A bad stitcher can press away many mistakes, but a good stitcher who doesn't press will have lumpy unpolished looking projects. Apart from your sewing machine, your iron is really a Stitcher's best friend
When choosing an iron, you need to have a little bit of weight to the iron. You are "pressing" not ironing. I find ceramic sole-plates are easy to clean should you get gunk there. You don't need to spend a fortune, but don't expect the £5 Argos iron to do the job either.
Couple of my fav irons
Your ironing board choice is also important. I like a large board, and i usually add an additional layer of foam under the cover to give a nice thick pressing surface. Ironing board covers get marked and scorched. Generally you want to replace a scorched board to prevent transfer onto your lovely new sewing project. I have spent some time over the years attempting to remove the horrid brown transfer from newly pressed items.
Once you've got your iron and board, I suggest cutting up some old muslin/lightweight cotton to use as a pressing cloth. You can buy these as a gadget, but personally I think it's a con! Pressing cloths are very useful when you don't want fabric to go shiny/melt or scorch. I usually use one when pressing a garment on the right side.
I am a self confessed gadget- aholic. For home stitchers however I really do recommend the following 2 gadgets.
A tailors ham- Used for pressing all differently sized curves. My best friend.....
This is my ham in use pressing the bust darts on a fitted bombshell Dress
My other favourite pressing gadget that I really do recommend purchasing is a sleeve board. I have a vintage one that I love, but if space is tight get a collapsable one, that should only set you back about £10.
Sleeve boards are great for pressing hems, sleeve seams and all those tricky places you can't get to on your regular ironing board
My sleeve board in action pressing a sleeve cuff
After taking these pictures I have made my sleeve board a new cover. I used the good bits from a scorched ironing board cover i was replacing. Waste not, want not......