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The Pressing Cloth

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Click to Read MoreYou probably have something in your house right now with potential to become a pressing cloth. A section of an old white cotton bed sheet works fine. The older the better. Just cut it to size and, voila! It's a brand new pressing cloth.

A good pressing cloth is a necessity. It keeps your iron from contact with your fabric to avoid scorching, shiny spots and little stains. It also protects your iron when you use any type iron-on or fusible interfacing.

The Cloth

I like my bed sheet cloths because I can see through the old fabric well enough to tell what's going on under it. From one sheet, I made several cloths: a small cloth about 10-inches x 14-inches, and a large cloth about 12-inches x 30-inches. They come in handy at different times. Some people like to overcast the edges of their pressing cloths, but I leave them as is to prevent unintentionally ironing in a stitch pattern.

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You can also use a clean white cotton tea towel, napkin, or fine linen handkerchief; some people swear by a plain cotton diaper. If you make your own, don't use color-dyed or patterned fabric. You can also buy press cloths at most fabric stores. However you do it, be sure to wash your cloth first to remove any sizing.

Using a Pressing Cloth

A pressing cloth is not necessary for every fabric. Test a scrap of your fabric with your iron; if you get a sheen or a discoloration, you'll want to use your pressing cloth.

You can either lightly dampen your pressing cloth, or use it dry. When using a damp cloth, it's better not to use the steam setting your your iron. It's always a good idea to test your fabric before going too far to be sure the heat setting on your iron is set appropriately.

Press through the cloth onto the wrong side of your fabric. Avoid the right side (pretty side) as much as possible. Press your seams as you sew.


Comments (17)

4Sunshine said:
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I'm new to your website and really love all the information & projects you have on hand.

Only wish I had found it sooner. Will certainly be trying some of of the amazing projects on offer.

Thanks so much !!

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
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4Sunshine - Welcome aboard! We'll be excited to see which projects you choose to make -- keep us posted. We hope you'll come back often... and bring all your friends!

Carrie said:
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I just discovered your wonderful website!!  I have bookmarked your awesome website!  Thanks so much for sharing your talent and information.  

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture

@Carrie - Thank you so much, and welcome aboard. We hope you come back often... and bring all your friends.

Wendy K Ford said:
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Thank so much for this post. Very useful information for this textile painter who has had a few mishaps.

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
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@Wendy -- this is one of our earliest article; we're glad to know it's still out there helping.

CristinaP said:
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Thank you for posting these ideas/instructions on here. Weeks ago, I pressed an appliqued quilt block and accidentally scorched it. :(  So tonight I made my own pressing cloths with similar dimensions as yours, and I can already tell, it's going to save me tons of trouble at the ironing board. Thank you, again!

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
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@CristinaP - Ohhhh - ironing mistakes are so awful - we're glad to have helped you with an easy fix. 

kiki998 said:
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What temperature should you use to wash a store bought pressing cloth. The one i bought is 100% cotton?

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture

@ kiki998 - If it's just cotton, you can treat it like a regularpiece of cotton fabric and wash on warm and tumble dry. 

Mary Ann said:
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Thanks everyone for your comments, I had to look up the word to find out what it mean, when I did I knew all alone guess just had to refreshing my memorise.

Bead Lady said:
Bead Lady's picture

You can also use a bedskirt as they are usually white and see through. If you don't have an old one, you can pick one up at your local Goodwill for about 2 dollars! Thanks for your tips, they were very helpful.

JS said:
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I've been using old cotton napkins for press cloths for years.  They work great, the softer and more worn the better.

de roi ltd said:
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been using a sheet and old  pillow cases for yrs. plus nice size  remnant of muslin is useful too. very nice and useful website. glad i found it today. had emergency and found answer. thanks again. have bookmarked!!!!

Mike Calo said:
Mike Calo's picture
Exactly what I wanted to know and more! I thought - after ruining a good uniform shirt - that I probably should have used a pressing cloth; I just didn't know what to use, so I started using an old dress shirt. unfortunately I couldn't see through it, so your advice on using a well-worn piece of material for visibility is spot-on (just not on my uniform shirts any more :-) )
Mary Benson said:
Mary Benson's picture
Thank you--this is exactly what I needed to know. I need to heat-set a painted fabric, and was very apprehensive about what to use for a press cloth. You have set my mind at ease. I especially liked knowing about not hemming the edges to avoid pressing that stitching into the item being ironed! Thanks so much.
Nikon Eyewear Sunglasses said:
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You have a very good site, well constructed and very interesting i have bookmarked you hopefully you keep posting new stuff, many thanks.