How to Press a Seam Open Tutorial

Pressing open seam
Steve Gorton / Getty Images
  • 01 of 04

    Getting Started

    Press as it was sewn
    The Spruce / Debbie Colgrove

    Set the temperature on your iron for the fabric you are using. Use the correct temperature because if the iron is too hot it can melt some fibers and ruin your fabric and if the iron is not hot enough, it can't do the intended task properly.

    Pressing tools can help get the job done! Using a press cloth can prevent the iron from causing a sheen on the fabric if you are ironing delicate fabric or repeatedly ironing the same location. Simply place the press cloth between the iron and fabric to protect the fabric from the irons direct heat.  An ironing board or ironing pad is essential to protect the surface under the iron and supply a padded location to press the fabric. Create your own replacement ironing board cover when your original cover is worn, dirty or town.

    Use the iron to set the stitches in the fabric by pressing the seam exactly as it was sewn.

    Turn the fabric over and press it from the bobbin thread side of the fabric.

    When this step is finished, the fabric has been pressed on both sides and the stitches have been set into the fabric.

    Continue to 2 of 4 below.
  • 02 of 04

    Open up the Right Side

    Open from the right side
    The Spruce / Debbie Colgrove

    With the right side of the fabric up so you can see it, open the body of the fabric and coax the layers of fabric open with the tip of the iron on the right side of the seam.

    Press the seam from the right side of the fabric so that the seam is open and flat on the right side of the fabric. The seam allowance will be pressed on the wrong side as you press the right side but that will be addressed in the next step.

    Continue to 3 of 4 below.
  • 03 of 04

    Lay the Seam Allowance Up

    Open from the seam allowance side.
    The Spruce / Debbie Colgrove

    Open the fabric and lay it as flat as possible with the seam allowance up. If the seam allowance is pressed in different directions from pressing the right side of the fabric, press it one direction and then the other so it is smooth.

    Use the tip of the iron to press the seam allowance open and press it well so each seam allowance is on the two sides of the seam.

    Continue to 4 of 4 below.
  • 04 of 04

    Repeat Pressing on Both Sides

    Press from the right side.
    The Spruce / Debbie Colgrove

    Turn the fabric over and press the seam from the right side of the fabric. Repeat pressing both sides until you have a flat seam that blends into the fabric as if it has become part of the fabric. A seam that is pressed well is an important part of having a professional finished result when you have completed the project.