A non-stick iron “shoe” that fits most domestic irons is invaluable when high heat is required to produce heavy steam for stubborn wrinkles. The shoe easily attaches to the sole plate and prevents scorches and shine while allowing steam to penetrate through hundreds of perforations without causing shrinkage. If scorching does occur, scorch removers are available. Extra fine sand or emery paper can sometimes abrade slight scorches.
Table top sleeve boards resemble miniature ironing boards that allow sleeves to be slipped on after they’re sewn. Pressing on the sleeve board eliminates unwanted creases and helps to neatly press underarm seams. Crisper finishes on cuffs can be achieved when pressing on a sleeve board.
Seam rolls, pressing hams and padded mitts produce neater and flatter seams, darts, collars, etc. These two-sided aids consist of one half cotton/one half wool covers filled with sawdust. Seam rolls fit nicely into many sewn-in-the-round items such as pant legs. Press on the cotton side for smoother fabrics and the wool side for low piles or woolen materials. Pressing hams are used to shape darts, pleats, collars or anything that requires a gently curved configuration. Ham holders are available to keep it from shifting with use, but the type of stand once used to hold a football in place can sometimes be substituted. Padded mitts that cover fingers and most of the palm are very handy when it’s necessary to hold the item being pressed as the iron does its job. Padded mitts eliminate burns and discomfort and are also useful when holding a garment for light touch-up.
Lengths of hardwood that are slightly curved on one side and flat on the other can also be used for pressing seams, especially when they are pressed open. The flat side keeps the board stabilized while the curve lets the seams fall away from the center eliminating any show-through of the pressed seam on the right side of the garment. Another inexpensive yet very useful item is craft paper or paper bags cut an inch or two wider than the seam. Slip strips between the seam allowance and the wrong side of the garment and press. The heavier weight of the paper will also prevent show-through. Be careful to use only unprinted paper so nothing transfers to the garment.
Press cloths can be purchased or made from lint-free cottons, sheeting or silk organza. Launder them before use and frequently as they often become stained. When using them over fusibles, take care that residue doesn’t transfer onto another surface. Before starting a project, save time by saturating several cotton or sheeting press cloths and keep them in a plastic bag or suitable container. This eliminates having to rewet the same cloth once it has been pressed dry. Let them dry naturally or press dry at the end of the day to discourage mildew growth. Silk organza withstands fairly high heat and is opaque enough to see through so creases and wrinkles are easily detected before pressing.
Wooden point pressers get into narrower areas such as collars, facings and corners for a smoother finish. A clapper is a block of wood used to flatten bulky seams, edges, pleats, etc. by “clapping” down on an area immediately after it has been steam pressed. These two items are often connected into one tool.
A little “creative pressing” with the proper tools and know-how has rescued many a sewing mishap.