My name is Katrina and I am happy to share with you what I’ve learned about pressing seams. Have you ever seen a garment that you knew was homemade simply because the seams were all chunky and unpressed? I think if seamstresses cheat on one step of the sewing process, it would probably be on proper pressing! So with that being said, I hope you’ll enjoy the “Five Step Method” for pressing seams. Yes, it may take a little bit longer, but the results are tremendous and can make all the difference between an average garment and a terrific garment.
Step #1: Immediately after stitching your seam, lay the garment flat on your ironing board and press well, using the hottest heat recommended for your fabric. Press your steam button every few seconds, until the seam has been pressed for at least ten seconds. (And don’t forget to use a pressing cloth if you are working with a delicate fabric!)
Step # 2: From the inside of the garment, press the seam allowances open and iron it well until the seam allowances lay flat.
Step # 3: Now you will flip the garment over so you are viewing it from the right side, while keeping the seam allowances open as your pressed them in step 2. Press down the center of the seam from the outside for a few seconds to ensure that your seams will lay flat on the outside of the garment. Steam well.
Step # 4: After all the work you went to to get the seam allowances open, you now need to press them both to one side! Technically, all side seams get pressed to the back, shoulder seams get pressed to the back, and vertical darts get pressed towards the side seams. So from the inside of the garment, press your seam allowances to the proper side and steam well.
Step # 5: You’re almost done! Now, flip your garment over so that the right side of the fabric is up, and press the center of the seam well. As in step 3, you do want the seam allowances to stay pressed the way you ironed them, so make sure they don’t get wrinkled on the inside of the garment.
Doesn’t that look better now? If you’re using a fabric like a cotton broadcloth, it will take the steam wonderfully and your seam will look perfectly crisp and neat. If the project you’re working on requires a synthetic fabric such as a polyester satin, you will have to take a little more time to get the fabric to lay how you want it, without using so much heat and steam that you damage your fabric. But the fantastic results are well worth the extra steps, and you will never have a chunky looking seam again! To read my entire article on pressing seams, click here.
Bio: Katrina Casey is the owner of Edelweiss Patterns, a company specializing in 1930s style dress patterns. A lover of all fashion eras, Katrina is particularly fond of the Regency, Edwardian, and 1950s clothing styles. As an avid seamstress, she has studied historical costume in England and has seen her work featured by PBS show host Martha Pullen. When she’s not designing patterns, Katrina blogs about her vintage sewing creations and favorite film costumes over at www.edelweisspatterns.com/blog