You do not need an iron to finger press; only a finger! Sometimes you will not want to get up from your machine to press a little seam. So you put the piece on the table and using your fingernail, you press hard on the seam. Hand quilters can also use this method. It works quite well on small seams but shouldn’t be used for long seams like borders. Finger pressing can distort the fabric if not done properly.
Quilters like to use finger pressing when they want to press a seam quickly after sewing. Finger pressing works great for short seams on the straight of grain or cross grain. When seams fall on the bias, extra care is important if finger pressing. Multiple layer seams can be finger pressed, but it is probably best to use forego the fingers and use an iron.
In this video, you will learn about finger pressing. There are some seams that you don’t have to press with an iron; a quick finger pressing will do.
NOTE: to enlarge the video, click the PLAY button, then click the full-screen icon at the bottom right of the video.
TRANSCRIPT: Finger Pressing – Encyclopedia
To finger press, open your piece work and use your nail to press the seam. This works best when you have a short straight of grain or cross grain seam. I like when I’m sitting next to my sewing machine and I pick up a piece like this and I don’t feel like going to my iron. So I take, flip it over and use my finger to press. Now this is a bias seam, or seam that’s on the bias, so I need to be a little bit more careful, because if I pull or press too hard, you’re going to get some problems there. This seam is also a short seam that’s on the straight of grain. The difference from this seam from one of the original seams is there’s only two pieces of fabric on this seam. Here we’ve got a number of layers at this seam where i’m going to have to press and also on this side, there is a number of layers. So it’s okay to press a seam like this with your finger, open it up and press down to open, but I am a little hesitant to press like this, unless I’m in a hurry, it might go, but I’ll possibly have problems later on at these two intersections where there’s lots of fabric. So this seam is problem better to press with an iron, but okay to finger press. So let me recap. The best seam to finger press are these short straight of grain or cross grain seams.