I’ve pressed both ways, used both polyester and cotton, and I have my opinions on both. I use all of the above, depending on the quilt.
As a longarm quilter, my preference for seam pressing is whatever method works for you, as long as you avoid bulky spots. Quilts with lots of complicated piecing may require a few seams pressed open, even when you prefer pressing to one side. I press all my seams open because I like the look and because machine quilting stabilizes the quilt and allows for open seams. Most of my customers press to one side for most seams.
Just keep in mind that my longarm machine’s foot rides just above the quilt top, so a bulky seam means that I have to raise my foot for the whole quilt. That’s the number one cause of broken threads, which means a lot more work for me.
I use cotton thread for piecing and polyester thread for quilting my own quilts. The quality is very good, and the quilting is much more durable. Polyester stretches far more than cotton, which means you won’t hear popping seams when your quilt gets used. I can also use matte polyester that looks just like cotton and blends into your quilt top or I can use thread with a slight sheet so the quilting stands out a bit more. Or, if you prefer, I can use cotton (there is an extra charge because it requires more labor and cost).
This is a mystery quilt I made a few months ago at Quilter’s Dream in Loveland. I quilted it using the viola quilt design, and I love how it compliments the border fabric. The blocks are 12″ square and the quilt is about 70″ square.
To be fair, she’ll sleep on anything that’s on the couch in my office, including books and papers. But she’s happier on a quilt. Who isn’t?
My mom brought me a stack of hand-dyed fat quarters that she bought years ago and no longer liked. She also brought a large piece of batik that she bought online, and the colors weren’t what she expected. She thought the fabrics were ugly, but I could use them to make a practice quilt. I didn’t see anything wrong with them, and decided to use them all in a quilt from Debbie Mumm’s Quick Weekend Quilts book.
I think this quilt shows that fabrics you don’t like can make a beautiful quilt!
I bought two Posh Pumpkins layer cakes a couple of years ago, and last year I got two Hello Fall layer cakes to go with them–all from Moda designer Sandy Gervais. I like mixing layer cakes from the same designer. They almost always go well together and add more variety. In fact, I have a summer quilt planned using several Fig Tree & Co. layer cakes.
I adapted one of the large quilts from Schnibbles Times Two to make this king size quilt, and I have some layer cake squares left over to make a table runner and potholders. It went together really fast, which is great because that means I’ll get this one on our bed before fall is over!
You can see in the following picture that the outside borders are a little wavy. This often happens when I piece the borders. Once I got the quilting done, the waviness disappeared. They could actually be a tad more wavy and you wouldn’t notice once the quilt is washed because I don’t pre-shrink my fabric.
Here’s a video that will help you apply borders properly: Check it out! I used this technique to apply the inner border (cream colored), and it turned out great. Pieced borders are bit more tricky because they need to line up a certain way. I removed some fullness by increasing some of the seam allowances a tad, and I should have taken the time to tweak them a little more.