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How to use a tailor’s clapper

Here I use a Tailor’s Clapper to help smooth princess seams I’m pressing while constructing a grey, wool jacket.

tailors clapper

Tailor's Clapper

tailors clapper use 01

Tailors Clapper Use 01

 

At the bottom of this picture, you can see the curled princess seam I need to press open on this jacket. I’m using an iron set to “Wool” and lots of steam. I need to press this seam open but this fabric doesn’t press very well. Also, because it’s a curved seam, it doesn’t want to lie flat like it should.

 

Tailors Clapper Use 02

Tailors Clapper Use 02

Here I’m first pressing the seam together as it was sewn. This is an important step for a flat seam. The iron melds the stitches with the fabric threads before further pressing steps are taken.

Tailors Clapper Use 04

Tailors Clapper Use 04

Next I started pressing the seam open from the lower edge toward the top. It was easier to start with the straighter portion of the seam rather than the more curved portion.

Tailors Clapper Use 05

Tailors Clapper Use 05

You can see how, even after pressing, with lots of steam, this seam still pops back up. It is very resistant to lying flat. This is where the Tailor’s Clapper comes in handy!

Tailors Clapper Use 06

Tailors Clapper Use 06

Using a pressing ham to press the curved part of the seam. I don’t want to loose the curve. It’s designed to fit over MY curve so I want to press it in that way.

Tailors Clapper Use 07

Tailors Clapper Use 07

Pressing the curved seam over the pressing ham. You can see how resistant the seam is to even high heat, tons of steam, and quite a bit of pressure.

Tailors Clapper Use 08

Tailors Clapper Use 08

After pressing, the seam still won’t lie flat. Haven’t used the Tailor’s Clapper at this point yet.

Tailors Clapper Use 09

Tailors Clapper Use 09

Here I am using the Clapper. I’ve just thoroughly pressed and steamed the seam and, while still very hot, I’m pressing hard with the clapper, rolling it over the curved pressing ham to flatten the seam allowances nice and flat. You can actually “hammer” the clapper down on the seam if necessary but this fabric didn’t need that. I just kept lifting and pressing the clapper down along the hot seam.

Tailor’s Clappers are made from hardwood. They work by absorbing the heat and steam from the fabric. Basically they cool the seam while putting pressure on it to hold it flat. It only takes about 10 seconds of pressure then you can lift the clapper and touch the seam to see if it has cooled. I often flip the clapper over part-way through to apply the other, cooler side to absorb any residual heat/steam and cool the seam a bit faster.

Tailors Clapper Use 10

Tailors Clapper Use 10

Here is the seam after applying the clapper (oops – spilled a drop of water on the fabric from the iron). To further flatten the curved seam, I need to clip the seam allowance where there are bumps or bulges. I clip almost to the seam.

Tailors Clapper Use 11

Tailors Clapper Use 11

Here is the seam after clipping. You can see the snips about an inch apart.

Tailors Clapper Use 13

Tailors Clapper Use 13

And here we have it – The beautifully flattened seam allowance around a curve. But what does it look like from the right side????

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tailors Clapper Use 14

Tailors Clapper Use 14

 

 

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1 Comment

  1. Jan

     /  January 12, 2013

    Thanks for this!

    Reply

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