Sunday, February 20, 2011

A Couple of Questions

I'm sitting here sewing the binding down, and my mind wanders. I think about all kinds of things, and sometimes I stop and look them up (I used to read dictionaries and encyclopedias...now I have the internet). A couple of things that were wandering around. 

Since I took a class back in 2003 or 2004 I have been pressing all of my seams open in all of my quilts. I remember I started then because I had lots of seams coming together in one spot and it would have been a big lump if I pressed to one side. I am a bit of a geek, so I did some looking online to see what other quilters thought about the open versus to one side pressing. One remark that sticks with me is that clothing seams certainly have much more stress than a quilting seams (in most cases) and they are pressed open, so obviously the stitching we are doing currently is plenty strong for pressed open seams, and then on more item about why we pressed to one side. When all quilts were hand stitched together, some of the stitches were larger and farther apart than we get with machine sewing. If those were pressed open, then you might see the batting through the seam line after a time.

It makes logical sense to me that pressing one way or another can't make the stitch stronger. The thread is the thread and the stitch is the stitch no matter which way the fabric goes...does that make sense to all of you, or am I a bit biased because I like the look of open-pressed seams and want to justify them?

Second question: hand or machine stitched binding? I stitch all of my binding on by machine. It is much quicker (and that means it will get done) and it is much stronger and longer lasting (at least than my hand stitching) for quilts that I expect will be thrown in the wash machine and dryer. I know if I ever wanted to enter a quilt in a show I would have to hand stitch the binding down, but I really don't make quilts to be put in a show. I get all the affirmation I need when I give a quilt away and get thanked. I make quilts for being used. I'm not saying there is anything wrong with putting quilts in shows, just not for me.

Second questions: do you hand stitch all your binding down? Why. If you machine stitch do you feel like you're doing a less than excellent job finishing?

Sometimes when I am sewing on the binding I feel like I'm just slapping it on, but I like the way it looks. I don't try to make it look like it is hand stitched...it never comes out well when I do try. I celebrate the stitches I put in the binding...I make them obvious...I SHOUT them!

2 comments:

Ann Marie said...

Love the way you machine stitched that binding down. I hate hand stitching!

Allie said...

I know I'm on a bloggy break but you asked, lol! I press seams open. Always have, always will. Personal preference, yes, but I remember Weeks Ringle saying they press all of their seams open, because pressing to one side creates a high spot on the quilt which will wear faster. Made sense to me.

Binding, I do the back by hand. IF I could practice enough to put it all on by machine, I would. But I'm rubbish at it. I do like the hand stitching....I like to savor it, it's like the wrapping on the gift to me. I LOVE the way you put the binding on in your picture!

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