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Irons are used to shape fabric. Most people have used irons when flattening out wrinkles, but they are just as useful when shaping a shoulder seam into a nice curve over a tailor’s ham, when setting a seam so it lies open and flat, and when making a permanent fold on an edge- for instance on a collar of a shirt or the hem on a pair of pants.

They can also be used to restore the shine in silk that has been wetted, to attach fusible interfacing to fabric, to “set” fabric paint, and a myriad of other tasks. Many skilled tailors spend at least as much time pressing as sewing.

It’s important to match the temperature of the iron to the fabric being pressed. For some fabrics steam will help, for others it will

It’s best practice to allow the fabric to cool after pressing and before removing it from the board or form. Think of pressing as molding fabric. Just as when molding clay or chocolate or anything else the shape isn’t set until the object dries and returns to room temperature. With a good ironing board which dissipates heat well this shouldn’t take a great deal of time.

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