Pressing Tools: Why My Garments Never Look Home-Sewn!

12:00 AM

Because of Pressing!

Before we even start this, let's be clear on the difference between pressing vs. ironing.  Even though the words are used interchangeably, they are entirely different techniques.  Ironing is a back and forth  sliding motion, used to smooth wrinkles.  Pressing is when you place the hot iron on the fabric, hold it there and then remove it.  Your goal with pressing is to not move the around around, but to press a seam in place.

One of my pet peeves with sewing is those that don't press as they sew... wait to "iron" the garment when they are finished, yet wonder why their hand sewn clothes look homemade.  Well, that's why!  Pressing as you sew is a real thing and what you should be consistently doing!  It's just as important as accurately stitching your garment.

Just like with any craft, for the best results you have to have specialized tools.  I've been buying tools of the trade for years.  But it really doesn't take a large investment.  I use a gravity feed iron.  Mine is the Consew CES-300 Silver Star.  It was all of 100 bucks.  I've had Rowentas that were more expensive than this, that lasted half the time and pressed half as well.  I'm a major advocate of a professional ironing system.  It makes a world of difference.

A Tailor's ham is a must, and it's used for pressing any shaped or curved area.  This is what you use to press your bust darts and any other curved seams.

A seam roll is what I always use when pressing seams open.  You get a smooth seam on the outside without the seam allowance impression in the fabric.

A point presser clapper.  This is used to push out and turn sharp corners and the bottom part is used to flatten seams, folds and creases.  It's perfect for flattening thicker fabric and to beat down those collars and facings.

And speaking of collars, a small wooden point presser is used to get all the way in on the collar and lapel points.

For me, these are the essential pressing tools.  If you use these throughout the construction of your garment, it will NEVER need to go to the cleaners for a final press after you're finished.

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10 comments

  1. CAN I GET A AMEN!!!!!! Erica, I posted about this too, you have to press. It will enhance your garment and like you said make it look more professional, pressing does WONDERS. I sometimes think I press too much as I am sewing but that's just me, it has to be done!!

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    1. I'm completely guilty of overpressing. I have to watch myself. But it's that serious to me.

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  2. AMEN - It took me a while to finally figure this out as I just wanted to get the garment completed in the shortest amount of time possible. With age comes wisdom and perfection. I am happy to report that I too am now an avid presser. I do think I am now ready for a gravity-fed iron - it seems I go through Rowentas on an annual basis. I will check out the Consew. Thanks for the post.

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  3. I'm one of the folks that use to use pressing and ironing interchangeably....lol. Love the new teaching direction that you are taking the blog. xx

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  4. I'm one of the folks that use to use pressing and ironing interchangeably....lol. Love the new teaching direction that you are taking the blog. xx

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  5. I completely agree with you about pressing as you go. There's no cheating here for me. I've had my seam roll and ham since the 80' and they are still good and firm. I started adding other pressing tools when I started back in sewing 7 or so years ago. I wouldn't want to be without my collection and there are still a few more things I would like to get.

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  6. I have all the pressing tools and some I made myself. It's mega important! I'm with you on the Rowenta. I'm a glutten for punishment. I dropped my G-feed and it broke (along with my heart) and my dumb self went out and got another Rowenta (#4) and it's starting to leak! Sigh! That will be my last!

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    1. I love my gravity feed. When my husband dropped my first one, he immediately asked where I got it from and ordered a new one!

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  7. Thank you for the great informative post! I have a little question: I got all of the above mentioned tools except for the point presser clapper (was quite expensive at my local fabric store). I got a clapper though as a separate tool and the small point turner, do you think I still need to get the big one or the ones I have can do the same job? Thank you!

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    1. I actually use the clapper more than I use the point press on top. I think you're good.

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