More Tools From the Pressinatrix’ Arsenal

Darlings, The Pressinatrix’ alter ego is still down with some sort of nasty flu bug, but your Pressinatrix will attempt to press on (oh, The Pressinatrix does so amuse herself!) to make sure you are all well versed in the tools that will whip your garments into professionally finished shape. To whit:

The Pressinatrix must have her tools handy at all times

From left to right, you see:
Stitch Nerd Contoured Ham and Stand: Patsijean, that bad girl, stole a bit of The Pressinatrix’ thunder, but being the (mostly) benevolent Pressinatrix that I am, I shall forgive her. This once. Indeed, when The Pressinatrix commented that they don’t make ’em like that any more, she was referring to Dritz specifically. There is a company that makes ’em like that: Stitch Nerd. Darlings, your Pressinatrix cannot tell you how thrilled she was to find Stitch Nerd. If you want a wonderful ham, look no further. Stitch Nerd also makes sleeve rolls. This particular ham is the Contoured Ham. Bearing more of a resemblance to a ham on the bone, this type of ham has every conceivable curve, giving you greater control over your pressing. You can order hams in any combination of wool/cotton. You can also order (as The Pressinatrix did) a ham holder, which allows you to position your ham any which way while keeping both hands free for pressing.

Shoulder Stand: If you make jackets, dresses, tops, or anything else with sleeves, this is a fabulous tool to have on hand! Simply place your garment over it, and steam/press away to achieve the perfect, pucker-free shoulder opening that is the envy of all. The Pressinatrix purchased hers from This Etsy Vendor.

Point Presser/Clapper: this is a marvelous little tool that combines a clapper (see my previous post for more on clappers) with a prow-shaped tool that has a long, narrow surface tapering to a point at one end. This is an absolute necessity for getting a proper press on any sharp angle, like collars and mitred corners.

June Tailor Tailor Board: Such a boring, generic name for such a useful piece of equipment! Really, The Pressinatrix would have named it something interesting and pithy, but she was not asked. This wooden tool, which looks like a combination anvil and painter’s palette, has curves, points, and surfaces for pressing every manner of nook and cranny. June Tailor, alas, no longer makes these, but they are readily available on eBay, and Nancy’s Notions appears to have them in stock.

Velvaboard: This plush little blanket is a must-have tool if you work with velvet or napped fabrics. It allows you to press them without leaving the dreaded imprint. Simply place your velvet, napped side down, on the board and gently press. The napped fibers from your fabric will sink into the napped fibers of the Velvaboard, giving you a good press without marks. Made by June Tailor, it appears that this tool is also no longer manufactured, though it shows up frequently on eBay, and I just saw one for sale on Etsy. You can also use a high-quality, high-loft towel to press your velvets.

Sleeve Board: If you make shirts or pants, or dolls clothes or items for small children, this is an invaluable tool. It looks like a double-sided ironing board in miniature. It’s just the right size for pressing cuffs and sleeves, as well as pant legs. The one you see in this picture has been in The Pressinatrix’ possession since the 1980s. The Pressinatrix also has one of more recent vintage at the office. These are readily available at most sewing stores. The Pressinatrix does not recommend the types of sleeve boards that have fold-down stands. The stand gets in the way, and can defeat the utility of the sleeve board. The Pressinatrix recommends boards like the one you see here, which have boards long enough to fit most or all of a sleeve, with a brace at one end.

Well my darlings, there you see The Pressinatrix’ current arsenal of tools for whipping one’s garment into shape. Hopefully this gives you impetus and inspiration to get out there and press press press!

Remember – Pressing is sewing!

The Pressinatrix.

7 thoughts on “More Tools From the Pressinatrix’ Arsenal”

  1. Laura Doubek-Kraft says:

    I have most of the same tools, so I feel pretty good about my pressing skills! And speaking of making an imPRESSion, I always have the image from your article in Threads, of the unpressed garment and the nicely pressed garment… keeps me from skimping on my ironing time while sewing.

  2. SusanB says:

    Dear Miss Pressinatrix,
    Would it be possible for you to give us poor semi-pressed folks a tutorial on pressing jersey knits?
    Ever so appreciative,
    the Great Unpressed

    1. Gorgeous Fabrics says:

      Pressing knits is not very different from pressing wovens. The only real difference is you need not use as much pressure on jerseys as you do on, say, gabardine. You can Click Here to see a video how-to by The Pressinatrix.

  3. Shams says:

    An excellent series!

  4. sewsy says:

    I concur! An excellent series! Thanks Ann. 🙂

  5. Tambira says:

    W-o-W. I have ham envy. Mine isn’t that big, I want a big one.
    Also the length of that Velaboard!!!!! Mine, passed down and still good, is a lot smaller. It works great but very time consuming for larger projects…I want a big one of those too.
    Thank you for this, I enjoy reading about the details of sewing and the process that help make all the difference between “well made” and “home made”. This is how my grandma would have put it.
    Also, I love the term “Pressanatrix”, pressing and ironing are an exact art/skill form!

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