What is all the fuss over Wool Pressing Mats?
Updated: Oct 1, 2018
Over the last year or so wool pressing mats have become increasingly popular. Why?
Shears to Ewe Wool Pressing Mats are a wonderful finishing tool. The outcome of your quilt block, paper piecing, cotton or wool appliqué, hand or machine embroidery and cross stitching is so much better than pressing on your ironing board. Quilt blocks come out nice and crisp, no lumpy seams. Appliqué comes out smoother and if you turn under fabric when you appliqué you won't see the outline of the under-turned fabric. Your appliqué, wool and embroidery won't become flat when you press it. You won't have shiny spots from the iron being too hot.
So how does it work?
What you are pressing will determine how it should be placed on the mat.
If you are ironing quilt blocks or paper pieceing, you are striving for nice crisp seams without lumps. By placing the block RIGHT SIDE UP when you press, the seams will sink into the wool mat and your seams will press out nice and flat. There is some natural adhereance to the wool so your block is less likely to press out of shape.
Everything else is pressed WRONG SIDE UP. The softness of the wool allows your appliqué, embroidery and other needlework to sink into the wool mat. The background fabric will press out smooth (even in those tiny spots).
Wool absorbs the heat from the iron so it is sort of like pressing both sides at once.
We include instructions with our mats so you get the best results.
What should I consider when I buy one?
Make sure the mat you buy is 100% wool. Wool/synthetic mixes could damage your work.
Softness of the mat is important. In my experience, the softer the wool, not the thickness, gives a nicer press.
Sizes vary. Depending on what you press most often, how portable you need it to be or how much you want to press at one time will dictate what size you prefer. Small mats are nice for travel and quilt retreats because of their portability. Jumbo mats are great for pressing finished rows and quilt tops.
Costs vary widely, most expensive is not always the best in my humble opinion.
To steam or not to steam?Whatever is your normal preference for ironing your projects is the correct answer. I personally love steam; some friends of mine use a dry iron. The important thing is that we all love our outcome.
Because these mats are !00% wool, a natural fiber, when they get damp they may have a bit of a wet wool smell. (Much like when you wear an all wool coat out in the snow or rain). Those of us who work with a lot of wool are used to that. If you are bothered by it you can spray something like Febreeze on it or just keep using it, the woolly smell eventually disappears.
Are the mats durable?
Wool is very durable. I can only speak to our mat, but steam, folding and use will not make it breakdown or lose its effects. Ironing on it will not flatten it out so you won't lose the cushioning you need to make your projects finished looking. If it gets folded and wrinkled just press it flat with your iron.
Yes, use a heat resistance surface to iron on. The wool absorbs heat and it could damage your cutting board or plastic table.
Above all, leave it sit out on your ironing board and USE it.
We'll be posting about rulers and other things we love that make quilting easier. Stay tuned and visit us at our Esty store.
Thank you for visiting!