to really lock the thread into place. This is another reason why I am not a huge chain piecing sewer. This method can be a bit more difficult to employ when chain piecing (although it is definitely possible, it just requires a bit of patience).
The magic of the seam tails really begin to be obvious the more piecing comes together, such as in the Rhoda Ruth block shown above. I find that when I press a secondary seam open (such as a row after piecing blocks into a row), that having seam tails keeps the edge of the block piecing from popping open as I press the secondary seam.
And in closing, I’ll show my test Notched Block which employs both pressing to the side and pressing seams open and my ever present seam tails (above).
If you are someone who likes to press open your seams, do you do this? Do you have any other tips? Again, I’m not out to convert anyone, but if you want to give it a try, I really suggest you use seam tails to keep things snug and secure!