Clapping Makes Your Seams Lay Flat (That sounds similar to a popular song title.)
What is a “Clapper”? And what does it have to do with quilting or sewing?
A clapper is a tool used during pressing to make a seam lay as flat as possible.
It’s usually made from hardwood and there are several shapes and sizes available with prices ranging from $9.99 to $34.99. If you do an internet search, be sure to type in “Tailor’s Clapper” or “”Pressing Clapper”. Otherwise your search results will have NOTHING to do with sewing or quilting! Whatsoever! Just FYI.
The photo above shows a seam that was pressed using just an iron. It looked okay, but I wanted it flatter!
So, I pressed it again. Only this time, I set my clapper (shown below) on the seam.
First, press the seam flat with a hot iron and use steam.
Remove the iron and place the clapper directly on the hot seam and press down for a few seconds. Let the clapper remain in place until the fabric cools.
Remove the clapper and be amazed at how much flatter that seam is now!
Compare this photo with the first one at the top. See how much flatter this seam is now?
You’re probably thinking, “I searched the internet for clappers, and yours look nothing like what I found there!”
And you’d be right.
As you have probably guessed by now, I made mine.
Well, actually, I repurposed something to use it as my clappers. I have two.
Mine used to be part of a beautiful cutting board. 7”W x 10”L. Perfect for cutting and serving cheeses, etc. I’d gotten it as a gift at my bridal shower in 1976, and used it almost daily. It was made of ¾” wide strips of hardwood in various shades that had been glued together, and sanded smooth. (The photo on the right is about half of what it looked like originally.)
Shortly after I’d learned about using a clapper, I dropped the board on the floor! It broke apart along three of the glued seams. I hated to just throw it away. Then, it dawned on me that I could use those pieces as clappers when I’m sewing and need a really flat seam pressed.
It especially helps when pressing seams with several layers such as, intersections of quilt blocks or when making a bag or purse.
Most of the time I just use one. But, sometimes I use two or three, end to end, depending on the length of the seam.
I even use them when making ties or bias vines. Clapping just helps the cotton fabric to hold the fold that you’ve just pressed into it.
Clappers don’t have to be expensive to work well. And you know me, if I can make one out of something I already have, well, YAY! Free is always good!
As always, I hope this tool makes your quilting and sewing easier!