1. What is the Tailor’s Clapper?
It’s a piece of wood, used by tailors (duhhh) to get flat, crisp seams or creases.
It originated in the dressmaking world, so the seams got nice and flat without getting shiny from ironing.
Imagine some pants in a delicate material, let’s say silk. If you just iron the side seams,
the seam allowance will shine through and the seam will be shiny on top as well,
any dressmakers nightmare. Not so with the clapper.
2. How is the Tailor’s Clapper used?
You iron your seam briefly and then place the clapper onto your seam.
The heat of the iron will be absorbed slowly by the wood so it stays in the fabric long enough to flatten the seams nicely.
3. What kind of wood is used for a Tailor's clapper?
Tailor’s clappers are made out of hardwood. The wood has to be heavy and close-grained in order to do the job perfectly. The weight matters as well as the close-grain wood. If the clapper is to light or not dense enough the heat will be absorbed to quickly and ultimately your seams would not be as flat as you wish.
Incredibly nice , crisp and ultra flat seams.
4.Why use the Tailor’s clapper for quilting?
Especially with Foundation Paper Piecing flat seams are key to precision and accuracy.
You might say, why not just iron those seams? And yes you are right, but first of all you cannot iron with steam, as this may distort your paper, or dissolve the ink on your pattern and stain the fabric. And second, you can’t iron for too long, because it might discolor your fabric.
But you need nice and flat seams, in order for your blocks to fit together perfectly.
This is where the tailor’s clapper comes in super handy.
As I mentioned before, you iron your seams quickly and the place the clapper on top.
That way the heat of the iron is ‘trapped’ under the clapper long enough to nicely flatten your perfect seams.
Tipp for joining segments:
Sew two segments together acording to the pattern.
Remove the paper ONLY from the seam allowance and press with a hot dry iron quickly,
then leave your clapper on the seam for a few minutes till the fabric cools off.
I actually use that time to sew the next segment :-)
You will get the nicest and flattest seams ever.
Happy clapping....ahhh sewing :-)
5. Can I make my own Tailor's clapper?
You absolutely could make your own, if you wanted to.
Here are some good instructions to do so.
But these Tailor’s clappers are also available online from many stores, form
Amazon, Nancy's Notions to Etsy.
Shop palm tree pattern here.