If you are like me, you never iron any clothes! My poor husband nicely asks me to please iron his shirts, I just don’t do it! That is a wife fail area in our marriage. He has just decided to iron his shirts himself if he wants them ironed! But when it comes to making clothes I am a stickler for ironing. When you are constructing your garment, pressing is important because it makes seams, darts, pleats, etc, look so much nicer. If you don’t press any of your seams after sewing, the outside seam line will hang all wonky like.
Now that we decided it is important to press when making clothes, what and how do we press??
What to Press
Before cutting out your pattern pieces, give your fabric a nice press. That way it will lay correctly for you to cut out your pieces. Bunches or wrinkles can alter the shape of the piece cut and throw off a pattern.
You want to make sure you press you seams. The pattern will often tell you what and how to press. For example it may say “press seam open”, “press seam to one side.” Like I stated in previous posts, I serge most all of my seams wether they fray or not, so I normally always press my seam to one side. You can also serge each edge of the seam to finish it, while still allowing yourself to press the seam open. I tend to just serge both together and press to one side. It is totally up to you. Just play around with it and see what results you like better!
This will not only make the hems crisp and great looking, it will also make hemming a whole lot easier. Just press and pin as you go! I have found using the Dritz Ezy- Hem Gauge is a great tool for making hemming a lot easier.
Press darts toward one side, usually downward.
Facings, Finished Neck/Arm Holes:
Pressing facings is a must to get a great look. Pressing will help hold the facing in the right spot. Pressing the seam allowance of a neck/arm hole toward the garment bodice will help it lay nicely.
How to Press
When we iron our clothes, we iron from side to side, up and down, pretty much moving constantly. To press when sewing, you want to hold the iron still for a couples seconds, then lift and move to the next spot. You will want to test your fabric on a tiny scrap piece to make sure the iron won’t melt/ discolor/ etc. the fabric. You may need to play around with the different settings on your iron to yield the best results. Too high or too low heat may cause problems, or not press correctly. Just play around until you find the right setting for the specific fabric you are using. You may also want to use a pressing cloth on some fabrics. I just use an old T-shirt back I cut up. You can use a muslin fabric, cotton, or whatever you desire to keep the fabric you are working with safe! Steaming will also be very beneficial to pressing. It will further help iron out any wrinkles or problem areas and make things lay even nicer!
Handy Pressing Tools
Pressing Ham: This will help you press curved seams like neck holes, darts, shoulders, etc at a more natural angle. It is easier than ironing flat, and provides the best results on curved areas.
Seam Roll: This is like the pressing ham, only it is long and skinny for thinks like sleeves. You could also roll up a towel tightly if you don’t want to buy this!
Tailor’s Clapper: This will help you achieve perfect very crips seams and hems. I bought one for jean making and it is pretty cool. It is so great at aiding in pressing, you may not even need to pin if using a clapper!
When pressing try and keep your body parts away from the iron! Just speaking from experience, pressing yourself is not a great idea 😉 I can’t tell you how many times I have burned myself when sewing :0. Or how many times I forgot to turn off the iron. Try and get in a habit of unplugging that baby as soon as you are done using it!
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