WHAT IS IT?
A press cloth is a cloth placed in between the iron and the garment to protect the fabric when pressing (page link). You can buy premade press cloths, but you can easily make your own by cutting a piece of fabric and finishing the edges.
Pressing with a press cloth
WHEN DO YOU USE IT?
Press (page link) with a press cloth when the surface of your fabric could be ruined by the iron. Wool fabrics can turn shiny when pressed, so a press cloth is especially useful when pressing wool. A press cloth can also reduce the heat that gets through to the fabric, protecting the surface from scorching. If your iron has buildup or glue from fusible interfacing on the plate, a press cloth will keep the garment protected from that, as well, when you don’t have time to clean the iron.
WHAT FABRICS MAKE GOOD PRESS CLOTHS?
Unbleached cotton muslin is a good choice for a press cloth. It’s durable, strong and can withstand heat and steam. It’s easy to find in most fabric stores, and it’s inexpensive. If you only have one press cloth, a muslin one is a good choice.
Bedsheets or pillowcases can be used as press cloths. A linen tea towel will also make a good press cloth because it’s lightweight, can withstand heat and steam and is easy to wash. If there’s an embroidery or design on the towel, you’ll be able to easily tell the right side of the cloth. (Just don’t press on top of the embroidery as it will leave an impression on your fabric.) Linen fabrics can be used for press cloths as well.
Silk organza is a popular choice because it’s smooth and lightweight, drapes well and is mostly transparent, so it’s easy to see your work through the press cloth. However, it may be hard to find silk organza in your local fabric store.
Use a wool press cloth for pressing wool garments to keep them from getting shiny. Cut a scrap piece of fabric from your leftover project fabric, if available, and use it as a press cloth.
HOW TO MAKE A PRESS CLOTH
Prewash your press cloth fabric (page link) a couple of times so all of the finishing chemicals are removed. Cut a large piece of fabric, about 20″ × 20″ (50.8cm × 50.8cm). The measurements don’t have to be exact. If you are using leftover fabric or garment fabric, try to get as large of a piece as you can cut. My sample cloths are about 12″ (30.5cm) square.
Finish the edges of the fabric. If you serge (page link) the edges, serge with the same side up to make it easier to tell which side is the right side of the cloth. Does it really matter? It does if you end up getting adhesive from fusible interfacing (page link) on the cloth. Having one side designated as the right side keeps all of the glue only on one side and never against your project. Round the edges to avoid serger tails and to make sewing faster. If you don’t have a serger, pink the edges (page link).
Cover the seam with the press cloth, and press!
You can also use the press cloth to prevent seam allowances from showing through on the right side. Fold the press cloth and tuck it under the seam allowance. Press with the cloth underneath the seam allowance. (This also works with strips of paper.)
Tips + Notes
- If you notice the press cloth is dirty or stained, wash it! Don’t take a chance on ruining your next project.
- A smaller press cloth may be easier to manage than a big one.
- Sew a loop or ribbon to one side of your cloth so it’s easy to hang.
Source : The Sewtionary An A to Z Guide to 101 Sewing Techniques + Definitions
About the Author : Tasia ST. Germaine