Pressing Tools & Techniques For Sewing & Quilting

Why Does Pressing Matter?

Pressing matters for several reasons. Whether sewing seams for clothing, home decor, or quilts pressing at designated intervals or sequences will make a difference in the final result. Pressing after sewing steps can help make the next step in the process easier.

When I think of pressing techniques, the first thing I consider are tools needed for the type of sewing and quilting projects I make. 

What about you? Do you use one pressing method with one type of iron or pressing tool? 

There are hot pressing and cold pressing techniques and tools. Most crafters use both hot and cold pressing methods. For instance, I use a seam roller while sewing patchwork units together. Cold pressing seams allow for continued sewing and preparation for hot pressing.

Other Quilt Pressing Considerations

Oliso Iron

Most quilt patterns have pressing instructions for each quilt block. It's important to follow the pattern pressing instructions. 

However, I like to press to reduce fabric bulk as much as possible. Therefore, it is a good idea to make a test quilt block for each pattern. Flat seam allowances make free motion quilting easier. 

Over the years, I have developed a pressing guide when making quilts. I enjoy machine quilting the quilt sandwich and pressing for nice flat seams improves the experience and results.

Quilt Pressing Tips

Pressing seams open using an iron and stiletto
  • press seams open when possible
  • press without folds
  • press, do not iron quilt blocks, ironing distorts
  • press in between each step/stage of machine quilting

Essential & Helpful Pressing Tools

What are essential pressing tools? I guess that depends on individual needs and preferences. Yet, there are basic pressing tools we will have in common, like an iron and ironing board. 

Did you know that even the basic tools are available in different sizes and designed in different configurations for specific purposes?

Some of the pressing tools listed here may be new to you. If they are, watch the video for demonstrations. Some of them are AMAZINGLY helpful.

Cold press with seam roller
  • Iron
  • Ironing Board
  • Mini Iron
  • Stiletto
  • Rubber Mallet
  • Seam Roller
  • Seam Roll
  • Hot Hemmer
  • Hot Ruler

Job Specific Pressing Tools

mini iron with replaceable tips

In quiltmaking, there pressing techniques to improve quilt top construction and pressing tools for specific quilt block patterns, like applique. Listed above are two pressing tools. One is a mini iron with assorted tips for applique and another palm-sized iron as seen in the photo.

For example, the hot hemmer and hot ruler are ideal for pressing hems. Hems are used for bag making, mitered corners on napkins and placemats, and more.

Then there pressing tools to help press curves. A seam roll is perfect for pressing cuffs, and curved seams in quilt blocks.

Which pressing tools are right for you?  

Mini irons for specific pressing tasks

First, get the basics. An iron with multiple heating settings. Setting for commonly used fabrics like polyester, cotton, and silk.

Also, consider your pressing needs and habits. Do you sew and quilt patterns using a dry iron or with steam?

    Some crafters have two irons. One dry iron and one wet iron for water and steam.

    Always follow the manufacturer's instructions for irons to get the best result and iron longevity.

    TIP: Always empty irons designated as "wet" of ALL water when not in use.

    Learn More Pressing Techniques

    Pressing is so important to quiltmaking that it is included in my "10 Steps To Stress Free Machine Quilting" course.

    I struggled with accurate seam allowance, what batting to buy, quilt basting, and more. I love making quilts so I need to make a change if I wanted better and more consistent results. This is why I developed the 10-Step Stress-Free Machine Quilting Plan. It's a proven machine quilting plan, developed over 15 years.

    In this course, you will learn 10-steps for creating a quilting plan that reduces stress and increases confidence. Each step, as outlined in the video above, is discussed in detail in the course.

    Stop winging it! And start winning at machine quilting with an action plan.

    10 steps to stress free machine quilting

    Intentional Students Create

    1. quilt tops ready for machine quilting
    2. an essential and personal quilting tool kit
    3. a list of preferred techniques for predictable results
    4. consistent results that increase confidence
    5. a system to make and finished more quilts

    By the way, if you would like to add some of the pressing tools I use you can find them in my complete Sewing and Quilting Tool list.

    Happy Quilting


    Categories: machine quilting, pressing tools, Quilting tools, sewing tools