An iron can be your best tool whilst sewing your quilt blocks. The difference between a quilter whose work looks fabulous and one whose work is so-so often comes down to the ironing and pressing during the quilt’s construction. Your iron can smooth out problem corners, make your quilt lie flat, ease in a piece that’s just a shade too small, create crisp points and so much more. It’s very important to take some time with your iron to press your blocks and quilt tops properly. If you are considering a new iron, the Oliso iron is really neat in that it lifts itself automatically with just a touch.
We are also loving the new Steamfast travel steam iron. Currently these little hand-held pressing irons are very popular for quilters. They are easy to grasp with your hand and are great for maneuvering over your fabrics as you piece blocks together. They are portable, great to take to classes and retreats as well as to use right in your home studio. Our customers, who have recently purchased this iron, are raving about how much they love this small iron that gives some mighty good results!
There is “ironing” and then there’s “pressing”. Ironing is the act of moving the iron back and forth overt the fabric. Pressing is a simple up and down movement of the iron. Quilters “press” with their irons in a simple up and down movement to avoid overstretching the seams. Just make sure you are using enough pressure to enable the heat to “set” the fabric.
We like using Best Press for this part of the quilt-making process. This spray produces flat, crisp quilt blocks and quilt tops that are nice and flat for laying over your batting and backing.
There’s some debate in quilting regarding the use of steam. I, personally, like to use steam with my iron as I press quilt blocks. Hot water offers an added force to the iron’s heat to set seams. The use of steam will smooth out most creases and wrinkles from your fabrics. However, if you are working with paper patterns for paper foundation piecing, cut off the steam.
Use a cotton (high) setting on your iron when quilting with cotton fabrics. Remember that Fireside, Minky or other synthetic fabrics, need to be kept away from hot irons to avoid melting!
Fusible products also need to be ironed with caution. A fusible is a glue or glue-like bonding agent applied to interfacings and other materials that when melted with an iron, bond with fabric. Fusible are used to stabilize fabrics, to join fabrics together (as in fusible appliqué) and for other purposes. Each fusible product has a special personality and you must follow the directions that come on the package. Some fusible will quickly melt and destroy your iron with “goo” if you don’t use a pressing sheet. Others might require steam. Some won’t work with steam. The appliqué pressing sheet is great because you can see through this translucent product and keep an eye on your pressing.
We hope you can enjoy the ironing and pressing process as you create your quilt tops and let us know if we can help you with your pressing questions!