Sewing Basics # 9 – Pressing the stitching line

Just a very very quick tip. I was doing some seam samples for college today and I remembered this little nugget of sewing wisdom. As a beginner I would read the instructions “press seam allowances open” or “press seam allowances to one side” and do just that. What they usually fail to tell you is to press the stitching line first….

Then press seams open (or to one side, whichever) ….

The first press, I was informed,”sets” the stitching smoothly, uniformly and flat. This creates a cleaner and sharper seam when you press the seam allowances open. It’s all these “little” details, that you only pick up over time, that make a difference to your finish. Who knew?? Back then, I sure as heck didn’t!

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  1. didyoumakethat April 8, 2011

    Yes, I found this out recently. I find it very therapeutic to press, press and press again my seams! I think it does make a difference, too. Great tip!

  2. Miss Creativity April 8, 2011

    I will remember that when I next set too and do some sewing. Love the fabric by the way…..
    Take care, keep safe, be happy
    Beverley xx

  3. Vintage Girl April 8, 2011

    You are right to remind us of this. I love to press and get into it a little too much at times! I hate it when I press a seam and it needs to be ripped out again. Anyway thanks for this tip. Keep them coming.

  4. Tasha April 8, 2011

    I only very recently learned this tip and have been faithfully practicing it. I’m sure it’s one of the reasons I was able to whip that annoying red fabric in my blouse into shape!

  5. A.J.A. April 9, 2011

    Portia, this is one of those obvious things that I would never think to do! Duh (smacking my forehead 🙂 Thanks for these tips! I just love how everything you so is so polished.

  6. Sarah April 9, 2011

    Ahhh so that’s why we do it! Its one of the many sewing related things I do with absolutely no idea why… Thanks for clearing that one up! Oh, here’s a question for you, Why do some patterns tell you to press to the side, and others press open? Whats the difference?

  7. R October 21, 2013

    Thank you for this and all your tips Portia


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