Poor pressing techniques can make almost any garment look homemade. Let’s face it, we spend all that time fitting and constructing the garment we want it to look great. Let’s get back to basics with Pressing 101. This blog posting is adapted from my Pressing Matters seminar presented at Creative Stitches and Crafting Alive. Let me share a few good basics I learned along the way – giving particular credit to the “Queen of Pressing” - Cecelia Podolak.
It is import to press as you go. You simply cannot press construction details properly after the fact. Take your time and press at each step of the way remembering to let the fabric cool before moving it. There is a difference between pressing and ironing. Pressing is an up and down motion and ironing is a back and forward motion. Ironing during construction can actually stretch your fabric. Always press DON'T iron. Construction pressing can be broken down into 3 basic steps.
Construction Pressing - easy as 1-2-3
Setting the stitch - Press seams flat together. Stitches will meld with woven yarns smoothing out any puckers. No press cloth is required as you are pressing from the wrong side.
Under pressing – Open the seam and press from the wrong side. No press cloth is required. Use a seam roll or seam stick to prevent imprint. A clapper will provide a sharp press on those difficult to press fabrics. It is important to let the fabric dry before moving otherwise it will wrinkle and stretch. You can use a dauber to help control the moisture on wool.
Top pressing - Pressing from the right side of the fabric but important to use a press cloth. This step is often forgotten but will give you that professional finish.
Always create a TEST sample - you may need to vary heat, moisture, pressure & press cloth to get the desired results! Consider these questions:
My favorite pressing equipment (as pictured above):
I always recommend investing in good equipment. Hardwood pressing equipment can be costly but as I tell my clients, it is a life time investment. Never use tools made of soft wood as mositure may draw sap to the surface and ruin your fabric.
Next blog post - how to make a press board
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