Tips and Tools Tuesday – Plan Your Pressing

I don’t know about you, but when I start a sewing project, I kind of get into a zone. I find my “groove”, so to speak.

I plan the sewing and the pressing, especially when making several of the same blocks. Or, at least, several of the same type of units that make up the blocks.

The reason I make a plan? Economics. Pure and simple. It saves both time and money.

For instance, I made a nap mat for my granddaughter to use at school. It is made up of snowball blocks. A snowball block is basically a square with triangles sewn onto all four corners. I took a 6″ square and laid a 1 1/2″ square at each corner, lining up the raw edges. Then sewed diagonally across each, folded them up toward the corners, and pressed.


If you use your imagination, it resembles a snowball. Kind of. Sort of. Use your imagination.

Using an assembly line method for my sewing saves time. Less wasted motions. It’s the same with pressing only instead of saving time, it saves electricity. It’s amazing how much electricity an iron uses!

Many years ago, I was working on a particular project and sewing almost daily for a couple of weeks. A couple of weeks later, my husband told me the electric bill had jumped sky high and asked me if I knew what could possibly have caused that. Had I been using something that draws a lot of electricity? I told him that I’d been sewing daily and usually kept the iron on so it was ready when I needed to press something. That had to be it!

I’ve been planning my pressing ever since.

No more shocking electric bills! Yay!

Since that day, I don’t turn the iron on until I’m almost ready to press. It doesn’t take long to heat up (especially my little travel iron) and I press as many seams as I can, then turn it off until I have several more.

Sometimes I forget to turn the iron on until I’m sewing the last seam. When that happens, I just use the heat-up time to trim dog ears, clip threads, finger-press seams, and check for accuracy, etc. There are always little tasks to perform while the iron heats.

Try a little experiment. On a day you plan to sew, go out and take a close look at your electric meter. Watch the little wheel that spins. It’s counting the kilowatt hours you use.  Turn a couple of lights on in the house and take note of the speed at which that little wheel spins.

Now go in and turn on your iron. Yeah, you know what I’m going to say next. Okay, check that little wheel again and see how many kilowatt hours are racking up now! Shocking isn’t it?

With a little pressing planning, you can save big.

Hmmm. More money in your pocket means more money you can spend on fabric, notions, patterns, books… Oh, the possibilities!

Well, as usual, I hope this tip makes your quilting easier. And cheaper!



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