This section is from the book "Text-Book On Domestic Art", by Carrie Crane Ingalls. Also available from Amazon: Textbook On Domestic Art: With Illustrations And Drafts.
The use of the iron is the last touch on finished work. It should be taught as soon as the first article is completed. Pressing is simplified by conveniences and shapes of all sorts. The skirt board, the egg or sleeve board, the tailor's pad, the seam board are all necessary for their respective work.
The board must have a smooth, tightened surface of heavy cotton, either bleached or unbleached as sheeting (never a twilled or corded cloth) with a good padding underneath. Tack or fasten this padding to the board as it is not to be removed. Cotton blanketing doubled is recommended for padding. The outer sheet of all should be stretched firm and smooth and never allowed to become so worn and soiled that the padding will also become dingy.
Irons of medium size and weight (7 pounds), either pointed both ends or triangle shape, are used for ordinary pressing. Tailors use a goose iron from 10 to 16 pounds. It is long and narrow with a short, blunt point.
The sleeve iron is very narrow, with a long point in order that it may reach into the gathers of the sleeve. A later design of sleeve iron is made egg shaped with a handle for heating, which rests on a stand about a foot high. The sleeve is then passed quickly over this heated surface. The sleeve board is also long and narrow and is mounted on a base or stand, so the sleeve will slip over it and can be turned on all sides; the ends are rounded, one being larger than the other for the top of sleeve. The entire length of the board is about the length of the average sleeve.
The skirt board is also shaped larger at one end than the other and should be longer than the skirt length. A satisfactory board is l 3/4 yards long by 14 inches at one end and 7 inches at the other.
There should be a stand for the iron together with cloth, wax or paper for cleaning it, and a sponge or cloth for dampening materials used. If too hot, the iron will scorch, if too cool it will smirch and leave a yellow streak. When rusty, clean iron with sand soap or fine sand paper, rubbing over wax or paraffin. With starched and white pieces this is especially necessary. Different materials are treated differently. Cloth with a nap should be pressed the way the nap runs. Silk should not have too hot or heavy an iron, as the stiffness will come out. Serges and woolen goods must not be pressed too heavily or too dry, and never on the right side, without a cloth over it as it becomes "shiny." With some shades of cotton, linen, etc., a chemical action takes place if too hot an iron is applied, and the color can not be restored.