Quilting 101: 4 Tips for Getting Super-Flat Seams

Quilting 101: 4 Tips for Getting Super-Flat Seams

How many times have you pressed your quilt blocks and then found that the seams popped back up a few hours later? It’s a common struggle for quilters, especially on blocks that have a lot of intricate pieces.

Getting super-flat seams in your quilt top makes it easier to quilt and creates a more professional finish. That’s why we’re sharing four tips for getting seams to lay flat. There’s a bit of a science to it…

1. Stiffen Your Fabric with Starch

Last week, we wrote all about the fabric starch debate. Some quilters love it; others don’t. However, it can help you get flatter seams.

When applied to fabric before pressing, starch temporarily stiffens the fabric and makes it easier to manipulate. It also prevents some fraying and helps seams to stay where you press them. The best results are seen when your fabric is pretreated with starch before cutting your pieces and then additional starch is applied when pressing seams.

2. Use 50wt Thread for Piecing

In addition to fabric starch, using thin thread for piecing can reduce the bulk in your seams and help them to lay flat better. We recommend using Aurifil 50wt Mako cotton thread. It is ideal for piecing because it is strong, ultra-fine, and virtually lint free. Once you try it, you’ll never use another type of thread for quilting again! Aurifil thread comes in a variety of colors so you can always match your project.

3. Press Seams on a Wool Mat

A wool pressing mat is an essential tool for getting flat seams in your quilt blocks. The wool absorbs heat from your iron and transfers it to the underside of your block so it’s like you’re pressing from both sides at the same time. Plus, it provides a non-slip surface for pressing, and you don’t need to use spray starch or steam.

Unlike typical ironing boards, a wool pressing mat's soft texture will not leave marks on your fabric. The extra cushion also helps keep your blocks from getting stretched out of shape.

4. Set Seams with a Quilter’s Clapper

A quilter’s clapper is a sanded piece of wood you can place on top of your quilt seams after pressing to keep them flat as they cool. The weight of the clapper does the work for you. It requires less effort than other pressing tools and eliminates the fear of scorching.

Love Sew just released a NEW quilter’s clapper. It is square so you can press larger areas at once. The handle also doubles as a wool pressing bar so you can open even the most stubborn seams.

If you struggle to get your quilt seams to lay flat, we hope you’ll give some of the products in this post a try. Do you have any other tips to share about getting quilt seams to stay flat? What are your favorite tools? Let us know in the comments below.

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Martha Ann Russell

I love reading your blogs. Great tips and very helpful! Thank you, I look forward to the next one.

Marie Angus

Where on a spool of thread do you see the weight of that thread?

Donna Viar

Very good advice. I had not thought about starch.


" We recommend using Aurifil 50wt Mako cotton thread. It is ideal for piecing because it is strong, ultra-fine, and virtually lint free." — i will check into it as i noticed alot of lint using some threads (very helpful info).
Also informative was using starch spray and someone commented, using a starch pen which was new to me.


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