Get pressed for success!…is a very good motto for any seamstress!
Pressing fabric is very different from ironing. One technique requires pressure and the other smoothing. If you took step back in time you would see that a seamstress used a ‘smoothing iron’ to press ladies garments. It was a heavy metal iron that was heated on the stove or by the fire and used to smooth creases out of very elaborate garments. Today we have the advantage of being able to press with a steam iron, heated electrically. A good steam iron can press seams flat and reduce wrinkles.
The secret of a well – made garment is to remember to press each seam or section as you construct your garment. Always practice on a scrap first so you can be sure of the effect of the iron on your fabric. It is also important to use a pressing cloth so that the iron is not pressed directly onto your fabric. This will reduce accidents and the worst case scenario when iron meets fabric and the temperature is too hot. You get that sinking feeling as you lift the iron and your fabric is attached! It is also a good idea to press on the wrong side of the fabric and to iron your seams and darts in the right direction for the best finish possible.
Successful pressing is assisted by some really useful tools.
- A good steam iron
- Ironing board at a good height with cover and metal frame
- Tailor’s ham – especially for children’s clothing, curved seams and darts
- Pressing cloths for delicate fabrics
Taking the time to press each step of the process to complete a garment is such a worthwhile investment. No need to dash away with a ‘smoothing iron’ as the old English nursery rhyme tells us. You can look professional in the garment you made because you were ‘pressed for success’.
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