Just Add Water

Ironing water

Water is water, isn’t it? Not when it comes to sewing! Or should I say, pressing your sewing. You do press all your seams during construction, don’t you?

I’ve been considering this admittedly niche topic lately, having bought a bottle of scented water to fill the tank in my iron. I haven’t invested in any of this for years, largely because I find the scent very chemical. But I thought I’d give it a go. Normally, I use pre-boiled water to fill my iron.

There are myriad options out there:

  • Water straight from the tap – be careful if you live in a hard water area
  • Pre-boiled and cooled water
  • Bottled water
  • Tap water in a spray bottle
  • Starch spray – can leave chalky residue
  • Ironing water – smells like chemical flowers
  • Easy Iron Spray
  • Dampened press cloths

The list goes on and on!

use of the iron

Steam or water spray can make a massive difference when pressing open wool seams. A wooden clapper helps hold the steam into the fabric – check out my popular Youtube video about using a clapper here.

clapper ii

And then there are the times when you don’t want any moisture at all. When pressing silk, for example, which is vulnerable to permanent water stains.

I used to think ironing was simple. But then, I used to think water was just – well – water. Shows what I know.


A note on the difference between pressing and ironing: ironing involves pressure and friction as your iron glides across the fabric. Pressure alone is used during pressing – you place your iron on one section of fabric, lift the iron and place it back down on a new section. No gliding. Sorted? Sorted!