This is about making your own wooden pressing tools : sleeve board, pressing board, tailoring board, point presser and clapper. They must be made from real wood, which absorbs heat and steam, not chip board, veneer, etc.

There’s another post about making your own pressing tools from fabric : ironing board cover, pressing ham, and pressing mitt.

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Sleeve board

A small narrow ironing board, for pressing tubes such as sleeves and pant legs.
Written instructions on making a sleeve board, from The Curious Kiwi (includes pattern template, scroll well down, it looks unlikely at first).

Pressing Board

A ‘pressing board’ is a pressing surface like an ironing board but larger. Here’s a photo tutorial from bridal dressmaker Brooks Ann Camper about making a table version. Use the same instructions for making a smaller area that you can put on a table.

Tailor’s board

image from The Curious Kiwi

A complex looking object with many odd corners for pressing awkward spots.

Happily these are being made again, though not so easy to get hold of. Amazon has them in the US.

And you can make your own.
Photo instructions for making one, in the previous tutorial from The Curious Kiwi, scroll well down.
The pattern she uses is from the University of Kentucky, pdf here.
Or here’s a pattern from a Russian site in metric measures, each square is .5cm. The photo looks different, but that’s because the tool is lying on its other side.

Here is a video from Threads magazine about how to use one.
And another video, this one from Nancy Zieman.

Point Presser and Clapper

Simpler wooden shapes are much more readily available. Many sources for buying a ‘point presser and clapper’.
point presser clapper
That one comes from ebay.

Some versions have a blunt end. It is important the end comes to a point, so it can get into corners.
Here’s a video on making one.
There’s a pattern and instructions in the U.of Kentucky pdf linked earlier.
There is another video on making one which is more of an advertisement for an amazing range of power equipment. . .

I like to press open the seams at corners, using a point presser.
So do add those tapered corners if you can.

Or just make a clapper (the base in the photo). Must be made from real wood. Much used after steaming fabrics. The wood absorbs the steam, while the flat area holds in the heat and continues the pressing but without danger of singeing.
Many applications in this video from Nancy’s Notions.

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Unlike an iron, these extra pressing tools aren’t essential for good sewing.
Though a sleeve board is excellent for pressing sleeve and pant leg seams.
The other tools are useful, and it could be fun to make them 😀

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Originally written March 2014, updated November 2021.

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