Oh Sew Pressing

When I first started sewing doll clothes I realized that pressing was essential to the garments make and coming out how I imagined it. I bought all kinds of aids and tried all sorts of stuff.

For instance, I got one of those tiny hand-held irons that have more in common with a soldering tool than and iron. It might work for quilters to whom it is advertised to, but without steam I found it useless. Years ago Panasonic made a small steam iron the was sold to stichers. It had a great slim body and very pointy tip. It was purple. I just don’t know what I did with mine, it must have gone missing with one of my moves. I got another iron that I used so didn’t realize it was missing until I started working with dolls clothes again.

Naomoto Hi-SteamSo with no chance of finding a small iron, it meant I needed to develop some tools and find some new tools that would work. As you can see this is what I am using now. I have a heated Reliable vacuum/up draft board for pressing. I use a Naomoto Hi-Steam gravity feed steam iron now.   I took my Dritz sleeve board, which is nice and narrow but was a folding affair that wouldn’t stay put, and Dritz sleeve board remademade a new one in wood. I just traced the shape of the old board on to some pine and cut it to shape. I reused the Dritz covers. Now the board is very sturdy.

Another wonderful pressing tool I use is something I bought in a garage sale when I was twenty. To tell you the truth I didn’t really know what it was but thought it was used in tailoring. I got it for 50 cents. I have since found out it is a tailor’s point. I have since seen a “June Tailor Board” on Ebay which is about the same. It is very nice and has a lot more curves. It would be wonderful for tailoring. This one works perfect for me and I findTailors Point I only use the point so no need for the extra curves.

This next group of items are just things I already had that work great for getting into the tight spaces of dolls clothes. The 2 metal bits, are guides from Clover. I think they were for pocket corners, and the other one I have no idea what it was for. I love the bamboo pressing stick, and the bamboo sewing stick. I also use a chop stick, and large tapestry needle for turning things right side out and pulling the little corner into shape on collars and lapels. ThPressing Aidse long nose tweezers come in handy as well.  I didn’t take a picture but I also use two types of spaghetti turners, and I do use those a lot.

At the top of this photo you will see some quilters pressing bars. I have no idea why I got them but they come in very handy when the bamboo pressing tool just won’t fit. They also make quick work of pressing spaghetti. The next items are made by me with just some wood dowels, polar fleece and taffeta. I call them my pressing sticks and I use these to bust my seams when they are already Pressing sticksclosed up, as in sleeves and pant legs. You could use a plain wooden dowel, but the batting makes them nice for pushing into the sleeve cap.  Since I needed to refresh my set, I thought you might like my pattern. So please download the PDF pattern and directions for my pressing sticks.

Last but not least is this darning egg. It’s made from wood, and it comes in so handy for pressing and shaping things. I am lucky as I can use both ends. Darning eggI also have a marble egg for darning but it didn’t work as a pressing aid. So look around the thrift store and that garage sale, you never know what you might come up with. If you have a favorite tool I would love to hear about it. I am always trying to improve my skills.

How to make a pressing stick

Pressing stick pattern


  1. The pressing sticks really caught my attention – tend to use the limbs of a part-finished rag doll (there’s usually at least one unfinished rag-doll sat in my sewing room at any given time) but I can see I’ll have to
    make some proper pressing sticks, since you’ve gone to the trouble of providing instructions.


    • Hi Teddy,
      So glad to hear from you. Yes, these are simple to make and such a help in the sewing room. I love mine, and have made them a few times. This latest version is using a taffeta as the covering and it helps so much when trying to press a tiny coat sleeve. My others were muslin and would stick going into the sleeve.

      • That’s a problem I have with using the rag-doll limbs – the cotton sticks instead of sliding into place – I definitely need some taffeta covered sticks.