Through the years as a quilter, I’ve heard very reasoned debates about pressing. Seams should be to the darker fabric. Seams should never be pressed open. Like most every rule for quilting, or life in general, what works best for each individual is the best method. The reason for pressing seam allowances toward the dark fabric is so they don’t show through on the lighter fabric. As far as not pressing seams open, the best reasoning I’ve heard is that the thread in those seams is left unprotected and is more susceptible to being broken by a needle hitting it during quilting or, if the tension isn’t perfect, the thread is exposed.
When pressing seams to the darker fabric, for most projects this will result in the seams “nesting” and that’s what’s most important to me.
Unless there’s a reason to deviate, my seam allowances are pressed to the darker fabric. I do not hesitate to press to the lighter fabric or even press seams open if that’s what works best for my particular project. The border I’m working on is an example of when it’s ok to break the rules.
If you notice my seams, they’re all pressed differently. There’s a method to my madness! The brown/cream seam allowance is pressed toward the lighter fabric on the upper right in this photo. On the upper left side, it’s pressed to the darker fabric. Where they join the colored triangle, the piece on the right is pressed out toward the pieced triangle unit. On the left, it’s pressed in toward the larger triangle.
Why would I do that?
When these units are sewn together, all the seams will “nest” and that’s the best way for me to get close to perfect matching seams.
The seam allowance is then pressed open.
Once the top is quilted, it will be nearly impossible for even an experienced quilter to see that the seam allowances are going all different directions. My thinking is . . if they’re scrutinizing my work that closely, they’re going to find lots of imperfection.
The most important aspect of the pressing for me is that everything matches up as closely as possible on the front and however I have to press those seam allowances to get that to happen, that’s how I do it.