The number one most important thing you can do in sewing!
If you've ever been to one of my classes you'll probably have heard my favourite made up statistic:
Which is that 90% of good sewing is ironing. I don't care what you do once the project is made (if you're anything like me, the iron ONLY comes out when I'm sewing), but during the process, the iron is your FRIEND. Ironing is the single most important factor (in my humble opinion) in determining whether your project looks professional or handmade. I'm saying 'ironing' but really I mean a combination of ironing and pressing - but you get the gist.
Anyway - here's some of my favourite tools for getting a nice crisp finish to your project.
A mainstay of tailoring, the humble clapper looks like exactly what it is. A block of hardwood. The clapper works by absorbing the steam as you press down on a seam, making the heat set that seam crisp and flat. When to use? It's great for more buly sewing projects - I love it for trousers and jeans, but it's also great for quilts, all those seams crossing over each other - it's perfect for that.
For delicate fabrics and projects where you want the fabric to be protected a bit from the iron, using. pressing cloth is key. A lightweight cloth, usually made of silk organza is perfect as you can still see your project through the cloth.
Top Tip - it's perfect for adhering fusible interfacing!
This one doesn't look too much like it's name - the pressing 'ham' is one of my favourite tools for getting smooth necklines, bubble free darts, and setting in perfect sleeves. I mean, it seems a bit of a novel idea - pressing the curved parts of your body on a curved object? Why didn't we think of this before? (Turns out, someone did!)
This is my lazy tool (and a long term money saver, probably, as it keeps the iron off). The seam roller is a great little gadget if you can't be bothered to get up to the iron, and only have a small seam or two to press. Great for patchwork blocks, but I also use it in dressmaking too. I find it better for lighter fabrics in dressmaking - anything linen/quilting cotton weight and under.
The hot hemmer is a handy tool for getting seams and folds precise - fold, measure, press hems and more in one easy step. The material is heat-resistant and allows the stream of the iron to pass through and the non-slip surface holds your fabric in place