One of the real secrets to good costume construction is proper
pressing. Pressing must be done as the construction progresses,
it cannot be left to the last, as no amount of final pressing
will make up for step by step pressing. Careful, thorough
pressing during each construction process will result in
professional looking garments that require only a minor touch up
GENERAL GUIDELINES FOR PRESSING DURING THE CONSTRUCTION
1. Pressing is not Ironing. Pressing is the process of lifting
the iron and setting it down again in the proper position.
Pressing can accomplish things a needle and thread can't.
2. Always test a scrap of fabric or an inconspicuous garment area
to determine the best technique for pressing the fabric. Test a
scrap large enough to allow for comparison between the pressed
and unpressed fabric.
3. Keep an assortment of pressing tools and aids available at all
times. Know how to use them. These tools wear created to help
achieve professional results, but they don't do much good left on
the ironing tabled unused.
4. Check the fabric's reaction to steam and moisture. Both should
be used properly or water or scorch marks will be present on the
5. Press with the grain of the fabric whenever possible and be
careful to not stretch edges or curves by pulling the fabric.
6. Press all seams open first, then press in the stated direction
for proper garment construction.
7. Press all seams and construction details on the wrong side
first, then press the right side of the garment. Test the fabric
to see that the right side can be pressed.
8. Use the point of the iron to open seams before reaching them
with the bulk of the iron.
9. Always press seams and darts BEFORE they are attached to other
garment seams, this helps reduce bulk.
10. Never press any sharp creases (except pleats) in the garment
before the final fitting is done.
11. Above all, know your fabric and do not OVERPRESS.
Finger pressing is using the heat of the body to press or crease
small areas of fabric. Finger pressing often works wonders on
stubborn seams before you press with the iron.
Favoring is when you roll one garment edge over another just
slightly to conceal the seam. Favoring is used extensively in
tailoring and can make any collar, waistband, etc. look much more
Final Pressing is the last pressing procedure on a garment and
should be a mere touch-up. The roll of collars and lapels need to
be 'set' with a small amount of steam and heat. Most final
pressing is done with the iron held just above the surface of the
Steaming is done for maintenance or during the construction
process when the weight of the iron might mark the garment. Hold
the iron just above the fabric, not more than 1", and
depress the steam button.