Sewing & Pattern making Terms


In the realm of sewing, there’s a fundamental technique that can transform your projects from amateur to professional: pressing. Seamstresses understand the significance of this simple yet essential step in creating beautifully crafted garments. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore what is pressing, its benefits, and techniques to help you achieve impeccable results in your sewing endeavors.

The Art of Pressing: Elevating Your Sewing Skills

Understanding Pressing

  1. What is Pressing?
  • Pressing involves using an iron and steam to shape, smooth, and set fabric during the sewing process.
  • It differs from ironing, which involves gliding the iron back and forth.
  1. Importance of Pressing:
  • Pressing ensures professional-looking seams, hems and garment details by creating crisp, neat, and well-defined edges.
  • It enhances the overall appearance of your sewing projects, giving them a polished and refined finish.

The Benefits of Pressing

  1. Seam and Edge Finishing:
  • Pressing opens seams and flattens them, reducing bulk and allowing for smoother stitching and better seam allowances.
  • It helps to set seam allowances in the desired direction, resulting in seams that lay flat and create a clean finish.
  1. Shape and Fit:
  • Pressing molds fabric, helping it to retain its shape and achieve the intended design.
  • It aids in creating smooth darts, pleats and gathers, ensuring accurate shaping and proper fit of the garment.
  1. Professional Appearance:
  • Pressing contributes to the overall professional appearance of your finished garments.
  • It eliminates wrinkles, creases and puckering, giving your creations a polished and well-tailored look.

Essential Pressing Techniques

  1. Fabric Considerations:
  • Different fabrics have different heat and steam tolerance levels.
  • Adjust the temperature and steam settings of your iron according to the fabric’s requirements.
  1. Proper Ironing Surface:
  • Use an ironing board or a flat, heat-resistant surface covered with a pressing cloth or clean fabric.
  • Avoid using the iron directly on the fabric to prevent shine or scorch marks.
  1. Pressing vs. Ironing:
  • Pressing involves placing the iron on the fabric and holding it in place for a few seconds without sliding it back and forth.
  • Ironing, on the other hand, involves gliding the iron across the fabric.
  1. Directional Pressing:
  • Press seams and edges in the desired direction, following the pattern instructions.
  • Use a pressing cloth to protect delicate fabrics from direct heat and prevent shine or damage.
  1. Steam:
  • Utilize steam to relax stubborn wrinkles, reshape fabric, or set pleats and creases.
  • Hold the iron slightly above the fabric and release bursts of steam, being cautious of steam-sensitive fabrics.

When to Press

  1. During Construction:
  • Press seams after stitching to set the stitches and open the seams.
  • Press darts, pleats, and gathers to shape and define them.
  1. Final Pressing:
  • Give the completed garment a final overall press before wearing or storing.
  • Ensure all seams, hems, and details are properly pressed for a finished and professional appearance.

Pressing Tips and Tricks

  1. Test Before Pressing:
  • Always test the iron temperature and steam settings on a scrap piece of fabric before pressing the main garment. This helps prevent accidental damage or fabric distortion.
  1. Pressing vs. Steaming:
  • If you encounter stubborn wrinkles or need to relax fabric without leaving a crease, opt for steaming instead of pressing.
  1. Use Tailor’s Tools:
  • Invest in a tailor’s ham and a seam roll to aid in pressing curved seams, darts, and other intricate areas.


Pressing is an invaluable technique that can elevate your sewing projects to a new level of professionalism. By understanding the importance of pressing and incorporating proper techniques into your sewing routine, you can achieve beautifully finished garments that showcase your skills and attention to detail. Embrace the importance of pressing, and let it be your secret weapon for impeccable sewing results.

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Melissa Villegas
Pattern Maker &


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