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Tips & Techniques > Pressing Polyester

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Posted by: SewVeryTall

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Posted on: 1/11/07 8:47 AM
Review Rating: Helpful by 7 people   Very Helpful by 13 people   
I've seen many comments on the boards about pressing polyester fabric...they can't get their seams to press open, nice and flat. I think I know what the problem is....

Iron manufacturers may be erring on the side of caution. I sure know that my iron falls in this category. In other words, when they calibrate the temperature dial with the heating element, they choose to keep the heat lower, as opposed to as high as possible.

My iron has these settings:

[1] Acetate, Silk

[2] Acrylic, Nylon

[3] Polyester, Rayon

[4] Cotton Blends

[5] Wool

[6] Cotton

[7] Linen

If I set my iron on [3], it won't press 100% polyester worth a hoot. It's like I forgot to turn the iron on. I pushed the setting up to 4, then 4 1/2, and tested on scraps of my fabric [polyester satin charmeuse]. It pressed beautifully!

Testing is very important. Don't skip this test.

Tip...if by chance, your test scrap of polyester actually melts because your iron is too hot, just iron [hot iron] over a 'fabric softener dryer sheet' [new or used] to remove the gunk from your iron.

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SouthernStitch said... (1/25/07 3:44 PM) Reply
Great tip, and so true. I could not understand how RTW poly is pressed and we can't?? Didn't make sense. I have never had trouble due to bumping it up!
Linda G said... (1/15/07 8:45 AM) Reply
You are right on the temp settings, some irons out there don't get hot enough to iron linen, even though that is one of their settings...Black and Decker being one of them, I have had a couple of them and they are all the same. I love my rowenta. I never knew about the dryer sheet, I am going to try that today, I have some gunk on the bottom of my iron, tried to iron polyester felt....warning need a low setting!!
Peggym said... (1/13/07 6:31 PM) Reply
Didn'y know about removing the gunk. Very helpful
Everyday Sewist said... (1/13/07 4:41 PM) Reply
I'm quite daring (or perhaps careless) when it comes to pressing--I only use the "cotton" setting. If I'm pressing a more "delicate" fabric, I use steam and a press cloth. So far, I've never had a problem. (Though I'd probably be more cautious with very expensive or special fabrics.) My rationale is that in the olden days, people didn't have "settings" on their irons. They just heated them until they were "hot", and used steam and press cloths as needed.
meanjean said... (1/13/07 4:31 PM) Reply
I've had this same experience, so I also bump up the heat to the next notch. And while it makes no sense to me, steam seems to help, maybe because steam, by definition, is quite hot. I'd echo the suggestion of testing. Also, I find that using a clapper, along with the steam and higher heat, can really make colors and fronts nice and crisp.
slanden99 said... (1/12/07 12:41 PM) Reply
You are absolutely right. I usually press with my iron set to one setting higher than recommended because it gives me better results.
PVA said... (1/12/07 11:14 AM) Reply
I've noticed this too. I kind of hedge my bets when I bump it up with a press cloth. I thank you for both tips -- this is a great "too-fer"!
Helen near Sydney said... (1/12/07 3:29 AM) Reply
Hmmm, I think you might be right.
j222b said... (1/11/07 12:51 PM) Reply
Thanks! This is really two tips (iron poly & remove gunk) for the "price" of reading one tip. ;-)
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