A Road Test by Michelle Marvig: The Magik Pressing Mat
Life is too short to iron, right? I avoid buying clothes that require ironing, fold the clothes as soon as they come off the line, and have never ironed household linen. So, why am I happy to be testing something that has to do with ironing?Because the one thing that I am pedantic about pressing is my patchwork and the Magik Pressing Mat makes my life easier!
But, what it the Magik Pressing Mat? It is a 12in x 18in pad of ½in thick 100% felted wool made in America. It is a portable ironing pad. The advantage of this ironing pad over other types of ironing pads on the market is the fibre from which it is made. The wool is a perfect surface for pressing, firm but does absorb some of the height of your work, like embroideries or appliqué. The wool absorbs the heat from the iron too, reflecting back the heat into the fabrics, which is like pressing both sides of a seam at the same time. The pressed seams sat extremely flat, and kept their pressed direction. A little while ago I purchased a new ironing board. Paid more money to get the bigger board, from a reputable brand. However, my board is not flat. It has a dip in the middle. Can’t press anything easily through the middle of the board, the area that you use the most. I have been placing the Magik Pressing Mat on this part of my ironing board and can finally get a great press on my piecing! Yeah!
It is a wool product, but you can still use a steam iron if you wish. A very slight smell of damp wool occurred, but nothing major, and I was maybe only aware of it as I was looking for it. I also used my spray starch on the appliqué pieces I was preparing with no issue. I did not find the wool pad got damp underneath while using these products, but it possibly could if you spent a long time ironing with moisture of any type. As wool is absorbent, it would be advisable to dry completely before storing, if you ever put the pressing mat away. Can’t see that I will ever be doing that. However, I would advise you take care where you place the mat. I was using my iron on the linen setting. It can get warm underneath and I would not want this to mark a piece of timber furniture or warp a cutting mat. I did use it right next to my sewing machine on my work table with no problems. You can actually get a result when using your iron on a lower setting, as you really are getting twice the heat of the iron when it reflected back from the wool pad.
Another advantage is that you can use the pad as a mini design wall and place pieces on the mat for checking colours or placement, or even to move to the sewing machine. Even my beautiful fine pins had no trouble being used in the mat, if you need to pin anything to the mat. As you can do this, another use of the mat could be to block small pieces: that is pin in place then press and hold to square blocks or embroideries. This size mat is also a fabulous size to take to workshops and retreats. Not too big to take, or too big to use in a shared space. Travel irons do not get as hot as full size iron and some do not have steam. The characteristics of wool in the Magik Pressing Mat will still give you a lovely press. The only downside is that I tried my wooden roller for pressing seams and the wool is not firm enough to give a press with this tool.
There are many versions of wool pressing mats on the market, in a variety of sizes, manufactured in many locations. I will be keeping a wool pressing mat in my studio, as I like that fact that I require less effort to press beautiful, flat seams. Check out this product in your local shop, or at a quilt show. The Magik Pressing Mat that I tested came from Punch with Judy.
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