Take your pressing to perfection by learning how a wool mat, quilters clapper, mist bottle and iron can leave you with perfect quilt seams.
Pressing is one of those steps in quilting that makes a huge difference in the finished product. You may not realize the difference good pressing makes, until you have tried it! I didn’t think my quilt blocks needed fancy steps at first. Actually, I didn’t even press half of my seams on those early quilt blocks. I have changed that and now I wouldn’t dream of sewing together a quilt top that wasn’t pressed!
Must Have Pressing Tools
- Hot Iron
- Quilter’s or Tailor’s Clapper
- Mist Bottle
- Wool Pressing Mat
The star of my show is obviously my Oliso iron. This is my second full size Oliso. I had been gifted one of the blue ones when they first came out, and that was my upgraded quilting iron. I wore that thing out! Technically, it still works, a little spitty with water and sometimes spotty with heat. It’s still used in our house, it just got demoted to the laundry iron upstairs and my sewing area was upgraded with a new Oliso Pro! I also have the mini for travel or for small little projects. Sometimes I don’t want to get the big thing out.
My block piecing setup is a board I created on top of my ever so popular these days craft cart. They originated at IKEA, but you can get them pretty much anywhere now. I got mine at Michaels and also got the wooden topper for it.
I “borrowed” a piece of scrap wood from my husband’s workshop and covered it in quilt batting and then in the thick purple wool. The wool actually came from my grandmother from pants she made at least 50 years ago! This is just to add a little wider stability to my cart as I made it the same size as my wool pressing mat.
The wool mat goes on top of that. This mat is the natural New Zealand wool pressing mat, you can get it from Amazon, or I’m sure a lot of quilt shops carry them.
The beauty of the wool cutting mat is in how it works (not how it smells!) Wool is an insulating fiber. That’s why so many winter items are wool. It sucks in the heat from the iron and holds onto it. Therefore, your block is actually getting pressed from both sides! This obviously is assisting with getting the seams to lay flat.
With getting the seams to lay flat as the ultimate goal in this process, my other go to step is my mist bottle. I got this one from Stitch Supply Co. The way it sprays a continuous mist over the fabric is so nice! I actually never put water in my iron, I just use the bottle!
Now I’m ready to press. Press, not iron. And this is not a pressing tutorial, I’m not going to talk about nesting seams and pressing to the right or left or open, that’s for another post. Press as you would typically for the block.
As soon as you are finished with the pressing, immediately place your quilter’s clapper/tailor’s clapper on the seam. As the wool is absorbing and holding onto all of the heat, the clapper is absorbing the heat in its own way. The heat is being trapped in the fabric and wool instead of being let go in the air. As the fabric is cooling, with the weight of the clapper it gets super flat.
The block on the left was sprayed with the mist bottle, pressed for 30 seconds and then followed by the clapper. The piece on the left was pressed for 20 seconds, nothing else. You can easily see the difference!!
Do you use any of these pressing tools? Which is your favorite? Are you using something else that I don’t even know about that’s life changing???
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