Before we get into the seam roller tips, I just have to show you my little bunny. I mean seriously, he must be a bunny because only bunnies are this cute, right??!
Ok, now we can get to business.
Many of you know I use this seam roller when I sew. In fact, I use it almost every time I sew. A few reasons why I use this specific seam roller is that it is only an inch or so wide and as you can see in the photo, the wooden roller part is rounded and not flat. This keeps the fabric from getting distorted as I use it. Many times people see my seam roller and think they can just use any old brayer or pastry roller. But believe me, it's just not the same.
When I paper piece, as I sew sections of a pattern, I use my seam roller to press instead of getting up and pressing with an iron after each addition of fabric.
In the top left corner photo, I have sewn the first two pieces of fabric to the pattern, then in the top right corner photo, I press the seam open by opening the fabrics and rolling the seam roller over the seam.
I then sew the next piece of fabric onto the section and turn and press that seam open. At that point, I starch and press the section with an iron and trim the section up as you can see in the final photo.
I was asked if using a seam roller means I don't iron. Not at all! As I explained, I use it to make the addition of fabrics quicker as I paper piece, but then at the end, I starch and press.
Next, I use the seam roller to open seams as I sew, especially when sewing blocks together as I assemble quilts.
Because it doesn't distort or pull the fabric (because of the rounded roller), I don't have to worry about not being able to match seams up easily as I sew the rows together.
I open all the seams with the roller because I like the way an open seam appears flat from the front of the block instead of having that stairstep look.
So basically, I sew the blocks together in rows, opening and seam rolling each block seam with the seam roller after the row is sewn together. Then, as I sew the rows of blocks together, I will seam roll each long seam open. Once the rows are all sewn together, I will starch and press the entire quilt with an iron. The initial seam rolling step will make the chore of pressing with the iron much quicker.
The only drawback I've had with my seam roller is that over time, the seam roller may start to drop dark residue from the metal roller bar rubbing against the metal frame. To make sure this doesn't happen to you (it's no fun trying to get the residue off your fabric!), use a drop of sewing machine oil on the the metal bar. One drop on the right and one on the left. Once you've put the oil onto the roller bar, roll the seam roller several times and then wipe away the extra oil. This will keep the roller from dropping residue and you'll notice it rolls a lot smoother after you do this.
I hope this helps!