Monday, October 29, 2012

Pressing Wool


This is the second post on my wool coat project. I show the fabric and sketch for my coat sewing project (here) and I thought I would stop and demonstrate how I like to flatten 'puffy' seams in wool. It's lots of fun too!
First off, here is the bodice front dart. The shadow of that seamline shows up, and it would be nicer if it didn't, so I need to press it flat.
I use a water mister to dampen the wool fabric. How much water? Enough to bead up on the fabric surface should be fine.
Next, I cover the area with a linen tea towel. If you have a press cloth, you can use that too, of course. I have used different linen or cotton fabrics as a press cloth, even a handkerchief can work in a pinch. You should be able to feel the sewn seam under this cloth.
Now I set my hot iron on top. I use the wool setting. This method of pressing wool with water and press cloth is great for any type of wool garment, even sweaters. A vintage garment can be pressed this way and hung up damp to dry and it will look new again.

To continue flattening a seamline, I look for steam rising from the wool under it as it heats up. After maybe 15 seconds, I lift the iron and....
SLAM a brick down over the dart. Really? Yes!

Actually, I also have a nice wooden 'clapper' made for this task as well. You can use a short length of a pine 2X4, or a brick. Slamming down this instrument forces the steam through the wool fabric. It also flattens the seam.
Here you can see the brick imprint (hahaha)
When I lift the linen, notice how nicely the dart has flattened down. It looks so smooth and clean now. You may have noticed that this is a different seam. I used this technique for all darts and seamlines on this wool coat.

I hope you get a chance to try steaming wool. It is amazing how nicely wool will press, if you take the time to get it damp and use a press cloth too.

MATCHING woven lines in a diagonal seamline.
When I sew with pinstripes, or any fabric with woven lines, I pin baste along the seam line first. Then I open it up like you see here to be sure the pin stripes meet up. If they match, the lines will create a chevron down the seam line. This is the shoulder seam for the kimono sleeve. I won't be able to match the side seams because the geometry changes and the grain lines are not equal.

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