Iron or Press is a question on many people's minds in the sewing community! Here in the UK we tend to iron which can have a massive impact on your sewn items and quilt blocks in particular. Lets look at why!
Ironing is the motion of gliding the iron over the fabric to smooth out wrinkles and puckers but it can stretch the fabric and skew the grain. It takes a lot of effort to iron as you apply pressure to the iron. When you press you use an up down motion, carefully setting the iron up and down across the fabric at regular intervals. This doesn't require half as much effort as ironing does! So why is this important? Well as I mentoned earlier, ironing distorts fabric and pressing does not, which when you are working with fabrics that have raw edges when you are sewing, you really do not want to distort the fabric as this will have a hugely negative impact on the piece you are working on. Good pressing is the key!
Here are a few tips for good pressing
- Press fabrics before cutting for better accuracy
- Always test your iron on a scrap piece before pressing new or delicate fabrics, you don't want to scorch your treasured fabrics right?
- Use a dry iron to press, that's right NO steam! Steam distorts fabric which leads to inaccurate cutting & piecing
- Don't press over pin heads as they can melt into and ruin your fabric
- Allow fabric to cool before handling, this protects your fingers as well as the fabric from distorting!
- Use a starch free spray such as Best Press or Flatter to help remove creases and to hold seams
Using a strach spray is of course a personal preference, Lisa and I both swear by a starch free spray to help remove creases from fabric for both the shop and in our own sewing. We use either Best Press or Flatter and have found them to be equally as good, the difference been that Flatter has no synthetic ingredients and Best Press does.