Pressing fabric in the quilting world has started many debates over the years. Press the seams to the side or open? Steam or no steam? Starch or no starch? Now we have a new topic of Wool mat or ironing board? So when I received a small wool pressing mat in a monthly subscription box I was excited to finally see what all the
rage debate was about.
But before reviewing the wool pressing mat I want to tell you about the new idea for my blog. As you all know I've never been much of a gadget person. But this year instead of spending tons of money on fabric that I really don't need I'm going to put that money towards new notions or new to me notions and review them here on my blog. Not all the notions will be purchased by me some may be sent to me to review. Free to me does not mean telling you a product is wonderful because it was free. The product either makes my quilting process easier or it doesn't. All of my product reviews will be labeled under Nifty Notions in the sidebar of this blog. I may even at some point include a product review video along with the blog post. If there is a new or old product you've been curious about and would like for me to review let me know by leaving a comment on any blog post or send me an email at email@example.com
Okay, Let's get started! Today I'm testing the Gypsy Quilter Felted Wool Pressing Mat. This is a small mat measuring 5.5" x 9". Since it so small it's only good for pressing smaller units or very tiny blocks.
For years I've used a homemade ironing station along with a smaller homemade pressing board for blocks and applique. The truth be told I rarely use an iron on my fabric after it has been starched and cut. The heavy starching allows me to finger press everything until the quilt top is complete. Once I have a quilt top finished it is then pressed with an hot iron without steam.
Both my large and small pressing boards are made the same. A piece of plywood wrapped in cotton batting. Then wrapped in aluminum foil and topped with a cotton fabric. When the cotton fabric starts to look yukky I just add another layer of fabric on top. Every so often, about 4 or 5 layers of fabric, I'll remove the multiple layers of cotton fabric and start the process all over again.
For this test I'll be pressing HST's that will become pinwheels. Each seam will be pressed for 5 seconds without steam and with no pressure on the iron. Which means my hand will be removed for the 5 seconds. I almost never use steam when pressing blocks so I thought it only fair to stay consistent. Over the years I've learned that steam and over pressing can cause some major issues, so I just don't do it. I realize some of you always use steam and that's okay. There are no set rules or quilt police here, I'm just telling you what works best for me. And to be fair I've used a wool pressing mat before with my quilting friend Judy. She received one of the larger wool mats for Christmas 2018. We used steam. What a mistake! It smells like a wet barn.😦 For those of you that have never been to the livestock barns at the fair, a wet barn smells like old wet grass and manure. Yep, no steam is best when using a wool mat. Well unless you like the smell of a barn. I've heard from other quilters that the steamy wet barn stink fades over time.
And here we go. Sewing and pressing 5 seconds each.
They are both coming together nicely. I'm more worried about whether or not my pinwheel centers will line up correctly.👀
Yah! Perfect centers! I love pinwheels, so classic and cute.
Everything is looking good back here as well.
Now is the moment of truth. Does the wool pressed block(on the left) lay flatter?
Lets take a closer look. Well what do you think?
Now a little closer. Well, I can honestly say I don't think the wool pressing mat makes any difference. I'm sure someone is thinking I should have used steam but again I almost never use steam. If you decided to use a wool mat and use steam, make sure you cover the mat with fabric. A hot iron with steam will scorch the wool and leave a residue on your iron.
I like my homemade pressing boards better. They aren't stinky, they don't require extra caution to use and the best part is if I scorch it I can recover them or wash the fabric cover. Now if you really want a wool mat but have been putting it off due to cost, there's an cheaper option. In several Facebook groups I've read quilters are buying wool saddle pads at a fraction of the cost. My concern would be the wool might not be as clean and smell a little more. YUK! So there's my 2 cents on the wool pressing mat craze. Hope you found this helpful or at least entertaining. See you next Friday for another Nifty Notions!
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Offer ends February 29, 2020. Make sure when adding the code to your shopping cart that you click APPLY. You can see my review of the BladeSaver Thread cutter here. And the Third hand Binding Folder Clip here.
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