All You Need To Know About The Difference Between Ironing And Pressing

When examining a seamstress’s work area, one will more than likely notice an ironing board in addition to the sewing materials and machine. The majority of beginners are more than likely unaware that one will require an iron and ironing board when creating garments or household items; however, the ironing board is an essential part of any sewing project.


Here is a quick video that explains the difference between these two techniques. I highly suggest you watch them first before reading along the article so this post would make more sense to you. *wink*

Yet, despite the ironing board being essential one does not complete ironing, but rather pressing. This article will provide information about the difference between pressing and ironing in sewing.

Pressing is very similar to ironing in that it utilizes both the ironing board and the iron itself; however, it is different in that it is pressing on a specific area of the garment instead of across the complete garment. Both acts require an iron; however, it is pressing that is conducted during the sewing project. Ironing is only completed after the garment is finished to remove any wrinkles or bunching in the material.

Another difference between ironing and pressing is the manner in which the iron is used. Ironing requires a full pushing down on the iron board and material; whereas pressing requires a hovering of the iron to a specific area of the material. This pressing technique is also an effective means of de-wrinkling the fabric, but it is used to assist the effective sewing procedure. It assists in creating a smooth fabric which contributes to straight stitching.

When ironing or pressing material, particularly a garment, it is important that one be aware of the ‘right’ side and ‘wrong’ side of the fabric. The wrong side does not suggest an inappropriate side, but is the side where the stitching can be viewed. The right side is the side that is on display to others (i.e. the side without visible stitching). If pressing the fabric, one will most likely be pressing the wrong side to open seams and complete darts. Ironing is generally conducted on the right side dependent on the type of material used.

When beginning sewing, the concept of pressing and ironing may be foreign; however, sewing patterns are available to assist in showing the correct method of pressing. While patterns generally identify pressing at specific times in the project, it is recommended that one press the item after each seam completed. It is not necessary to press each seam immediately after completion, but it is advised that one press material before joining two seams.

As is mentioned above, the pressing of material assists in smoothing out the material and contributes to straight stitching. The pressing will also assist in ‘setting’ stitches or settling stitches. This is especially important to press darts and pleats to create a professional appearance.

As can be seen, there is a great deal of knowledge to be acquired before one can begin a successful sewing project. The information above should assist in denoting the difference between pressing and ironing, which will help the attainment of a professional sewn item.

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