Get The Flattest Blocks with Wool Pressing Mats

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Plus, Instructions for Cleaning Them!

Wool pressing mats are all the rage, but do they live up to the hype? We’ve done some research and have discovered that they do a wonderful job of producing flat blocks. Plus, they come in a number of sizes and are easy to take to class and quilt retreats.

The mats are made from compressed, or felted, wool and are about a 1/2″ thick. They’re bendable, not rigid, and easy to store and transport.

Get The Flattest Blocks with Wool Pressing Mats

Reviewers consistently rave about how well these mats remove creases from fabric and how flat their blocks are. The wool absorbs heat (and steam) and essentially presses the fabric or block from both sides in one pass.

You can also use less heat (try the wool setting on your iron, instead of cotton) and the mats often reduce the need for steam. You’re also likely to need less starch or pressing spray to remove wrinkles.

Get The Flattest Blocks with Wool Pressing Mats

The mats are “grabby”, meaning whatever you place on them tends to stay in the position you put it in. That makes it more difficult to distort blocks with vigorous pressing and can even be used to straighten blocks that are already a bit distorted. Plus, you can pin into them for blocking.

Keep in mind that the mats can emit a wool odor, especially when steam is used. That may or may not be an issue for you.

In the following video, Laura from Sew Very Easy demonstrates a wool mat with different types of fabric.

Click here to watch the video at YouTube if it doesn’t play on your device.

Pat Sloan loves using wool mats for piecing. She provides a lot of good info in the video below.

Click here to watch the video at YouTube if it doesn’t play on your device.

If you’re pressing a bit at a time and using little to no steam, you may not need to be concerned about the surface under the mat. However, they do heat up on the bottom with extended use and heavy steam can go right through them. To be safe, don’t use a wool mat on top of your cutting mat or a good piece of furniture.

The mats will burn if an iron sits on them for too long. Be sure to have a heatproof surface nearby for the iron.

One other thing to keep in mind is that cats love them. And, not in a good way (for the mat!). You may need to put your mat away when it’s not in use. The following photo shows how Kim’s cat (from Chatterbox Quilts) damaged the mat while it was still in the wrapper. Learn more from her video review found here.

Get The Flattest Blocks with Wool Pressing Mats

One potential drawback is that the mats tend to be pricey. However, with care they should last a very long time. They are sturdy, won’t shrink and are unlikely to become distorted.

Wool mats are available in a number of sizes. The 13 1/2″ square is popular, as it fits standard block sizes. However, many sizes are available so choose what works best for you.

Amazon has a wide selection available from various manufacturers and in a variety of sizes. Some are even large enough to cover a table. Several come with a heat-proof silicone mat for your iron.

Click here to view the selection of wool pressing mats at Amazon.

The Fat Quarter Shop has a more limited selection, in the sizes that are most popular with quilters.

Click here to view the selection of wool pressing mats at the Fat Quarter Shop.


How to Care for a Wool Pressing Mat

Since wool mats do become damp when pressing with steam, be sure to hang your mat up when you’re done so that it can dry. A pants hanger with clamps is a simple way to do that. Otherwise, store them flat or leaning against something.

Some quilters worry about using starch and pressing sprays with a wool mat. You’ll be happy to know that starch can be rinsed off. Wash mats in a sink or tub using cold water and hang them to dry. Do not put them in the washing machine.


More Information:

The photo at the top of the page is of the Pam Damour Mega Pressing Mat.

Caring for Wool Mats from Wooly Felted Wonders.

Wool Ironing Mat Review by Amy Friend.

The Magic Pressing Mat from Generations Quilt Patterns.


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