Is There a Difference Between Ironing and Pressing?

Ironing and Pressing

Is There a Difference Between Ironing and Pressing?

At Stitch It, we’re committed to helping our customers look their absolute best no matter what they’re wearing, and we also want to teach you how to look your best, which requires a solid education. You’ve likely heard of both ironing and pressing and thought that the two are the same. Take a moment to fill in the blanks and learn the specifics of the two so you know how best to take care of your wardrobe and your look.


One of the first things to know about pressing is that it’s commonly used while sewing and items that have a stitch rather than on clothes you buy off the rack. Pressing also involves simply pressing the iron down on the material and lifting it back up rather than moving it back and forth or side to side.

By pressing garments as you sew them, you give them a more professional appearance and make it that much more difficult for other people to tell if you made the item or bought it off a designer rack. Pressing also makes it easier for you to set and finish seams as well as stabilize them while you’re working. Another great thing about pressing is that you’re better able to mix stitches into the fabric and take care of any puckering that occurred while you were sewing.

When pressing material on your own, you want to do so on the back side of the fabric so that you don’t accidentally harm the other side of the material. For those times when you aren’t able to press the back side of the material, use a pressing cloth as a protective measure. Finally, avoid pressing your iron against pins, as doing so can leave little indentations in the fabric or scratch up your iron.


Ironing is best for finished articles of clothing that have wrinkles you wish to take care of. Unlike with pressing, you do want to move the iron back and forth over the fabric to smooth out the material. You’ll want to know the best way to iron your clothes; otherwise, you might end up with more wrinkles than what you started out with. We also recommend that you iron collars, hems and cuffs on the “wrong side” so that you don’t make the fabric “pucker.”

Always make sure you read the tags on your clothes before ironing them so you know which temperature setting to use, information that can go a long way in avoiding accidental (and unnecessary) damage to your favorite shirt or pair of slacks. It helps if you sort your clothes out before ironing in order from lowest to highest temperature setting.

For all of its benefits, you want to make sure you don’t over-iron your clothes. Over time, your garments can start to become frayed due to the combination of heat and pressure. Consider using a combination of a garment steamer and iron to make your clothes last as long as possible.

Want to learn more about pressing and ironing, or even a few things about garment steamers? Reach out to us here at Stitch It.

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