I know you’re probably thinking that ironing is probably an old fashioned pastime that your grandmother use to do because internet wasn’t around yet. I’m here to tell you that ironing is alive and well and still done in fashion designer’s studios across the globe! It’s one of the not so glamorous things to do in the fashion industry but it’s necessary to create good quality clothing! If you’re guilty of skipping over pressing and ironing during the sewing process then take a minute to keep reading before you start your next project.
In today's world we'd rather be doing something else instead of ironing our clothing. The days of ironing bed sheets and your entire wardrobe are OVER! Thank goodness we don't have that kind of pressure anymore. Now we let the dryer do the ironing and if we happen to forget the laundry in the dryer we just hit the start button again to unwrinkled them. Right? Caught you! I knew you were guilty! Heck I’m guilty too! Trust me I don’t want to look like I just rolled out of bed but I’m also not about to iron an entire basket of clothing. I also have my limits!
Okay so back to ironing and pressing and why is has to be done. Pressing is a vital step in the sewing process. Believe it or not ironing elevates the quality of the garment. It the difference between professional garment construction vs amateur sewing. You’re probably cringing at the idea of standing at an ironing board already. I know! I know! You might have flashbacks of grandma ironing and starching clothes all day long, but don’t run away from it. Stop! Take a deep breath… and discover the magic of ironing! Okay, all joking aside. Seriously, for the love of sewing buy yourself a new iron and plug it in! Throw away anything that wasn’t manufactured in this decade! It could potentially be a fire hazard and that’s not something to joke about.
So you might be wondering what the difference between ironing and pressing are right? In simple terms it basically comes down to this; ironing gets the wrinkles out while pressing tightens the thread and sets pleats, folds, shapes, etc. I tell students that if they hate ironing then they might want to reconsider sewing or being a fashion designer all together. If you’re reading this and you happen to be an aspiring designer, in the early years of your career you’ll be doing a lot of ironing and sewing before you’re able to hire help. When you do hire extra help guess what you’ll be doing? You’ll be teaching someone else how to sew and iron your designs. Make sure you create good habits for yourself and do it right because in the future your brand’s reputation will be in someone else’s hands.
So to help ease you into pressing and ironing, I have listed some things to keep in mind:
•Do you get pin holes in your fabric? Pressing will seal those tiny pin holes, especially if you use steam! (FYI not all fabrics can handle steam though)
• Pressing will open up seams and helps the thread meld into the fabric
• Use a piece of scrap material to test the heat before you place your garment under the iron. Using this technique will keep from burning or scorching your material.
• Invest in a Teflon shoe/iron shoe to control the heat pressing down on your fabric
• Use a piece of fabric such as muslin or a pressing cloth to prevent dripping, wet or burns marks. You’ll be glad you did this when you forget to reduce the setting on your iron and you go to press a delicate fabric
• Make sure your ironing board is well padded to avoid grill marks on your fabric. You can purchase packaged padding at your local fabric store and trim it to your ironing board surface! Super easy and it takes a few minutes to do.
• You always want to press a seam before you sew another seam, especially if you have connecting seams or if they cross each other. If you try to press them after you have finished sewing you will find yourself disappointed with the result. It’s also harder to press seams at the end.
• Consider buying some pressing tools to help with the process such a tailor's ham or seam roll. Professional pressing tools make a world of difference and you'll love the results especially on darts and curved seams!
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