A pressing matter

fleece motorcycle jacket with nicely pressed seams

Pressing and steaming differentiate great garments from home-made looking ones probably more than anything else. Mismatched plaids and stripes, uneven hem, and wrinkly sleeve caps also say “home made” instead of “tailored”, but not to the same degree, as it takes a bit of scrutiny to see those things. Unpressed seams, however, says “done at home” as much as a bowl haircut on a kid! It only takes the briefest of glance to see the puffy seams, bulging darts, and overly thick collars.

Here is an example, from a “project” page of an on-line fabrics store. I have removed identifying info so as not to shame anybody! I feel this is particularly egregious example of lack of pressing because this jacket could have been so amazing, being made from a “selvedge denim” costing $18 a yard, which is actually more like twice that expensive since it’s only 31″ wide! Pressing and steaming is super easy and very satisfying with denim because it takes a seam so beautifully, being 100% cotton and reasonably loosely woven. Granted, it’ll take a bit of extra work to hammer thicker areas to make the finished seam as thin as possible, such as where seams intersect, but it is always worth it.

unpressed, puffy, lapel on denim jacket unpressed, puffy, seams on denim jacket unpressed lapel, top view

By contrast, this jacket in a pattern review on patternreview.com, of a silk and linen blend, is beautifully pressed. You can see the difference nicely pressed seams make.
linen jacket with beautifully pressed seams

Even a jacket that I made from fleece (top pic, above) can be coaxed into flat and pressed seams by using flat felled seams and interfaced cotton facings.

1 Comment on “A pressing matter”

  1. #1 Diane Johnson
    on Sep 19th, 2017 at 07:32

    Great tip! I always wondered why some clothes in the store looked so “full” and saggy-like. So you can make or break a garment just by the omission of pressing…Shew!

    I press all that I can. Love the difference and the gratification seeing/feeling the garment change from newly sewn flimsy – to “Wow, that looks smart.”

    Thank you.