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Conversational Threads

Pressing Polyester Suiting

cieshore | Posted in Fabric and Trim on

I recently made my first jacket out of linen and the construction was such a breeze and the results so fantastic I decided to make a second out of polyester suiting.  Was this a big mistake?  I can bunch the fabric in my hand and when I release it not a single wrinkle remains.  All my princess seams stand up rather than laying flat and my regular variety type iron can’t press anything out and I’ve already scorched the fabric trying.  It it impossible to press a seam in polyester suiting?  Should I reserve this type of fabric for something else?  Get a new presser rather than an iron?  I’m baffled and so depressed I quite sewing for a few months.  What is suiting good for if not suits?


  1. sewelegant | | #1

    That is an excellent question.  In my humble opinion polyester is a nightmare fabric from the past and unless it is mixed with something else, preferably with the something else predominant, put the bolt back on the shelf and keep looking.  I stopped buying polyester when I figured out it wouldn't breathe and I was always hot when I wore it, but I always appreciated how the addition of it in cotton fabrics... anything with the cotton predominant, really made for easy care and I could still breathe.

  2. regatta | | #2

    Could you make a feature out of topstitching the seam allowance in place. (I'd try tacking it down first to see if that might work)

  3. alotofstitches | | #3

    You'll need to purchase a wooden clapper.  In one of the recent Threads mag there was an article on Pressing &  probably mentioned the clapper.  When pressing a poly seam, press it as stitched, then open the seam over a seam roll, then using a good steam iron give it a lot of steam then press the clapper over the seam until it cools.  The clapper draws the steam out of the fabric to cool it down while it holds the seam open.  Letting the fabric cool in that position is what holds the seam open.--very time consuming too.  In the princess seam curve, I usually tack those seams open.

  4. ohiostar | | #4

    I have heard that vinegar and water in a spray bottle, spritzed while pressing will crease hard to press polyester. I haven't tried it personally as most of my sewing it cotton and knits. But I have a couple of pieces of suiting that is on my to-do list and this information caught my eye. You might try it on some scraps. Let us know if it works for you

    1. sewelegant | | #6

      Back in the 70's and 80's I loved making pants (trousers) from Ponti and that was polyester.  I did use the spritzing with vinegar trick and it did work to keep the seams pressed flat.  Back in those days I did not own a "clapper" because I didn't really know what it was or how to use it, but now I can see where that would be an excellent tool to press the seams;  I use it now for all my seams that are hard to iron flat.  My son in law made it for me and it looks just like the purchased ones.  However, if one doesn't have one a wooden rolling pin would work too.  I have had The June Tailer wooden pressing aid for years and find it indispensable in pressing collars, curved seams, any hard to reach areas for that matter... it is always within reach near my ironing board.  It would be a perfect tool with the clapper to press the princess seams flat.

      1. ohiostar | | #7

        Thanks, sewelegant for the advice. I too had been looking at the clapper when the vendors come to the Puyallup Sew Expo. This year I promised myself I would purchase one, but I think I'll look online rather than wait until February!

      2. MaryinColorado | | #8

        Thanks for the great tip of using a wooden rolling pin!  I love your ingenuity!  Mary

        1. sewluving | | #9

          Back in high school sewing classes we were taught to use the wooden clapper when sewing with wool.  Guess it works for polyester as well. 

          Heather in calgary

          1. MaryinColorado | | #11

            We learn something new here everyday!  I'm so glad we have this website.  Mary

  5. Tatsy | | #5

    I like sewing on polyester because it's so easy to work with, but that's because I took all those old Stretch and Sew classes back in the day. Is the fabric a singleknit, doubleknit, or woven? Does it drape or does it tend to stand on its own?

    A clapper may be necessary but usually a wet press cloth and lots of steam will do the trick.

  6. cieshore | | #10

    Thanks for all the tips.  I was able to make the vinegar and water trip work, as well as slowly heating my iron above the polyester setting to see what the fabric could take.  FYI, it was 100% woven polyester.  I loved the idea of using the decorative seaming had the vinegar not worked.  I would have never thought of that!

    1. ohiostar | | #12

      Glad this worked for you. Hope the rest of your project goes smoothly!

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