Most beginners make the mistake of pressing when the project is done – less do they know that it should be the other way around. Almost all sewing experts would agree that the need to press as-you-go is a must; however, many quilters and new garment sewists still don’t realize the difference it can make in the final outcome.
Why It Really Matters
Basically, pressing makes your quilt block come together more accurately, without puckering or pleating. It makes your garments look handmade, rather than homemade. Also, it helps pattern pieces fit together as expected and gives a look of professionalism to everything you make, whether it’s a jacket, a mini quilt, a handbag or bed-sized quilt.
What Tools You Can Additionally Use
Aside from the fact that you need to have an iron and ironing board, there are various tools out there that can help your pressing be more effective and easier.
Spray Bottle with Water
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Contrary to popular belief, giving your fabrics a light spray and letting it sit for a few seconds before going for the press can actually remove stubborn wrinkles. In fact, this is far better than bit of steaming. You can’t tell why, but it definitely works well.
Spray Starch or Starch Alternative
(Picture from www.thesewingloftblog.com)
If haven’t knew yet, spraying starch makes sewing chiffon to canvas doable. When working with slippery, soft fabrics, spraying starch can keep you sane. It gives body to otherwise flimsy fabrics and washes right out. If you don’t have an adequate spraying start with you, there are plenty of great alternatives out in the market. But, of course, as you go along, you need to stick to one brand/product to keep the results consistent.
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You’ll surely love a good press cloth for final presses, so use them as often as you can, especially when dealing with wool or silk. You can use 12″ x 12″ squares of muslin. Moreover, one of the great things about press cloths is that if your iron is a little dirty, that will transfer to the cloth instead of your project. Many have had the unfortunate experience of finding dirty bits at the seam joints only after a quilt top has been sewn together. The experience was enough to remind them how important a clean iron and a press cloth can be.
(Picture from www.thetextilespaceshop.com)
For garment sewists, this should be your new best friend. Using a tailor’s ham makes all the difference in getting a nice crisp finish on bust darts, booty darts, sleeve heads, hoods, and any other curved spot you are trying to press. The ham lets your fabric fold around it and keeps from getting any of those tell-tale puckers and misplaced pressing marks that are evidence of trying to press curves on a flat surface. Go and treat yourself – get one.
(Picture from www.boisterousmama.com)
This little wooden tool may look so simple, but hey, it does come in handy. One trick to getting nice, flat seams is to press and let it cool while being held in that position. This can be pretty tricky and hot on the hand, though. Instead of just pressing your seam or hem right away, you must put first the clapper on it and let it cool. Doing this is critical when sewing with stubborn fabrics (like wool and denim) and can make or break the finished look of garments. When working with varied substrates, it helps set them in position whereas they tend to fight with each other.