Pressing. Ironing. It's kind of an inside joke among sewing people: "you know you're a quilter if your iron is always set up, but you don't press your clothes". At Love Sew, we have pretty strong feelings when it comes to pressing, namely, using the best tools for pressing to get the best level of flat seams.
There are the obvious things that make pressing easier and more effective. We especially LOVE our wool pressing mats and don't mind shouting about it (they also happen to be a top seller in our shop). But that is for another story (-;
It's about a tool I hadn't ever heard of until it came to Love Sew. One of those times you say to yourself, "how did I live without this?". It's a clapper and it takes the place of piling books or your cell phone, or whatever clutter you have laying around, on top of pieced blocks to make them lay flat. It sounds simple, and it is, but it's also life changing (for pressing, that is).
You know how the wool mat heats up with your iron? it gives you extra heat and humidity and makes pressing easier. The wool mat is actually amplifying your, and the iron's, efforts. With the clapper, we can harness that power and make our piecing even flatter.
Here's what you do: Sew two pieces of fabric together and bring them to your pressing mat. Press the fabric with your iron as usual, but right after, while the piece is still warm and you move on to press the next piece, place the clapper on top of the seam. Allow the fabric to cool while the clapper sits on it.
Press more pieces and continue to add them under the clapper (for small pieces) or move the clapper along the seam, on long strips, for example. The clapper keeps working while you keep pressing, and you won't believe what a difference it makes!
I've been working on some quilts that feature small pieces, and particularly the kind where you stitch and flip to make triangles, such as flying geese and snowball blocks. Those little pieces can be pretty stubborn to make lay down well, and the clapper has become a permanent fixture on my pressing mat.
Chain piecing and pressing saves a lot of time, and it's the way I usually work when I really get going on a project. It's an efficient cycle to have your collection of pieced units, press a seam, set the clapper on that one while you press the next one, add that under the clapper while you press the next one, and on and on. Once you have a small pile that has cooled under the clapper, move them aside and start the process again. It's like you are pressing multiple pieces all at the same time!
It's always fun to discover new or new-to-you tools and toys! The quilters' clapper is one of those that I know will stay front and center in my sewing space. The compact size makes it ideal for using with the wool pressing mat in my studio or on the go to workshops and retreats. It definitely saves me hunting around for items to pile on to keep those seams flat!