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October 2014
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In Sewing……Pressing Matters

To achieve the professional look in sewing, it is absolutely essential to press as you sew. In addition to the iron and ironing board, it is helpful to have pressing cloths and a tailor’s ham.

Fiber, texture and thickness of the fabric determines how the fabric is pressed. Fiber content dictates the temperature of the iron, and texture dictates the method of handling the fabric.  The iron must be set at the right temperature for the fabric content  Always try a test swatch before pressing your garment.

Press each piece and seam as the garment is constructed. Use pressing strokes – an up and down lifting motion of the iron.  This avoids stretching or distorting sections of the garment.  Steam can shape the fabric and eliminate fullness.  To set creases and press permanent press fabrics, use a press cloth.

Pressing the seams during the sewing process makes it easier to sew the seams that will “cross” any of the seams already sewn. Gently open the seams and press flat.  You will save time if you sew several seams, then press them all at once, before moving on to the next step.

Always press on the wrong side to guard against shine. Remember not to over-press. This results when too hot an iron is used, leaving the iron in one place too long, too much moisture or using an inadequate press cloth.

Remove pins and basting stitches before pressing. Pins mar the fabric and soleplate of the iron; basting stitches may leave an imprint.

When pressing the details of a garment, press the entire piece and not just the area around the dart, or particular detail you are working on. When the entire garment is finished, give it another pressing to get out any wrinkles that may have formed while you were sewing.

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Pattern Maker, Instructor & Author

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