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The Tool You Didn’t Know You Needed

But You're Going to Love!

by Beth Cooper

“Clap on. Clap off.  The Clapper!” That old commercial from the 80s is what I think of when I hear the word “clapper.” Even though that nifty gadget might be handy in your sewing room to turn your lights on and off, the clapper I am referring to is a fantastic way to get flatter seams when pressing. 

What Is A Clapper?

A Clapper (or Tailor’s Clapper, as it is commonly called) is a wooden block that, when used along with your iron, allows you to have the flattest seams this side of the Mississippi (and it doesn’t matter which side of the Mississippi you’re on)!  A clapper is usually about 2” to 4” wide, and can be anywhere from 7” to 12” long.  Clappers are made of hardwood.  Maple seems to be the most common, but they also come in oak and cherry.

You can find a great selection of Clappers on Missouri Star!
Click here to shop.

Here’s How it Works:

  1.  Iron your seam with your iron.
  2. Use steam in your iron or spray your fabric with starch or water before ironing.
  3. After lifting the iron from the seam, immediately hold the clapper over the just-pressed seam. Continue to hold for 5-10 seconds. 
  4. The wooden clapper will absorb the steam and your seam will become super flat and crisp.  I mean perfectly flat!  Like magic!
  5. Ooh and aww over your incredible perfectly-pressed seam.
Clappers come in a variety of sizes and slightly different shapes.
They all accomplish the same thing though – flat seams!
Find this one here.

What Can I Use It For?

You can use these handy-dandy wooden clappers for anything you are ironing. Tailor’s Clappers are perfect for quilting but they also work great for dressmaking, alterations, or any other types of sewing that you may be doing.  The name itself, Tailor’s Clapper, explains the humble beginnings of the Clapper.  Tailor’s have been using blocks of wood for this purpose for over 100 years!

If you don’t think a simple block of wood can make a huge difference in your seams, just try it.  I dare you.

‘Til next time,


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Merrilee Nowlin
Merrilee Nowlin
11 months ago

The Clapper is the tool to use for quilting. I have been using one since for 15 years. Those bulky seams are flattened.
Thanks for sharing with many others.

Linda Carter
Linda Carter
10 months ago

My husband made me a clapper from a cut off remnant of an oak bannister. The fancy relief of the oak bannister makes ideal hand grips. Approximately every few months, I lightly sand the flat clapper surface to open the wood pores to better absorb the steam.

8 months ago

Great article – thanks, will try it instead of pressing seams open

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