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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


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Monday, March 7, 2016

Handy sewing hint of the day #5:

And on with the pressing.

Lots of folks get wound up with an iron, and a good one, heavy and with a burst of steam is important (and hopefully without that annoying automatic shut off function that they all seem to have these days, in domestic irons a least) and these features are certainly are useful.

The truth is that pressing well really depends on good pressing tools, as much or more than the iron you use.

These pressing tools need to be made out of hardwood, or in the case of seam rolls and hams, packed with hardwood sawdust. Pine won't work because it will leave sap on your fabric.

Wood, and paper for that matter, has the ability to catch and hold heat and moisture and return it to the fabric. This enormously increases the pressing power of your iron.

The first tool you need is a tailor's clapper, essentially a long, smooth piece of hardwood that you press down on a seam or hem or edge you really want a hard, sharp edge on (think military crease, think gabardine or denim hems).

Shoot your fabric full of steam and then press it hard with some real weight behind it with your clapper. Don't move until the wood and the fabric go cold.

Clappers are often combined with "point presses" miniature Barbie doll ironing boards mounted on top, that are useful for pressing little seams like collars and cuffs that you just can't get at with an ordinary iron.

I couldn't function without my clapper/point presser.

Here is what it looks like:

And here it is in action, pressing the long seam of a collar open:

In response to questions here is an example of a point presser/clapper:


Anonymous said...

Hadn't realized why pine was inappropriate for these tools, (sap - the pine not me) OF COURSE now it seems so sensible. As always thank you!


Carol in Denver said...

Some sewing tools can be improvised, such as a rolled-up magazine covered with heavy wool for a seam roll, but a point presser has no substitute that I know of, and it's essential for -- pressing points. Yours looks hand made; is there a story behind it?

Margaret Delong said...

Thanks for the info- I never really knew what the clapper was for!

I think I'm the absent- minded person the auto shut-off was designed for... If my iron didn't auto shut off it's probably be left on for days!