Ironing your hand-sewn clothing is what takes your sewing from fair to fabulous. I’ve seen so many me-made garments that look poorly made due to incomplete or poor pressing. It’s truly a skill that every sewist needs in their repertoire and the right tools can make your sewing look professional.
- This is quite obviously the most essential tool of your ironing arsenal. I recommend purchasing the best you can afford. I’ve used many different brands and I like my Rowenta better than others I’ve used. I like the weight of my iron, how quickly it heats up and how it steams. I’ve also found that some vintage irons are of similar quality.
- Ironing Board
- If you don’t have an ironing board (or the place for one), a table covered with a towel or blanket can also work.
- Spray Bottle
- It’s good to have a bottle of water nearby to soften up the fabric and get the fibers to relax. I like to fill mine with distilled water. Your iron also has this function, but I find a spray bottle to work better.
- Pressing Cloths
- Made of either muslin or silk organza, use these cloths to protect your fabric from the heat of the iron.
- Tailor’s Ham
- Used for pressing curved seams and darts.
- Seam Roll
- Placed inside a sleeve or pant leg, it helps to press seams in hard to reach places without flattening the sleeve or pant leg.
- Tailor’s Clapper
- Presses and flattens fabric without burning or scorching and leaves a long lasting sharp crease.
- Starch (or sizing) is used to keep clothing looking wrinkle-free.
Some of these tools are not yet in my sewing room and I don’t necessarily deem them essential to ironing, but they all help to make ironing your garments easier.
- Sleeve Board
- Useful for ironing sleeves and other hard to reach places.
- Needle Board
- Helpful for pressing fabrics with a deep raised nap like velvet, velveteen and corduroy. It has a needle-like surface that the nap falls so you can steam the fabric without crushing it.
- Point Presser
- These are sometimes included as part of a clapper. Inserted into points to press hard to reach seams.
- Seam Stick
- Presses open seams without leaving iron imprints.
- Cuff Clam
- Tool for steaming and pressing cuffs while keeping their shape.
- Pressing Mitt
- A glove with a padded surface that helps protect your hand from steam and heat while reaching into hard to reach places.
- Iron Cleaners
- It’s good to have a cleaner for both the heat plate and the water reserve container. I use natural homemade cleaners to clean mine.
- Steam Press
- Quickly steams by applying pressure and pressing a garment quickly.
- I was always told to use distilled water in my iron, but the instructions for my Rowenta suggests using tap water instead. I like to add a little lemon oil to my water container.
- I use my bamboo point turner in place of a point presser.
- There are sewing patterns for pressing tools and accessories from the “Big 4”.