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September 2015

Hello <<First Name>> 

So how are you sewing plans progressing since we last spoke?

I'd like to know a little more about you and your sewing - would you reply and let me know how far along your sewing journey you are?  - Did you ever learn how to sew (say way back in high school)?  Were you given a machine and you've just never got around to getting it out of the box?  What's the biggest thing holding you back?  I'd love to know so I can better help you along the path.

This month we're talking all about irons and pressing - did you know an iron is an essential sewing tool?  Yup - totally true!  It's really hard to sew well without one.  I have two irons in this house and I'll let you pick which one gets used wayyyyy more regularly?  In the laundry or sewing room?! ;)  Scroll down to see a short video I made to demonstrate the difference between ironing and pressing as well as some great tutorials to snazzy up your pressing station for your own sewing space.

I came across this image this week and it sums up exactly how I feel about you when you take up the challenge to learn how to sew :D 


Until next time.  
Happy Sewing, 
♥ Sarah x

I'm not sure if the embedded video will work so here's the direct link to click over and watch.  It's 3 mins long so let me know what you think ~ 

Pressing v Ironing - what's the difference?

If you've ever read a set of sewing instructions, you may have come across the step "Press Well" - so what the heck does that mean?

I filmed the above video to help demonstrate with moving pictures but essentially ironing is the action of moving your iron over your fabric in a random way until all the fibres are flat.  Pressing is much more deliberate where the iron is placed directly down onto the fabric with little or no movement until you want to change position.  You iron a table cloth or business shirt to get the wrinkles out but you press a bag during construction.  Pressing is a lot more 'up and down' where ironing has a more sideways movement about it.  If you iron an unfinished project then you risk distorting the fabric and potentially ruining all that hard work.  Pressing is still making it flat but in a much more controlled way.

Tips for Pressing:
  • Use a dry iron - steam can further distort those fibres.  Save seam for finished garments.
  • Press as you sew.  You'll have a much more professional finish if you press frequently as you complete each step.
  • Use a pressing cloth with delicate fabrics and interfacing.  I use an old tea towel.
  • If you ever do manage to stick fusible interfacing to your iron (we've all been here), use an old toothbrush dipped in vinegar to remove the glue.  Rinse with warm water and dry with an old towel and you're back in business.
  • If you scorch an area of white fabric, gently dab the area with Hydrogen Peroxide before carefully pressing again.
What I look for when buying an iron:
  • I have this ironing board - love it, it's huge!  I also love the little iron rest; a hot iron won't ever fall down (on top of the kids) if the board is accidently knocked.
  • When browsing the shelf, I look for a model with the highest wattage (my current iron is 2000W) - I like them nice and hot
  • I prefer one without an Auto Off function or 'switch me off' beeping!

Pressing Seams

As a general rule, I always press my seams open.  This is shown between the red and blue fabrics.  However, some patchwork patterns suggest that you press seams to the side, or closed, as between the red and green.  There are pros and cons to both methods and at the end it really depends on your personal preference.

To the side / closed:  this seems to be the method most used in traditional quilting patterns.  Seams will 'nest' together when pressed to opposing sides but it can be tricky to work out which way you should press when you first make the block.

Pressing open: is great for reducing bulk at intersections.  Not only for quilting but where a bag base meets the lining and a sleeve meeting a side seam.  Take your time as it will take longer to press open but the seams do sit nice and flat in your finished quilt.

I usually press patchwork projects from the reverse side first but then I flip it over and press again on the front to really make sure that my stitches are set into that fabric.


Some great projects for your ironing station

Ironing Board Caddy

Excellent and comprehensive tutorial on how to make a caddy that holds scissors, hem gauge and also a little bin for trimmed thread.  Going onto my 'Must Sew' list.  Read Tutorial >>>

Simple DIY Ironing Board Cover

I'd prefer to make a casing with a button hole to pull the cord through but overall my process is similar to that described by Danielle at Two Little Superheros
Read Tutorial >>>

Mini Pressing Table

So handy to have right next to your machine.  A must for quilters who press small seams frequently.
Read Tutorial >>>
To find and follow me over at Pinterest, click here - 

Other Cool Stuff From Around the Interwebs 

These were all shared with the HFL Helpdesk group members, join us, we'd love to see you in there.
About Sarah

Hi!  I'm excited that you've subscribed to my newsletter and even more that you've made it all the way to the bottom.  

It's my goal to teach you how to sew, no matter where you live. To inspire others to drag out their sewing machines and make it come to life.  I want you to share that tingly feeling of pride in saying "thank you I made it myself". 

I live on a wheat and sheep farm in the Western Australian Wheatbelt region.  When I finally pull myself out from behind my sewing machine, you’ll find me tending a sadly neglected garden with a G&T in hand while the kids bounce on the trampoline. I may also be found occasionally in the sheep yards helping my farmer husband.
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