Seamingly Badass

Learn to Sew: Pressing Matters

I would be remiss if I didn’t have you press your seams.

So, if I did my math right, you should have about 8-9 seams (depending on how the fabric was cut). And provided you didn’t make shorter strips giving you more seams to practice with. Which, is totally cool.

If you’re using a cotton broadcloth or muslin that doesn’t have a “right side” this won’t be as obvious.

But the wider side is the “garment” and the narrower side is your “seam allowance” (unless you did a 1″ or more seam allowance for fun).


Anyway, to press open, open your fabric up (peel the two layers apart) on the garment side. And peel the two layers of seam allowance open.

Lay the strip of fabric face down (garment face) on your ironing board. The seam allowance should be facing up so you can see it.

With the iron at a medium to high heat, gently press the two seam allowance layers apart. You may need to finger press and maneuver the layers some while doing this.

Try not to stretch or deform the fabrics. This is more crucial on curves and stretchy fabrics. It won’t happen as easily on a straight stitch on non-stretch fabric.

If needed, you can then turn the fabric over, and press the topside of the seam. (Note that sometimes this can’t be done because of the fabric.)

Pressing vs. Ironing

What’s the Difference?


Is your fabric fraying? Lots of woven fabrics unravel or fray. On the edge of the fabric, try a zig-zag stitch. This is one way to finish the seams so they don’t unravel. I like to make a slightly narrower and longer zig-zag than my machine defaults to. I feel like it saves time and thread. 🤣 Usually, this would be done on seam allowance edges only. And while it’s easier to do it before you stitch the seam, it can deform the edge so it would make lining the two edges up appropriately more difficult, or impossible. When dealing with most woven fabrics, and some knit fabrics, this is a necessary (albeit tedious) step. The alternate options are even more tedious. shudder

We’ll take a deeper look at fabrics, more fun tools, zippers, snaps, interfacing, and curved seams.