Tuesday, September 18, 2012

I is for Ironing

 Thanks so much for all your lovely comments about the ABCs of vintage sewing series. I read all the comments and they mean so much to me! I am really enjoying doing the posts and am so glad that you are enjoying them as well!

Today is all about ironing.  That quintessential step in sewing.  Actually, as my vintage sewing book says, what we do for sewing is actually called 'pressing' and not ironing.  But as I've already got a 'p' in my alphabet, I'll just go for ironing ;-)

I just love these step-by-step instructions from my 1943 Minature Fashions: Simplicity Sewing Book:



 

I must admit that I've never done 1, 4 or 6.  I'm actually intrigued by number 4.  What about you? Are you strictly a number 3 sewist or do you go all out with your pressing?

Now I have no excuse as we just got a fancy iron (well, fancy for us).  It was a great groupon deal and I really like it:


 It's a Quest Steam Generator 2000W and it's been fantastic so far.  My only minor complaint is that it makes a lot of noise when it first starts steaming but other than that it's works like a charm.

Here's a shot of the other side:
I'm curious, what iron do you use?  Do you love or hate it?

26 comments:

  1. I think #1 could be useful to me for applying fusible interfacing!  (The sprayer I use doesn't spray evenly.) #4 might be useful on hard to press fabrics.  I love my tailor's ham and use it all the time.  It is so helpful pressing darts or other curves.  I made it with a tutorial from http://www.nobigdill.com/search?q=tailor%27s+ham . Miss P has a good one as well http://portialawrie.blogspot.com/2011/01/sewing-basics-how-to-make-tailors-ham.html.
     I love the stand that goes with your new iron!  I use a 20+year old Rowenta and still love it.

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  2. Ironing/pressing is essential for the serious sewist. I always do, every seam every little nook and cranny. I hate regular ironing. I have owned every iron in every category and quite frankly there was only one that was above the rest. It was very expensive and then someone dropped it. Kaput,I replaced it with another reportedly great iron, it is OK. But I burn through them pretty fast so now i stick with the mid price range models. I go through about one a year., You may see my point! I have done number one with white vinegar to removed resistant creases in yardage, I have done number 6 many, many times. The key to number six, when shaping a piece, such as a collar or shoulder seam. Steam it, shape it, leave it. Do not touch it till it cools. The shape will therefore be maintained. #2, 3 and 5 are standards of construction for me. Great series Deb.    

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  3. I have a Singer steam station, have had it for quite a few years now and absolutely love it!

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  4. Seriously, you're amazing for coming up with this series.  And, honestly, I have no idea what kind of iron I have.  Something sturdy but cheap no doubt.

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  5. Debi, I have to tell you that I really enjoy this series and it is not just because of the photo in the collar entry ;) This is such a great idea for a series. 

    Ironing (and pressing) is up there with mending for me, I'll put it off as long as I can. I know, that's bad. This is the first time I've seen instructions to dampen with a sponge or brush seams.  For stubborn fabric I use a pressing cloth (usually a scrap piece of fabric or recycled item-turned-rag) that I has moisten under the tap and wrung before placing it over the area I want to press. 

    And I use tailor hams, I think they are worth the investment since they seems to make the job much easier.  I don't have a sleeve board but I do have a sleeve ham or I guess they're called sleeve cushions in the Simplicity book.  

    A few years ago I picked up a steamer and I'm quite happy with it with how it works.  

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  6. I had never seen number 4! Does the book explains the purpose of it? Number 6 I regularly use for any curved seam, I find it much easier to press this way! I recently changed my iron because the previous one was leaking - this time I chose one that stops automatically after 8 minutes and is really quick to heat, I love it :D
    Thanks for this series, it's very informative and the illustrations are lovely!

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  7. Love these posts! Thank you for putting them together!
    Hmm, I've never used a sponge or a brush to wet the press cloth, no. I've just dipped the cloth and wrung it out. I've used my fingers to wet the seam, but a brush is actually a pretty good idea! This is of course for quality wool, might not work so well with polyester.
    Your new iron looks wonderful! I would love to have a proper steam station...

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  8. I have a friend who is a dressmaker and taught all forms of sewing and drafting and garment construction at Tech College and she uses No 4.  Her last garment is a pure wool top coat with contour seaming and very tailored. It looks Haute Couture.  So.. i would reccomend doing it if you are tailoring wooled fabric.   Cheers.

