Pressing is an important part of sewing and is necessary to give your projects a professional finish. With the right pressing tools, you’ll be able to press seams with ease, remove pesky wrinkles from fabric, and make sure everything looks crisp before moving on to the next step in your project.
Some people think a steam iron and ironing board is all you need. While that can be fine when you start out, as you sew more, the right pressing tools can take your sewing to the next level.
The pressing tools you use for sewing will vary depending on what project you are working on or which type of fabric you are using.
Here are some of the most popular and useful pressing tools for sewing.
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A steam iron that produces steam, is a must-have when sewing. The steam helps to remove wrinkles and relax the fabric as you sew it.
Some of the most popular steam irons for sewing are:
- Rowenta DW7180
- Panasonic NI-WL600 Cordless Steam/Dry Iron
- Black and Decker D3030
- Rowenta DW2160 (for a lower priced iron)
2. Ironing Board
Along with a steam iron, you need a surface to press your fabric. While you can use a towel or pressing mat on a bench or table, there are benefits to using an ironing board.
An ironing board provides a stable surface and has space underneath so a garment can be slipped over the end, so you only press one layer of your garment. Ironing boards often have a heat reflective layer that can heat your fabric from both sides, making it easier to press.
3. Ironing Board Cover
A good quality ironing board cover is just as important as the ironing board. A good cover will reflect the heat from your iron, essentially ironing your fabric from both sides, and absorb water to prevent water stains on your fabric. It is important to choose the right size cover for your ironing board to ensure a tight, smooth fit.
4. Pressing cloth
A pressing cloth can prevent heat damage to heat-sensitive or delicate fabric, such as fabric shine. A pressing cloth is also handy when fusing interfacing or fusible web/hem tape to prevent build up on iron. Use a scrap of lightweight plain cotton muslin or buy a ready-made pressing cloth. It’s best to use a fabric that is somewhat see-through to see what you are pressing.
5. Tailor’s ham
A pressing ham is used to press a curved seam and corners, such as necklines. You can also use it for pressing shaped seams (eg princess seams) and darts open.
They are typically made with cotton on one side and wool fabric on the other. You choose which side to use depending on the fabric you are pressing.
6. Seam roll
A seam roll is a firmly packed cylindrical cushion. Similar to a pressing ham, it often has wool on one side and cotton on the other. A seam roll is place inside your sewing project to make it easier to just press one layer of the fabric.
7. Sleeve board
A sleeve board is a small ironing board that helps you to press sleeves or other cylinders of fabric. The sleeve slides over the end of the ironing board so you only press one layer at a time (and avoid sewing an ugly crease where you don’t want it!).
8. Iron soleplate guard
An iron soleplate guard can be attached to your iron to protect your fabric from excessive heat damage. It can be used with all types of fabrics, including cotton, linen, silk, synthetic fabrics, and leather.
It prevents shiny, scorched, or discoloured spots in fabrics caused by ironing, and small holes on its surface ensure even steaming across the whole surface of your iron.
9. Tailor’s Clapper
A tailor’s clapper is a tool that helps to create crisp seams and sharp folds in fabric. It’s perfect for fabrics where the seams won’t stay flat after pressing. After steam ironing the fabric, press the clapper on the fabric for a few seconds (until the fabric cools). You’ll be left with a nice, crisp seam.
Alternatively, you can hold your hand on the fabric (although that can get a little hot) or place a book or other heavy object on the pressed fabric.
Some clappers also have a point presser on top, that can be used for pressing collars and other tight areas. They can also include a pin cushion too!
10. Mini iron
A mini iron is a great tool for quickly fixing small fabric projects, such as quilting or applique. This handy device can be used in situations when it’s too difficult to get your full-sized iron out and set up.
11. Iron cleaner
If you’re using iron-on interfacing or webbing, or sewing with temperature-sensitive fabrics, at some point you are going to melt something onto your iron or have gunk building up. That’s when iron cleaner comes in handy. Check the instructions for your product, but generally, the cleaner is applied to a hot iron and then wiped off. Use a towel or other thick cloth to avoid burning your fingers!
12. Point turner and seam creaser
A point turner and seam creaser is a handy lightweight tool that can be used to turn points, crease seams and take out basting stitches. Use the pointed end of the tool to gently push out point corners and the curved edge to open up seams before pressing. It’s a great way to keep your fingers out of the way when pressing seams.
13. Pressing Mat
If you don’t have space to set up an ironing board, a pressing mat is great for turning any surface into an ironing board. Place one next to your sewing machine to quickly press seams as you quilt or sew.
14. Pressing mitt
A pressing mitt is a heat-resistant glove. Place your hand with the glove on the inside of your item and press the iron against the glove. It’s great for pressing awkward locations, like inside bags, that don’t fit easily on an ironing board
15. Pressing stick
A pressing stick is used to help when ironing long edges and to press out pleats. The pressing stick is a half-cylinder that lifts a small area of fabric so you don’t press the full surface of the fabric. It can be helpful when quilting to avoid accidentally incorrectly pressing or distorting previously sewn seams.
16. Seam roller
A seam roller is a great tool for quickly pressing seams open or for pressing hems, without having the get out you iron. This works best with cottons or other fabrics that crease easily. Just give your seam a quick roll with the seam roller and continue sewing!
17. Spray Starch
Another way to get crisp creases when pressing is to use spray starch. Spray the fabric with a small amount of product and then press dry with an iron. Consider spraying the wrong side of the fabric with starch so any flakes or product build-up is hidden.
18. Wrinkle Releaser
A wrinkle releaser is a product that’s sprayed onto fabric to reduce the appearance of wrinkles. It helps fabrics look fresh and crisp, without having to take them off the hanger or put them in a dryer.
Find out how to make your own wrinkle release here (with products you already have in your home).
19. Your finger!
Lastly, the pressing tool you always have with you is your finger. Sometimes all you need to do is rub your finger along the fabric to create (or remove) a crease. And it won’t cost you anything!
Who knew there were so many pressing tools you can add to your sewing box? Which tools do you use the most? Let me know in the comments!
More sewing tools:
- Just looking for the basics? Here is what to include in your beginner sewing kit.
- Add a cute sewing tool with these pattern weights.
- Transfer pattern markings with these fabric marking tools.