Sewing Tips: The Importance of Pressing

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Below is an excerpt from 150 Sewing Tips by Mary Johnson, printed in Woman's Day in 1962. I found this booklet in my grandmother's sewing library. Reading it not only conjured up memories of my grandmother, but reminded me of the legacy of this crafting tradition.

The Importance of Pressing 

* Good pressing is done slowly with a gliding motion. Don't bear down heavily when pressing seams open or darts flat or you'll get a ridge on the right side. Too much pressure also produces a shine on dark fabrics, flattens napped fabrics, and stretches loosely woven ones.

* Press seams open unless the pattern specifies otherwise. Start at bottom of a seam and work toward top.

* Press vertical darts toward center, underarm and elbow darts with fold down. When working with a heavy fabric, stitch darts, then slash to within about 1/2" of each point and press open.

* You must press as you go, but you don't need to jump up and press each seam the minute it's sewn. Join the parts that make up a unit, make any darts in it, then put it aside and work on another. When all units are prepared, press them before joining them.

* To prevent the topline of the hem from being embossed on the right side, press thoroughly only on the lower half. The upper half is given a once-over-lightly touch-up with a dry iron.

* Never press the bottoms of hems into creases before you hem them.

Sew on people!

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