Thursday, January 28, 2010

Talk Back Thursday

Thank you so much to Julia, Julie, BConky, Gwen, Cindy, Becky, Mamafitz, KnitMachineQueen, CarlaF, Faye, Mary, Gaylen, Amelia, Patsijean, Summerset, Sarah and Meredith for "talking back" to my confession last week! I asked how faithful people are in pressing their seams open as they sew a garment.

The Reader's Digest Condensed Version of the comments (with apologies to Nike): JUST DO IT! ;)

In fact, only one commenter joined me in the "I don't press as often as I know I should" club - everyone else is pretty seriously committed to the slogan (with apologies to former Chicago mayor Richard Daley) "Press early and often!" How committed? Judge for yourself, here are just a small sampling of quotes:

  • Mamafitz - Press, press, press! You should be spending at LEAST as much time at the ironing board as you do at the machine.
  • CarlaF - Not pressing my seams is like not breathing... it just doesn't happen.
  • Faye - Someone once called me a career presser, meaning that I press like I was getting paid to do if. Can't help it, I'm a press fanatic.
  • Meredith - Nothing will make more of a positive difference in your sewing than excellent pressing.
  • Patsijean - I press every seam I can get my hands on. "Sew with my Iron" is my motto.

Other comments can be organized into three categories, addressing the why, how and with what of pressing.

As to the "why" of pressing - beyond the general "it makes your clothes look professional" statement made by many, Julie explained that it helps the stitches sink into the fabric to reduce some bulk, gets rid of minor waviness caused by stitching and Cindy said that is the only way to get all of your seams to line up properly.

The "how" of pressing was really interesting to me - turns out I've been doing it wrong! Most people reported starting by pressing the seam as it was sewn (neither open nor to one side). I didn't know you were supposed to do that! From there, some always press open next, and then press to one side if necessary; while others either press open or to one side, depending on the seam. And some folks stressed the importance of letting your seam cool before moving it - another thing I didn't realize was important.

Folks MAY differ a little bit on how they intersperse ironing with sewing. While no one came right out and said this, it sounds like some folks (maybe those like Julia who keep their ironing board right next to the machine and at the same level) basically iron each seam as they sew it. While a couple of other people, like knitmachinequeen and Amelia, go out of their way to sew as many seams as possible (none overlapping) before doing a solid chunk of ironing.

Finally, in the tool topic, several people mentioned tailor's hams for pressing curves. Most people who brought up irons grumbled a bit about having trouble finding one they liked. Patsijean was an exception - so far she really likes her Reliable i300 steam generator iron and vacuum board combo (purchased last Fall from Allbrands). Other tools mentioned included sleeve boards, pressing cloths and a point presser / clapper.

Speaking of point pressers, Oliver is considering making an instructional DVD series for amateur seamstresses and, in the photo above, he is demonstrating his innovative approach to working with a point presser. I am reasonably certain that you will not find this approach described in ANY of the sewing resources out there right now. What do you think? Should he go for it? ;)

Thanks again to everyone who took the time to comment! As usual, I learned a lot from you! :)


meredithp said...

Oliver says "Hi Mommy, I just ruined your point presser. Aren't you proud?"

He's adorable, but you probably have no point under that cat saliva ;-)

Julia said...

I always look forward to what all of your readers have to say in their comments about your great questions.

CarlaF-in Atlanta said...

LOL. Oliver is a hoot.

SunnyQ said...

Oliver is clearly "helping" ... sharpening the point perhaps? :-) ADORABLE!!