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Sewing Tools and Equipment

The items marked in RED in the listing that follows are the ones you really should have.

For Pressing

Here you draw on your household equipment.

A good iron must be on hand, set up, and ready for use throughout any dressmaking project. A combination steam/dry iron is the most satisfactory and there are many models available; pick one that gives a good amount of steam.

Press cloth - Recommended because most fabrics tend to shine if they come in direct contact with iron. Cloth can be dampened to provide the moisture for more steam. You can buy a specially treated cloth or use a piece of unbleached muslin, about 14" x 30", thoroughly washed to remove sizing. For dark woolens, use a dark wool press cloth with a steam iron.

Slipcover for iron - Used in place of a press cloth. Slipped over bottom of iron, it allows a complete view of what you are pressing. Can be purchased or made.

Ironing board should be firm and well padded, its cover clean at all times.

Sleeve-board - Useful for pressing seams in sleeves and other narrow spaces; the ends are good for darts and curved edges. It should be well padded (add padding as necessary, using an old blanket).

Dressmaker's ham, seam roll, pressing mitt  - Important pressing aids for hard-to-reach areas, shaped seams and darts. Can be purchased or made.

A point-press, for pressing open seams of points in collars and lapels.

Pounding block (clapper or beater), very useful for tailoring. Some point pressers have a bottom designed to be used as a clapper.

Needle board - A luxury item for pressing velvet and other pile fabrics.


Dress form - A form to your specific measurements can be extremely useful, especially if you have no one to lend a hand in fitting, or you are hard to fit, or both. A number of kinds are available, varying greatly in price.

The following smaller sewing aids are particularly helpful:

Loop-tuner - for turning bias binding and inserting cord into tubing.

Bodkins - for inserting elastic or ribbon into casings.

Thread clipper - handy to have at the sewing machine.

Magnetic seam guide - very helpful in stitching an even seam line.

Seam ripper  - also used for cutting machine worked buttonholes.

Beeswax - helpful when sewing on buttons.

Magnet - for picking up pins from the floor.



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