Thursday, March 24, 2011

Press or Iron? Ironing board or pressing pad? How do you care for your fabric?

     As I have learned, there are differences in opinion when it comes to pressing or ironing your fabrics. Do you iron your fabric and your pieces as you would a shirt or do you use the Quilter's Press and simply press down on your seems? When your fabric has a stubborn crease in it, do you use water or starch to help get it out? There are some quilter's that I know who never press their fabric at all!
    For me, I do a little combination of everything. I know that there are some very traditional quilters who would firmly object, but it's what works for me. On a pre-cut piece of fabric, I will iron it like a shirt with the back a forth motion. I know this can distort your fabric a little, but since I haven't cut it yet, I am not concerned and haven't notice any difference. This helps me to get out those difficult creases, and if necessary I will use a little water.
    On my already cut and seamed pieces, I use the Quilter's Press. I gently finger press open my seams and than lay the iron on top of the seam. That's it, just a simple up and down motion.
    Now to my favorite part: do you use an ironing board or a pressing pad? I simply love my pressing pad! It has so much more area to iron on for those pieces of fabric that are 45' by multiple yards long. Instead of having to constantly much my fabric around and readjust it so that I can get it smooth (which for me just introduces new wrinkles), I can get the whole width in one shot. Let me show you:

   This is my pressing pad. It is about 36'x45'. The thing is enormous and heavy but oh so worth it. And super easy to make yourself.

     I used a 1 inch square gingham print fabric for my top. This allows me some extra use out of my pad because I can use it for measuring. I especially like this to check my seam allowances and hems quickly. For padding I used 100% polyester batting. Polyester is necessary here because it will be able to stand up to the heat.
     I placed my batting on my board (I used an old piece of wood, you want something heavy so it doesn't move around on you) and sandwiched it with my fabric. Then I pulled back on side and applied glue to my board (spray glue works really well, but I didn't have any on hand.) I replaced my battling and fabric, smoothing it out and then applied glue to the other side. If I had had spray glue, I probably would have glued my fabric to my battling as well so that nothing moves when you flip it.
    So, then you flip your board, tugging on all sides of the fabric to make sure there are no wrinkles or extra fabric anywhere. You want it to be tight.
    Then you need to pull and stretch your fabric and staple it down, all the way around. I stapled the middle and close to the corners first and then went back around and put in lots of reinforcing staples. If you have a print like mine, make sure to keep this in mind when you are pulling your fabric. I had to ensure my gingham print was square with the board.
    Finish up your corners, flip the entire board back over and your ready to press! I'd love to hear how you have your ironing station set up and how you care for your fabric.


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J.Lynne by Jessica Shafer is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 United States License.