Wooden Pressing Bar Sewing Tool

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    Wooden Pressing Bar - A Sewing Tool

    Photo of a Wooden Pressing Bar for Sewing and Quilting
    A Wooden Pressing Bar for Sewing and Quilting. Debbie Colgrove Licensed to About.com

    A wooden pressing bar is a hard, wood stick that is flattened on one end to "press" fabric. A pressing bar is the perfect tool to keep small fingers from being burned while learning to sew. It's often used by quilters as a convenient, heat free way to press seams while piecing quilt squares together. 

    Unfortunately, a wooden pressing bar does not completely take the place of an iron. However, if you're sewing with children, you can choose to skip the ironing step or have a designated adult be on ironing duty. Pressing seam creases with a wooden pressing tool is a complimentary pre-iron step, and will make seams more crisp and precise. Because of it's ability to increase accuracy in helping to create geometric shapes, the wooden pressing tool is especially enjoyed by quilters.   

    You can buy a wooden pressing tool at your local sewing, craft, or quilting shop. If you don't have a sewing store nearby, you can choose from several pressing tool varieties on Amazon or other online sewing supply websites. If you have extra time to search, you may get lucky and find a wooden pressing tool second-hand at a yard or estate sale. 

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  • 02 of 02

    How to Use a Wooden Seam Pressing Bar

    Photo of a Wooden Seam Pressing Bar for Sewing with an article about how to use a wood pressing bar.
    The process to Create a Baby Hem Using a Wooden Pressing Bar. Debbie Colgrove, Licensed to About.com

    The main purpose of a wooden pressing bar is to make seams more precise and crisp. You'll want to find a hard surface such as a desk or work table for pressing your sewing project. Sometimes it's nice to have firm padding underneath the material like a magazine or foam cutting surface if available. 

    Now that you have a nice work station set up, it's time to give the wooden pressing bar a try Follow the following steps to put your pressing bar to use:

    1. Sew two squares of fabric, right sides together, with a line of stitching a 1/4" from the raw edge.
    2. Using the wooden pressing bar, fold the fabric on the row of stitching bringing the wrong sides together. Press down and drag the pointed edge across the fold in order to make a smooth edge. 
    3. Fold again to enclose the raw edge and press the new fold line with the wooden pressing bar.
    4. Crease the fabric well with the pressing bar. If desired, take the item to the ironing board and press the seam open and flat with the iron.

    The heat of an iron will set the stitching in the fabric and create a stronger crease than the wooden pressing bar can achieve alone. Many times when fabric is preshrunk, it looses the finishing which helps to encourage a crisp, sharp crease. 

    Fortunately, fabric spray starch will not un-do preshrinking but it will help you achieve crisp creases. If your fabric seems limp after preshrinking, iron the fabric using fabric sizing or spray starch before cutting out the pieces for your project. The addition of starch will help the wooden pressing bar create sharp creases which will hold in place until the iron sets the crease.