Most experienced sewers know the importance of pressing seams as you sew so I would like to discuss a few great tools to help with the task.
Several months ago I thought it would be great if I could store my iron with my ironing board and bought an over the door caddy from a local store. Needless to say, it does not hold the iron very well and when I went to remove the ironing board, the iron came toppling down and hit me in the head and crashed to the floor. I ended up with a nasty knot on my head and although the iron still heats up and can press, I can no longer use the sprayer as the top of the iron has separated. I have been looking at new irons ever since and was impressed with one that Richard Harper had for his panels at Motor City Steam Con, the Panasonic NI-L70SR iron.
The Panasonic NI-L70SR is a 1500 watt cordless iron with a stainless steel soleplate. The iron sits on a charging base which has a retractable cord and it has a detachable 5 ounce water tank. It also comes with a heat resistant carrying case which allows you to put the iron away after use without any damage and makes it convenient to carry on trips and workshops.
This iron has had mainly positive reviews. You may read them at the following sites:
There are many times when you should not press a fabric directly, especially the right side of the fabric, and should place a pressing cloth between your fabric and the iron. The pressing cloth protects your fabric from sheen – those shiny spots that occur when you press some fabrics. It also helps protect against scorching. When using iron on interfacing, a pressing cloth prevents you from getting adhesives on the iron. Pressing cloths should always be used with wool, silks and other delicate fabrics, synthetic fabrics, and iron on interfacing.
There are several types of pressing cloths available, but the most popular is silk organza as it has a high melting temperature so that it can be used with any iron temperature. Silk organza also has the benefit of being shear. Pressing cloths are also available in wool, cotton and muslin. If you do not want to purchase a pressing cloth, you can make one out of a white, cotton bed sheet or you may use a tea towel, napkin, handkerchief, or a piece of unbleached or white cotton muslin.
A point presser is used to poke the corner right side out when turning seams. The rounded end of the point presser is used to smooth out curves. You can use the point presser as a pressing tool by inserting it into the point or curve to shape the fabric as you press over it. Point pressers are available as a small hand tool (typically bamboo) or as part of a clapper.
Clappers are wood boards or blocks that absorb the moisture from your iron for flat, crisp seams, tucks, pleats, and darts. They are also used when you do not want to directly iron on a fabric. To use a clapper, use the iron to pump steam/heat onto the fabric then place the clapper over the pressed fabric and apply even pressure.
Dritz makes a 2 in 1 Tailor Board/Clapper which also has a built in point presser and curve presser. If you would like to make your own Point Presser/Clapper Serger Pepper has instructions and a template at http://sergerpepper.com/2015/10/how-to-make-point-presser-tailors-clapper.html
Sleeve Boards and Sleeve Rolls:
Sleeve boards allow you to press hard to reach places such as the seams in sleeves and pants legs. They are also useful for pressing sleeves if you do not want a crease down the sleeve. Sleeve boards are typically two heat resistant covered wood boards that are hinged together and can be collapsed for storage or they may have a wooden stand between the two boards. A sleeve roll which is a long stuffed tube typically made of wool and muslin can be used instead of a sleeve board.
A ham gets its name from its ham shape. It is typically covered in wool on one side and cotton or muslin on the other and stuffed with sawdust to achieve a firm shape. Hams are great for pressing darts and curves.