Pressing is such an important part of patchwork quilting but often the selection of tools we might need are low down our “must buy” list…perhaps because they aren’t as exciting as some of the other types of sewing equipment and gadgets. But that doesn’t mean they should be overlooked or always pushed to the bottom of that list.
These are my favourite (and most used) pressing tools:
- A full-size iron
I don’t have a clever quilty one (although I would love one) but I have always preferred the “normal” sized irons to the mini crafting ones. For me the most important features for my quilting iron to have are; get nice and hot (but not too hot!), not too heavy (because then your arm doesn’t ache after lots of pressing!) and an auto-shut off (because I’m terrible at leaving it turned on even when I’m not using it!).
- A felted wool pressing mat
I would highly recommend spending the extra money and getting a 100% wool mat; they are thicker and better quality which means they are more effective and last longer. Wool pressing mats are a fantastic tool because the textured surface helps to stop fabric shifting as you press, the felted wool absorbs the heat so both sides of your patchwork as pressed at once, and seams and stitches sink into the soft surface giving a crisper pressing finish.
- Pressing spray
Like the wool mat, these really aid the pressing process because they relax the fabric which helps to smooth to wrinkles and create a crisper pressed seam. There are lots of different brands but I only ever use Flatter (by Soak). It is starch-free and the fragrances are all clean and fresh smelling; I find most other brands to have quite a strong chemical-based scent (to me, anyway!) and I’d prefer something a bit light than that on my quilting tops and patchwork projects.
- Seam roller
This is a great little tool and, if I’m being honest, far more effective than I first thought it would be. I would never only use a seam roller on a project but they can be a great substitute for an iron when required. Seam rollers are especially useful for foundation paper piecing.
If you don’t think you are using your pressing tools in the most effective way, and find that your sewing and pressing often leaves projects with uneven quilt blocks and mis-matched seams then have a look at my new digital course Seams Perfect.
Seams Perfect is perfect for beginner quilters, whether that is “right at the beginning” beginners or “I’ve been sewing for a while but still struggle with the basics” beginners. Across four lessons you’ll learn how to sew, press and match your patchwork seams.
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