About me

My photo
I am a mother, a new grandmother, and a teacher. But whatever happens in my life, I keep sewing. I have worked as a political communicator and now as a teacher in my formal life. I have also written extensively on sewing. I have been a frequent contributor and contributing editor of Threads magazine and the Australian magazine Dressmaking with Stitches. My first book Sew.. the garment-making book of knowledge will be published in May 2018 and is available for pre-order from Amazon


Follow by Email

Follow me on Instagram


Thursday, March 3, 2016

Handy sewing hint of the day #3

Time to talk about pressing.

Old school says you should spend as much time at the ironing board as the machine and that is correct.

A few handy hints on this one.

First of all a pressing cloth is your friend. You can spray water on it to augment the steam of a domestic iron, and it will keep you from applying that terrible shine to dark fabrics, or otherwise over pressing/burning other fabrics

But before we go any further the first thing you need to know is :don't ever buy or use something sewing stores sell as "pressing cloths". These things are about as useful as vinyl tiles laying on your fabric - way too heavy and the heat just won't get through.

What you need for general pressing is something opaque so you have a vague idea of what you doing and can sort of see if you have the right area under it.

I personally like cotton organza (something similar is often sold as woven sew-in interfacing - make sure this is not fusible of course), some people use old worn out handkerchiefs or pillowslips but since the Depression is over folks tend not to save that stuff anymore.

I used to have gauze cloth diapers from the kids and used those sometimes but they are hard to get nowadays, too bad, they were great on babies' bums and great for pressing. Birdseye gauze, primo stuff.

If you work with a lot of velveteen, velvet, (and good luck to you too) or corduroy it is also useful to have a pressing cloth under the fabric (lay the fabric nap side down) to support the nap so it doesn't get crushed. A velour type cotton hand towel is idea.

To be continued.


LisaB said...

Hi, Barbara. I think it's great that you are posting tips. I'm sure the new sewers will learn lots and the rest of us just may pick up a tip that we'd never heard before.

Did you mean to say that a press cloth should be somewhat transparent rather than opaque? From context I think you meant it should not be opaque. I often use a piece of white silk organza.

velosewer said...

Plain cotton gauze have never let me down - ever.

celkalee said...

I totally agree with pressing and using a press cloth. I do have a large collection of antique linens, past their prime, that I use for press cloths. I am also a fan of Best Press for cotton and linen fabrics.

Your prior hint about building the item in units plays well with pressing. It is much easier to press flat than in 3 dimensions.

As an example, I recently attended a quilters retreat. It was a large group and irons were limited. As a result, one teacher recommended a 'hand iron.' It is a wooden tool with a beveled end that one can use to hand iron a seam. Very popular with crazy quilters working with delicate fabrics. Our project was an intricate design with tiny pieces and many seams. The fabric had to be fussy cut for the design. As soon as I have time I will be tearing it apart, reassembling the pieces and pressing...with an iron with heat and steam, to complete it. There is NO comparison to a good press. (ps, I do bring my own iron to these events for convenience, well so did about 50 other people and we kept blowing the circuits in the event center of the casino! Not appreciated because the slot machines kept going down and had to be rebooted. Ahh, the adventures of a quilter!!)

Judith Newman said...

50 or more years ago my father regularly used to play poker at the Lord Nelson Hotel in Halifax with a gang of friends. The evening include a snack if some sort which was served with linen napkins. The napkins often made it home in his pocket. I inherited a large pile of them probably 40 years ago. I've been using them as press cloths - dampened, they create a wonderful sharp pressed hemline or crease. If you come across some, grab them - they're superb press cloths!

Julie said...

I think you mean the cloth should be translucent?