Hot Tips

Hot Tip Tuesday #2, Pressing

Have you ever started making a quilt with multiple strips sewn together and the farther you sewed the more crooked your block became?  My first quilt (first to begin, still not finished) was a sampler quilt with a rail fence block.  It’s a 12″ block, that’s made up of 4, 6″ blocks which are made up of strips.  Luckily another quilt caught my eye, I dropped the sampler to make it and so on and so on and shall we say the rest is history? Somewhere along the way I learned to press correctly and my blocks are accurate and straight.  Thank goodness I did or who knows where my quilting experience would have ended. Fortunately quilting has many tricks and techniques that can make your quilting perfect if that’s what you’re after!

What I have learned is this:

pressing with iron

After you’ve sewn the scant 1/4″ seam, take strip set to the ironing board and press it with a dry iron just as it was sewn. NEVER slide the iron down the strip as you press, but rather pick up the iron each time. Next:


Open strip set and finger press seam to one side.  Next:

With tip of iron, press seam to one side, pressing seam open with fingers and iron as you move along seam.  Most importantly don’t slide iron, but rather pick it up and move it down the strip.  Sliding the iron distorts the strips and makes for crooked strip sets.   Lastly, the test:

Lay the pressed strip set on gridded cutting mat and use ruler to check for accuracy. The strip set should be straight and measure accurately.  Too large of a seam allowance will make the strip set too small and too small of a seam allowance will make the strip set too large.  Neither of these scenarios is good for placing blocks into a quilt.  If you have trouble getting an accurate scant 1/4″ seam allowance you can try my friend Celine’s Perfect Piecing Seam Guide to help set up your machine.

Remember, if you have a tip, send it to me at and if I use it in a Hot Tip Tuesday post, I’ll send you a free pattern!

Until next time,


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