Chapt 5 - Pressing
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Table of Contents ] Chapt 1 - Fabric ] Chapt 2 - Tools and Equipment ] Chapt 3 - The Sewing Machine ] Chapt 4 - Patterns ] [ Chapt 5 - Pressing ] Chapt 6 - Marking The Fabric ] Chapt 7 - Preparing to Begin ] Chapt 8 - Seams ] Chapt 9 - Seam Finishes ] Chapt 10 - Stabilization ] Chapt 11 - Control of Fullness ] Chapt 12 - Finishing Edges ] Chapt 13 - Hand Sewing ] Chapt 14 - Closures ] Chapt 15 - Body Measurements ] Chapt 16 - Ease In Clothing ] Chapt 17 - Pattern Alterations ] Chapt 18 - Finished Dimensions ] Chapt 19 - Common Terms ] Chapt 20 - Common Costume Fabrics ] Index of Sewing Exercises ]

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 when completed.


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 fabric.

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 professional.

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 fabric.

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.


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