Pressing tools for sewing: what to buy & where.

Pressing tools for successful sewing

Sewing materials - pressing tools: the shopping guide.Sewing materials - pressing tools: the shopping guide.

Bonjour bonjour! Today’s post will be all about pressing tools.
Pressing is one of the most important tasks when sewing. You’ll see that actually most of your sewing time will be dedicated to pressing and you’ll end up sitting at your desk and working with your sewing machine for less time than expected!
Fear not! Today I will share with you some tips about the best pressing tools you can use to make your pressing-life a little easier!

As you can imagine, the most important tool when it comes to pressing is the iron.  You really don’t want to go cheap for that, trust me. A good iron makes all the difference between efficient and stress-free pressing and… a mess!
Look for a good reliable steam iron and you’ll be grateful for your investment. I have no specific brand to suggest, as it also depends on what’s available in the place you live, but the price usually tells the story so avoid the cheapest solutions: they won’t last. What you want to have is an iron with a good power, where you can regulate temperature and, possibly, the amount of steam.

If you have some money to invest on a more advanced ironing system, then you can opt for an iron with a steam generator. Mine is the Rowenta pro perfect eco. This model is a few years old and new versions are now available, like this one.  It’s a bit costy, but it’s definitely worth the price. Either you pick this specific brand or another one you like, here are a few features you may want to have in your steam geneator. First, you want it to be fast. It usually takes only few minutes for my machine to be on and ready to go from when I switch it on… you don’t want to wait when you’re sewing and don’t want your iron to be on all the time either!
Second, make sure the water tank can be easily refilled while the iron is still on. If I run out of water while pressing, I just have to refill the tank and press the “restart” button, and the iron will be ready again.
Third, choose an ironing system where you can set both the temperature and the steam power (separately). Other nice features are the “eco” mode to save energy, the “calc away system” to easily remove water scale and the narrow iron tip that offers higher precision for pressing small areas or garment details.

Iron

I would say the ironing system is the most expensive thing in your pressing arsenal. Then you need just a few other things, definitely much more affordable!
First, you really want to have a few pressing cloths. These are super useful for both pressing delicate fabrics and applying interfacing.
I use two different pressing cloths, depending on the task. A piece of cotton muslin will be just perfect for pressing and for applying interfacing (I really suggest you to use a pressing cloth for that as there’s a good chance sooner or later you’ll end up with an interfaced iron and you really don’t want that – ask me how I know!). The second type of pressing cloth I use a lot is silk organza. Can you believe you can actually use silk for pressing? That’s crazy, right? Well, trust me, not only it works but it’s perfect as it’s a see-through fabric and you can actually see what and where you’re pressing.

Last thing you want to have is a tailor’s ham.tailor’s ham is a small cushion you can use to press over curved elements, like a dart. It allows to keep that part nice and curvy without forcing it to lay flat on the ironing board. This will give your garments a much more professional look, believe it or not!

There are other pressing tools that are a bit more task-specific but they can make your life a lot easier! Two examples are the clapper and point presser, often combined in a single tool, they can be used to press areas that are difficult to reach otherwise (e.g. corners, collars, etc.). This video shows how to use them. Another solution, this time DIY, is a wooden cylinder, something you can find in some hardware stores or, in general, where they sell wood products. It just has to be a cylinder with about 1″ diameter made out of a solid hard wood. This helps when  pressing tube-like small areas, e.g. for pressing the seams open. For instance it is particularly useful when applying all-in-one facings onto necklines. You simply slide it into the “tunnel” formed by the facing and the garment at the shoulder and then you can easily press both the neckline seams and the armhole seams. This way your facing will beautifully and perfectly fold to the inside.
More generally, wood is the perfect material for pressing as it takes away heat from the fabric which, once cooled down, will better hold the shape.
Uh, and don’t forget to add a little sleeve ironing board to your shopping list, those are really useful!

Tailor's ham and pressing cloths
WRAP-UP

That’s all for today’s post about pressing tools. And how about you? What kind of iron do you usually use for pressing? Do you have any other uncommon pressing tool you use for specific tasks? Have you tried to make any DIY pressing tool? Leave a comment below! I’d be happy to hear your experience.

We’re almost done with the series on sewing materials: next up some other useful tools you may want to have in your sewing arsenal. See you there!
Ciao ciao!

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