Monday, October 22, 2012

Ironing and Ironing Accessories pt. II

Boards and Hams and Pressing Aids, Oh My!

Pressing hams are the best!  They come in two basic types (although there are all manner of shapes to be had) - a ham loaf-y looking thing with one end bigger than the other (hence the name, I suppose!); and a thinner log shape.  If you were saying to yourself "But Noelle, how do I press open curved seams?" in the last post, well, this is your answer.  There is almost no curve in the ham loaf-y thing that will not fit a curved seam with a little fiddling.  But next, one might say "But Noelle!  What about narrow items that I can't press open seams without squishing the rest of my thing?!" (narrow things like sleeves)....for that you have a ham.......log?  (Just googled it.  I guess it's called a seam roll?  I like 'Ham Log' better, personally.)

For longer seams that I can't just throw over my ironing board (things like pants legs), I use a mini ironing pad....thing.  There are specialty ironing boards for such things, but I find my simple little pad does a great job.

And then, there are the ever-vexing corners and points - how in the world does one press those seams?  Well, enter a point presser!  I happened to find mine jumbled in with wooden decor items at my local thrift store (they obvs. didn't know what it was!), and purchased it for a whopping $0.50.  It does look like it is hand made, rather than purchased, and I'm pretty sure it's not a hardwood, but for fifty cents, who am I to argue?

The other side of the point presser is called a 'clapper', and aids in setting seams - just steam a seam open, and use the base to hold (really, really press down!) open the seam until cooled, setting in the seam or crease.  (This is super helpful for bulky seams that just don't want to stay open.)

Now, on to the ever-familiar ironing board!  The most important thing here is to keep the cover clean.  Ironing board covers are really easy to make, too!  There are a ton of tutorials out there - just make sure you pre-wash, the fabric is color-fast, and can hold up to a lot of abuse.

One of my favorite things in my sewing room is my pressing board....a vast expanse of ironable surface!  (Here's how I made it)  You can use the same principle to make any size or shape of portable ironing board....pretty sweet!

On a side-note, a few layers of towels can be used in a pinch as a portable ironing board...just be sure that you're not scorching whatever surface it is resting on!

Another nifty little gadget is this finger protector thing I picked up at some point from a quilting shop.  It comes in really handy when doing fiddly little ironing bits.  (It kind of looks like a knitted finger balaclava...)

And speaking of fiddly little ironing bits, a couple of things that are handy to have (although by no means are necessary) are mini irons.  My favorite is a clover brand crafting iron - the little iron-shaped head is super helpful for pressing corners, and the ball and wand shapes are fantasic for partlets and other shaped things.

The little electric mini iron (of course it's lavender!) is great for getting into tiny spaces that a regular iron couldn't dream of...


  1. great post Noelle! I don't have a ham...*hangs head in shame* but I want to get one now! Your table looks so cool!

  2. Seriously, hams are a total lifesaver for pressing seams - I love mine!  (Although I keep waiting for it to wear out so I can get this one:  )

    The table is pretty dang handy - it's nice to have more space and stability!