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Sewing with Style Message Board › Steam presses: any experience?

Steam presses: any experience?

Anna N.
Anna_Nguyen
Austin, TX
Post #: 3
Hiya all,

I've been considering buying a large steam press, like the "Singer Steam Press ESP-2", for the longest time
(but not as long as the time I've spent considering getting a serger! smile ). I've been reluctant to get one
because despite all the feedback/reviews, I still wonder whether a steam press would be capable of 1. speeding
up my ironing and 2. generate the kind of pressure that would press clothes like the laundry places can.

Does anybody have any personal experience with owning/using a steam press? Thanks!

--
Andy
Antoinette P.
user 4688389
Austin, TX
Post #: 15
Sorry Andy, I had a steam press in a hotel room once, but was too intimidated (and busy) to use it. Keep us posted if you take the leap. :)
A former member
Post #: 1
Hi Andy,

I have had an Elna Press for many years and rarely use it. It does press shirts beautifully, and is great for pressing blocks of fabric (eg..great for interfacing, quilt blocks, T-shirt appliques, handkerchiefs etc). However, it is hard to manipulate clothing on the presser (because of the hinge on the back holding the upper part of the presser) and I frequently wound up burning the top of my hands. I wish I had spent the $700+ on fabric instead.

If you want my two cents worth of advice: Get a serger first. I love mine and use it all the time. I can't imagine modern day sewing without it. Make sure you get a serger with a covered stitch - you won't regret it.

Zelia (Zen)
Roseana A.
sewrose
Austin, TX
Post #: 1
Andy,

You are correct in thinking those clamshell presses are created for pressing your clothes at home. In particular, mens' shirts come out looking very nice. I don't know how many pounds of pressure they generate once they are closed and locked, but it's way more than you can generate yourself just by pressing down on the ironing board with an iron. Your results are best when the garment is damp when you put it in the press. (That's how they do it at the professional laundry.) I would say you could get close-to-professional results, but as others have mentioned, those presses pose a hazard!

We sewists find those home machines useful when we want to fuse things bigger than the bottom of our iron to fabric. It's great when you want to block fuse a large piece of interfacing to your fashion fabric, such when you're making a tailored jacket. Or maybe you have several pieces of appliqué you want to adhere to your fabric with fusible web before you sew it. That's what I use mine for, anyway.

I got my used ElnaPress on eBay a few years ago, and I'm sure if you're diligent you could also get something second-hand. That said, I think a second-hand serger should maybe be first on the list, unless your ironing is really important! : -0 A serger with a coverstitch is great, but a lot of lower-priced machines don't have that feature. It's no big deal, there are ways to still get nice-looking results without it.

For the uninitiated, a coverstitch is a double or triple row of stitches on a hem. If you check the hem of a RTW T-shirt, you'll likely see a double row of stitches on the front side, and on the back is a stretchy, serged chainstitch.

Roseana

Anna N.
Anna_Nguyen
Austin, TX
Post #: 4
Thanks for all the great information! I have seen reviews where the user mentioned the hazard of scorched knuckles. It's great to hear that the press can press with quite a bit of pressure.

As for a serger: if I ever get one, I would probably spring for one with a covered stitch. OTOH, I've managed with a 30-year old Singer's straight and zig-zag stitches for the life of the machine, I may be too old to learn a new trick!
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