The Importance of Pressing when Making Clothes

by | Oct 19, 2021

A lot of newbie students don’t realise the importance of pressing when making clothes. I have many reluctant ironers join my classes. And who can blame them? You can buy many clothes in the shops that can just be washed and worn crease free.

But accurate and careful pressing is one of the easiest things you can do to really up level your sewing.

Pressing is different to ironing. In other words, ironing is the act of smoothing the wrinkles in a garment that has already been made up.

Pressing is pressing the iron down on specific areas of fabric (often a seam) to set the seam and blend the stitches into the fabric. Steam is used to help set and shape the fabric where required. When pressing you should lift the iron and move it rather than sliding along the fabric

A good steam iron and ironing board are essential sewing room tools.

But there are other tools that will help up your pressing game too. So let’s take a look at some of my favourites.

Pressing Cloth

A pressing cloth is used as a protective layer between the fabric and then iron. Firstly this prevents shine forming on fabrics where that might be a risk.

Also useful for protecting the iron/ironing board from interfacing glue.

A pressing cloth should be made of natural fibres to withstand a high temperature. I use cotton muslin in my studio but the open weave could leave a mark on delicate fabric.

Silk organza is the best option for delicate fabrics. Ideally natural or undyed. Above all you don’t have to buy something special, you can use old (smooth) tea towels or bed sheets. Avoid fabrics with any polyester content.

Tailors Ham & Seam Roll

You can buy these or you can make your own fairly easily. In essence, they are firm shapes that you can use to press curves and narrow areas that wouldn’t fit over the ironing board. And they are usually stuffed with wood shavings or cotton fabric scraps.

Click below to watch my Sew Along to make a tailors ham and seam roll.

Sleeve Board

This cute little mini ironing board allows easy access to press sleeves and other narrow parts more easily. So you can place it on top of your regular ironing board to use easily.

The importance of Pressing - Sleeve Board

Tailors Clapper

A Tailors Clapper is made of untreated hardwood. Therefore it is used to absorb the steam and trap the heat in the fabric after pressing with steam. As a result it will give really flat precise seams.

The importance of pressing - clapper

Are these tools that you use in your sewing room? What are you going to use to help you with the importance of pressing?

Watch my video tutorial on pressing bust darts using a tailors ham and also pressing curved seams.

Love & Stitches

Alison xx

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