Pressing a Rolled Collar into a Curve
by Sarah Veblen
When I sew, I enjoy spending time at the ironing board. It’s here that a garment takes shape, using pressing tools and molding as you press. Strategic pressing and steam application sculpt fabric—creating form in a garment beyond what is intrinsic to the pattern pieces.
Steam relaxes fibers; heat and pressing tools mold them. Some natural-fiber fabrics (linen, cotton, silk, and in particular, wool) have memory: once molded, these textiles stay that way. The result is built-in shaping when the fabric dries.
Prepare before press time
Consider the fabric fiber content, have the garment section constructed, and compile a few tools before molding fabric with your iron. Meld the stitches into the fabric by pressing the seams as they were sewn. If the seam allowances will be pressed open, finger press them first.
Create a shaping tool kit
In addition to an iron, three pressing tools are essential for shaping: a pressing ham, a dry press cloth to protect delicate fabrics, and a clean piece of soft cotton cloth (I use a handkerchief) for forming a flexible roll.
I also use a dress form when I’m shaping collars. The size of the dress form isn’t critical; it’s just to have a “body” to put under the garment. A pillow or a well-padded hanger can also serve this purpose.
Tools (such as a seam roll, wooden clapper, pressing mitt, and point board) are handy for other pressing situations but not vital when building shape into garments. Online sewing notion suppliers, including SewTrue.com and AtlantaThread.com, carry pressing accessories.
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