Have you tried the clapper? Here’s how to get flat, crisp seams!


This is not just a blunt instrument I keep in my sewing room, although I could put up a good defense with this.  This is a tailor’s clapper.

I was bouncing around in the internet world and saw a question posed recently regarding this handy pressing tool.  After asking around, I discovered that it is also not well known in the sewing world.  I decided it was time to give a shout out to one of my favorite tools.

These have been around in the sewing world forever.  It’s a heavy chunk of wood, unfinished, sanded smooth with grooves for your fingers so it is easier to pick up.  It is used to flatten seams.  If you try a clapper, you will wonder how you have gone all these years without one!


This is a seam on a quilt I am making.  I have already pressed this seam open with my super duper Oliso iron, but it is not as flat as I would like it to be.  Clapper to the rescue!DSCN0662

The first step is to press the seam with a hot iron and steam.  Steam is the key here, it is what makes the clapper most effective.


As soon as you lift the iron, while the fabric is still hot and steamy, put the clapper right on top of that seam.  Leave it there until the fabric cools


When you lift the clapper, like magic, your seam will be flat and crisp.  That’s all there is to it.  Really!  Now look at the before and after photos together:

DSCN0660 DSCN0664

Awesome, isn’t it?  Simple and effective.  Now look at the difference on the sashing of the quilt block:

DSCN0667 DSCN0668


You can buy a tailor’s clapper online from Nancy’s Notions and other retailers.  Go ahead, you know you want one.

5 thoughts on “Have you tried the clapper? Here’s how to get flat, crisp seams!

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