Have you been wondering what all fuss is about wool pressing mats? It seems like people are talking about them all over the place these days. I wondered if they could be a great as people say, so I decided to try one out for myself.
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I chose the Precision Quilting 17″ x 17″ wool pressing mat. It’s the perfect size to fit on the end of my ironing board to press blocks.
The idea behind the wool pressing is that the denseness of the wool absorbs and holds the heat of the iron. So, it’s like the fabric is being pressed from both sides–the iron from the top, and the pressing mat from the bottom. The result is flatter blocks.
I have been using and enjoying the pressing mat for a few months and definitely felt that my units seemed flatter. But for this review, I decided to run some tests.
Here are before and after shots of a some half square triangle units on the wool pressing mat:
Here are the same type of units on a regular ironing board:
You can see how flat and crisp the units on the wool mat are. It really makes piecing more fun and accurate when your blocks are very flat.
Here is another test. Before and after on wool pressing mat:
Before and after on a regular ironing board:
There is definitely a difference. Can I tell you how much I LOVE a really flat block? It’s really the little things in life, I tell you.
A couple of things to note. The instructions say that they don’t recommend using steam, but you can if you want to. The main problem with using steam is that I have heard that some mats smell bad when they get wet with the steam (the smell of wet wool, or as I have heard it described “like a barnyard”). I have used this mat with both a dry and steam iron–and I actually like the results a little bit better when using steam–and I don’t notice a bad smell. I use it plenty with a dry iron, but I think things are a little flatter with steam (no surprise there).
This mat is also 1/2″ thick, so you can use it right on your sewing table! This is a great bonus to keep your work area compact and not have to get up to go to the iron all the time. I have read that if you use it with steam and use it a lot, then to double-check that no condensation has formed on the bottom of the mat that could harm your table. But I don’t think that will generally be a problem.
There are many brands of mats, but the Precision Quilting brand comes in a few sizes–one to fit any budget, as they can be a little pricey. As a matter of fact, I would say that price is the only downside of any wool pressing mat–they are a bit expensive. But I view it as an investment–I think that this one mat will probably last me forever.
I’m not a big gadget person, I don’t really have the budget or space for unnecessary quilting paraphernalia. But I do think that this mat is worth the price and the space in my sewing room. I give it a big thumbs up!
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