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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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Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Handy sewing hint of the day #6

Even more on pressing.

There is a lot to say on this issue and I am sure during my regular 2:45 a.m. wake-ups  I will keep remembering more to talk about.

Just pressing seams is huge.

It is entirely possible to ruin your project by pressing mistakes. I should know.

Couple of things.

First of it is important to remember that underneath that seam is a seam allowance. Press a seam flat from the right side and there is a good chance that you will press in ridges representing your seam allowances, on either side of the stitching line. IMO opinion this can make your garment look sort of worn out even before it has been worn.

So what can you do?

First thing is to press from the wrong side. Before you press the seam open, press it as you have sewn it to the side and flat, to impede the stitches, then press that seam open.

From the wrong side.

To avoid the seam ridge thing you can lay some paper strips under the seam allowances, between the seam allowances and the garment to insulate the garment from the bulk.

You can do this with long brown paper strips or envelopes. That's what I use envelopes, but I have to tell you not to use any old ones with writing on them.

I have personally, me, ironed in a return address into some nice silk.

The other way, and probably faster, is to lay the seam over a seam roll and press just along the stitching line. Here is my seam roll:

Because a seam roll is round once you lay your seam on it the seam allowances will be lifted from the garment fabric and won't be pressed into it:

Now of course you can buy a seam roll, they are filled with hardwood sawdust, or you can improvise. I have been using a half done roll of paper towel here in the rv, and have used some of those heavy cardboard rolls they have in fabric store for rolling fabric when I had to at home.

And of course the heavy cardboard or sawdust will amplify the effect of your iron and give you a nice  clean press.


Seattle Sews said...

Thank you for publishing this tip. So few people know how important pressing is to sewing! My mother was a sewing teacher who gave me not just a seam roll, but also a wide wooden dowel (5/8 inch diameter, 12 inches long
) to use for pressing a seam. Works great!

Maureen Clayton said...

Thanks for getting the pressing word out there. I see so many homemade /cheap looking garments presented to the world . I'm sorry to say it's due mostly to the lack of proper pressing during construction. Why people do this is beyond me!!! Or heaven forbid- they don't press out the wrinkles before wearing. Razor sharp creases may not be vogue currently but grunge was a very short lived thing of the 90's.

Janee said...

Loving these posts! Pressing is soooo important - and testing every step before blythely using a technique on the actual garment is essential! Sometimes you do need to use the paper strips even on a seam roll - I've had to repress seams on silk shantung after discovering "railroad tracks" visible from the outside. The serged edge finish on my seam allowances went right through using just the seam roll!