Monday, August 12, 2013

Are You "Over-Using" Your Iron?

Thanks to all of you who have began following my blog. I look forward to giving you insight (and tips) into my world of tailoring. Now would be a great time to start. Allow me to share my insights to you on an important sewing tool---the iron. Now you already know how important an iron is in gaining professional results. My studio is outfitted with a gravity feed steam iron. As much as I love my iron and recognize how critical it is in getting professional results, I don’t actually don’t press after every sewn seam.

Now this may seem strange to some of you since you were taught/trained to practically press after you sew every seam. But as a Master Tailor, I’ve found this kind of practice is extremely time consuming and impractical. I stress this to all of my students.  If I got up to press ever seam when making a pair of pants with pockets and fly front, then it would take me 2 to 3 times as long then the normal 90 minutes it takes me (15 min for just the pocket and zipper and the remaining 75 minutes for completing the pants (adding waistband, belt loops, etc .) With good sewing and fabric handling techniques (using your fingers to firmly hold down seams) it's not necessary to press after every sewing step. When making pants I actually do all of my pressing at the very end. So I end up pressing the fly front, pockets and side and inner seams all in one shot. Can you see how that saves time? Again good sewing skills and fabric handling pretty much are the reasons why. And before you give me the bewildered look I definitely must mention that there are always exceptions to this rule. Of course if I'm tailoring a jacket I'll have to press the interfacing ahead of time and if I was working with an unruly fabric pressing would likely be necessary to control the fabric better. And of course if there is a series of intersecting seams it’s likely necessary to press them. And there are many other exception. But for the most part I'm strategic with my pressing and by consolidating those steps I'm able to finish sewing clothing faster without sacrificing great results. Give it a try. See if you can reduce your trips to the iron, retain your garment quality and as a result finish sewing projects much faster!!!


  1. Wow! Great advice. thanks for sharing tips.

  2. Thank you for the tips, after listening to your introduction I am looking forward to learning more.

  3. This is shocking news for me...but I will give it a try.

    1. Totally shocking, almost blasphemy. :)
      However, it is also eminently sensible. I won't feel so blasphemous when I do this from now on. Thanks.

  4. Hello Mr Jim,

    I love your blog and am interested in your 15 minute pants technique. Is this in your video?

    Looking forward to learning from you.

  5. Hello MV Pierson, so glad to hear from you. I realized that I didn't mention specifically that the 15 minute construction is for pockets and fly fronts. It takes me about 90 minutes to construct the whole pant especially if there's features like belt carriers, back pockets etc. Please forgive my mistake. My DVD doesn't show how I construct pants but I'm planning to release one that does. My current DVD does focus on how to do common clothing alterations and is definitely a great resource of information.

  6. Hi Jim! Can you elaborate a little on what you mean by "good fabric handling techniques"? I have a friend who's mom was a tailor for a long time, and I've seen her just flatten out a seam with her hands before stitching the next part of the garment. Is this the type of thing you're referring to?