Posted by Edelweiss Patterns on June 14, 2011
Using the "Five Step Pressing Method" below will give you perfectly pressed seams every time!
If you’ve been sewing for any amount of time, you’ve probably done more than your share of pressing seams! When I was learning to sew, I had an expert sewing instructor who insisted I learn the “Five Step Pressing Method” for how to make a seam lay flat. Often times as seamstresses we like to hurry through the pressing process, but if you want the seam to lay flat every time, it’s important to follow the Five Step Pressing Method to ensure that your garment will look its best for years to come.
Below is a photo of how terrible a seam can looked before you’ve pressed it. Pretty bad, no?
If you want your seams to look perfect, be sure you have a good, clean iron, a pressing cloth made of 100% cotton, and a well-padded ironing board. Note that any time you iron from the right side of the garment, you should have a press cloth between the iron plate and your material, but I have omitted the press cloth in these photographs for illustration purposes.
Ricky Ricardo shows us how not to iron in I Love Lucy's "Job Switching" episode.
The Five Step Pressing Method for How to Make Your Seams Lay Flat
Step 1 - Meld your stitches.
1. The first step is to “meld the stitches”. This is accomplished by laying the seam flat, just as when you sewed it, then pressing the seam for at least fifteen seconds while steaming the fabric. You cannot underestimate the importance of steaming your seams for the first time after you’ve sewed them. This will “meld” your stitches to the fabric and make them closer to one piece of material than just fabric with thread running through it. Use the hottest setting that your iron allows for your material’s fiber content.
- Step 2 – Press your seams open from the wrong side.
2. Next, you will open up your seams and press down the center of the opened seam from the wrong side of the fabric.
- Step 3 – Press the seam from the right side with the seam allowances opened.
3. Now turn the garment over so that the right side of the material is up, and press down the center of the seam from the right side, keeping your seams open just as you did in step two. This will make the seam appear flatter from the right side of the garment, which is so important since people will only ever see your garment from the right side anyhow!
- Step 4 – Press the seam allowances to one side.
4. For this step, you simply flip the garment back to the wrong side, and press both seam allowances of the opened seam to one side. This may take a bit of patience and firm pressing, since the seams will naturally want to stay open after steps two and three. Push the iron away from you with slight pressure, while holding the fabric taught with your free hand.
- Step 5 – Press the seam from the right side, smoothing out any bubbles.
5. Finally, just turn the fabric so you are viewing it from the right side again, and press down the seams, while keeping the seam allowances pressed to the same side that they were in step four.
That’s it! Doesn’t it look so much better than it did at first?