A wool pressing mat or wool ironing mat is the perfect tool for quilters and sewers in general. I even use a large wool pressing mat like a regular ironing board now to do a quick iron here or there for some of my clothes.
I had only first heard of these last year and was very intrigued by the idea of them. Firstly, because I have limited sewing space so I hated setting up my large ironing board, and secondly because I love a great sewing tool.
I set out to find the best mat for my needs as well as provide a bit of a wool pressing mat review for my readers and viewers as well. I previously made a video on these, which you can view within this post or keep scrolling to read all about them.
What is a Wool Pressing Mat?
Wool ironing mats are made of 100% natural wool and this wool usually originates from New Zealand. They have dense wool fibers and both sides are the same so there is no right or wrong way to use it.
You can use a wool pressing mat for quilting as the wool mat retains the heat underneath your fabric. This essentially presses or irons your fabric from the bottom as well, giving you a crisp, well-pressed finish to your sewing project. It will give you a really flat seam in a shorter amount of time. This is the magic of these mats! They save you time. Less time ironing = more time sewing!!
**This post may contain affiliate links, which means I may get a commission if you choose to click through and make a purchase. It doesn’t cost you any extra if you make a purchase and I sincerely thank you!
What is the Best Wool Pressing Mat?
I was on a mission to find the best ironing mat. When I did an Amazon search there were quite a few that came up. Most seemed to have iron-shaped silicone mats, but I really didn’t need one of those.
When I did a Google search the Precision Quilting Tools wool ironing mat seemed to come up the most. When I was browsing my feed on Facebook a Love Sew wool pressing mat was popping up in the advertising (funny how that all works!). I didn’t got with Love Sew in the end as their persistent advertising was slightly annoying.
A bit more searching and I found the Sewmadic brand which came with 2 applique pressing sheets. This piqued my interest as I love doing applique and had an old brown Teflon applique pressing sheet that had been used a lot!
The Decision to Choose the Best Wool Ironing Mat!
I really couldn’t decide so I bought a few of them in a variety of sizes. This included the Precision Quilting Tools and the Sewmadic brands. I purchase some other brands as well, like Lilypad Lake, but these two seemed to be the best.
I went with the 17″x13.5″ from Sewmadic and 9″x9″ one from Precision Quilting Tools along with another couple of brands with slightly different sizes. These all seemed to be around the 1/2″ thick mark.
I should’ve gone the bigger size of the Precision one, but I thought a mini size would be handy too, plus this brand seemed to be a lot more expensive for some reason. The Sewmadic branded mat seemed like the perfect size to transport around the house with me and to take along when I was heading out for a sewing session somewhere and the bonus pressing sheets really interested me.
The Dreaded Wool Pressing Mat Smell
I need to mention that one of the other brands I purchased had an awful sheep smell from the moment I unpacked it and even after a long airing out I just couldn’t get rid of the smell. I decided to try using it as I thought that might help. The heat from the iron only released the mat smell even more and my fabric also had a sheepy smell to it afterwards. It made me feel sick. Now I know this should be normal as they are made of wool but all the other mats I purchased didn’t have the same strong wool pressing mat smell.
I can’t remember the brand of the extra smelly one but it was definitely darker than the others. It was around the same price as the Sewmadic one too. So maybe stay away from the darker-looking mats. I talk about this smelly mat in the video below but you can see the difference in quality in the following photo. The wool fibers are not as refined and dense and you can see the slight difference in colour on the wool surface.
I have to say I really liked the Sewmadic brand the most. I have continued to use the applique pressing sheets as they can be used to protect my iron as well as the wool pressing mats surface if I am using HTV or fusible webbing for applique. The packaging was much nicer in general and the mat came with care information and tips on a card to keep and refer back to later.
The feel and quality are exactly the same between Sewmadic and Precision, but Sewmadic offered the extra bonus as well as being less expensive. I’ve used this brand to make the video down below.
I have even purchased the larger Sewmadic set , which is 24″x18″ plus a 10″x10″ mini mat, now to have one permanently on my sewing table. The smaller sizes I use around the house and when I’m traveling. The larger wool mat size would also be the best wool pressing mat for quilting as it gives you a larger ironing surface if you have larger quilt blocks.
See the Mat in Action on the Video Tutorial
You can also watch it here on YouTube.
Some Extra Tips on How to Use These Wool Mats
Use the Mat on a Heatproof surface if Using Steam
Steam will go straight through these mats so I highly recommend you do not use them on a precious wooden surface or any surface that can be damaged by heat and moisture. If you are using a dry iron this won’t be as bad, but I do find that some moisture does still travel through mat. I have a thin piece of MDF under my mat just in case.
Do not use these mats on top of a self healing cutting mat either. You will end up warping your cutting mat.
The Mat Grips Onto the Fabric
The wool surface is fuzzy and grips onto your fabric. This is important to know because there is less chance of your quilt block or sewing project being stretched out of shape while you iron it.
You Can Pin into Your Mat for Blocking Your Projects
The mat is like a thick wool pad so it makes it perfect for pinning into when you are blocking your craft projects or even just to hold something down if you are making jewelry too.
Use It as a Mini Ironing Board for your Clothes
I find these mats really convenient to use when I need to iron a collar for my worktops. It’s so good not having to get out the large ironing board when I only need to iron for a short amount of time.
Perfect for Doing Raw-Edge Fusible Applique
I’ve been a long-time fan of raw-edge fusible applique. My most recent favourite designer is Toni from The Red Boot Quilt Co. The photo below is using one of the free applique patterns from the Paper Dolls Sew-Along.
Perfect for Protecting Your Iron and Project While Using HTV
The wool mat and Teflon sheets are also great to use when doing Heat Transfer Vinyl (HTV) projects. I currently Own a Cricut Joy but I had put off buying the expensive handheld iron press and mat. I don’t feel I need them now as these tools help me get the same result with the same convenience, at a lower cost. Winning!
Make Fabric Labels Without Raiding the Kitchen Cupboard
I previously made my DIY fabric labels using a skillet from the kitchen cupboard. I don’t need to bring the kitchen into the sewing room anymore. Haha! So if you check out the tutorial for how to make fabric labels then just replace the skillet for the wool pressing mat!
Use the Wool Pressing Mats When Using a Hot Glue Gun
The applique pressing sheets can also transform into hot glue gun work surface sheets! Use the sheet on top of your wool mat when completing a project with your hot glue gun and the glue will not stick to the Teflon.
I’m sure there are many other uses that I am missing. Please let me know in the comments section down below if you have a different use for a wool pressing mat that I haven’t covered.
These wool mats are available all over the world now, but you will find the widest range available in the US. Check your local quilting or sewing store as well as online stores for the size and brand that is right for you. You can find the smaller Sewmadic wool pressing mats here and the larger size here on Amazon, along with many other sizes and brands.
I hope you have found this tutorial useful.
Until next time, happy sewing.
Awesome! Thanks for a great tutorial. I live in Cape Town, South Africa and have been eyeing this mat, it is rather pricey but well worth saving up for.
It seems like some of the wool melts onto my iron,I have to scrap it off
Which brand of wool mat are you using?
Should the wool mat be covered with an ironing board cover?
I don’t have a cover on mine, but if you want to protect it then a cover would definitely help.
Good presentation of how the mat is useful!
Hi and thank you for all the info… I have a question that I hope you can help me with… I have an old Ironrite ironing machine and need to make a new cover for it… would you have any suggestions about the best material for a project like this? I know my mom had a linen ironing cloth, but I’m having a hard time finding the same quality/thickness of weave of linen to use.