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  9. I've never tried #4 only because I've never seen it before; that said I LOVE ironing and used to do other peoples ironing to earn a little spending money. The purpose of a damp press cloth, or steam or dampening fabric is to get the natural fabrics (wool, linen, cotton, silk) to relax and be molded into the shape or flatness you desire. Some polyester fabrics are absolutely unpressable, no matter what you do. I learned to iron from my mother who learned from her professionally trained tailor father.

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  10. That looks like a serious iron! I have a Rowenta that I've had for years even before learning how to sew, and for me it works alright. 

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  11. Kimberly GoldsteinSeptember 20, 2012 12:43 PM

    I must admit I absolutely love my Pressing Ham (Tailor's Cushion) and use it all the time. It's great for pressing curves! I highly recommend it.

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  12. I'm seriously anal about pressing-- I learned that in fashion design school.  I sometimes joke that my degree is in ironing.  Anyhoo, you're missing out if you don't own/use a tailor's ham.  They're wonderful!  I don't know how I'd press my curves or do ease without them.

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  13. I am pretty sure I've admitted this elsewhere, but I actually still use the basic Sunbeam model my mom sent me off to college with many moons ago. Water reservoir in the handle taped up from where it cracked 5+ years ago. It's basic and so far has seemed to work well enough for me, though there's enough hype about fancier models I sometimes wonder if I should upgrade! Serger first. ;-)

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  14. My tailors ham and seam roll get heavy use. I do occasionally dampen my press cloth (with a spray bottle rather than sponge). Honestly, I need a new iron. Mine leaks unless it is really hot, so I generally use a spray bottle to dampen the fabric to create steam. 

    I wonder, does your source suggest pressing the seam as sewn, then pressing open and then from the right side (3 distinct steps)?  This is something that I do and have seen recommended. I think the results are worth it, but am curious if vintage instructions agree. 

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  15. I own a Rowenta DG5030 Pro Steam Iron. Lots of steam, and controllable heat. Perfect if you are pressing shirts, steaming wool, or putting the initial sets of pleats in a new kilt. 

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  16. Debi_myhappysewingplaceSeptember 20, 2012 11:46 PM

    I do really need a tailor's ham....it's amazing what various surfaces I have used throughout the house to get into some of the curves of garments I've sewn ;)

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  17. Debi_myhappysewingplaceSeptember 20, 2012 11:47 PM

    I definitely need to get a Pressing Ham!!

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  18. Debi_myhappysewingplaceSeptember 20, 2012 11:47 PM

    That's really neat that your grandfather was a professionally trained tailor....how cool! I bet you've learned lots of great hints!

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  19. Debi_myhappysewingplaceSeptember 20, 2012 11:48 PM

    Brilliant! I will definitely have to try it!

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  20. Debi_myhappysewingplaceSeptember 20, 2012 11:49 PM

    Thanks so much Graca!!  I use a pressing cloth too (silk organza) but I've never damped it (yet anyways...now I will have to try!)  After all the great comments about tailor hams, I think I might have to invest in one!

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  21. Debi_myhappysewingplaceSeptember 20, 2012 11:50 PM

    I love Singer..I had no idea they made irons!

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  22. Debi_myhappysewingplaceSeptember 20, 2012 11:51 PM

    Brilliant hints! I guess irons are like running shoes...you need to replace them frequently, especially if you run/sew a lot! I had our old one way too long and it was not very good.  This one makes a world of difference and it was definitely mid-range in price...which makes it even better! :)

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  23. Debi_myhappysewingplaceSeptember 20, 2012 11:53 PM

    Thanks Shari....I can't decide if I should make a tailor's ham or buy one (maybe from Sunni's shop).  Considering the fact that I still haven't sewn up a replacement ironing board cover....perhaps I should go with the latter option ;-)

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  24. Debi_myhappysewingplaceSeptember 20, 2012 11:59 PM

    Great question! I looked in both my 1940s and 1950s sewing books and neither mentions the 3-step pressing process......now I'm on the hunt to find out what time period that originated from! 

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  25. I just have a basic, from the grocery store iron.  It steams and doesn't have a turn off timer.  That's all I ask of it.

    But I'm addicted to ironing!  It's one of my favorite things to do, and I find it really calming to take the time to iron my napkins, etc.

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  26. A bit late to the "I"roning, but I thought it might be interesting to hear from someone who actually happily downgraded from steam-iron to a non-steamer. I never really used the built in steam, but a pressing cloth and spray bottle (much faster - I'm impatient) so when it died, I got one without the steam part. No holes in the sole are great for fusible interfacing and it's lighter which is great for my upper back. Oh, btw the steam iron belonged to my mother who always wanted one, tried it out and then went back to her old non-steamer, so I got it when I moved out.

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I read each and every comment--thank you so much!

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