Wool pressing mats are a must for serious quilters. Not only are they ultra-convenient, but they are the best possible surface for pressing your quilting fabrics.
When looking to press half-square triangles (HSTs) or flying geese, a wool pressing mat delivers unquestionable perfection.
Why? Because the thickly felted 100% natural wool retains heat – effectively pressing your fabric on both sides while keeping your fabric stable and safe.
In the article below, we’ve reviewed the very best wool pressing mats for quilters.
Ps. If you’re not a quilter, head over our Best Ironing Mat article instead.
1. New Zealand 100% Wool Pressing Mat
Our first choice is made by Precision Quilting Tools, a company right here in the USA, who definitely know what they’re doing when it comes to quilter needs.
At ½ an inch thick it keeps a stiff board-like shape while still being lightweight, flexible and portable.
The ironing mat is available in three different sizes:
- Large at 17 x 24 inches (Reviewed here)
- Medium at 17 x 17 inches
- Small at 9 x 9 inches
All sizes being perfectly manageable whether you want to set it up at your sewing table, lay it flat in a suitcase or slide it easily into your cupboard.
Wool ironing mats are specifically designed to allow heat to flow through, in turn pressing your quilting blocks as if you have ironed both sides.
With the smooth texture of the surface, all blocks, seams, HST’s and flying geese are pressed perfectly straight with a seriously crisp finish.
Because this ironing mat is made from thick felted wool, it accommodates placement pins beautifully. Even without pins, your fabric will not shift on the woolen surface.
- 5-star heat-resistance
- Wool Pressing Mat Dimensions: 17 x 24 inches (Large)
- Available in three sizes (S, M, L)
- Outstanding quality and durability
- Easy to clean
- Can leave tabletop wet if using lots of steam
2. Quilters Pressing Pad by Savina
Made from 100% wool, the Savina pressing pad is a densely felted wool pressing mat. The ½ inch thick wool is an extremely reliable pressing surface that retains heat within the felted fibers.
This creates an additional source of heat beneath your fabric. Wool protects all your sewing blocks, whether embroidered or fussy cut ensuring pressing precision.
At 24 x 18 inches, it easily fits on top of an ironing board or atop your sewing table. Savina has also included a silicone iron rest pad to complete your sewing and pressing set up.
- Keeps fabric from slipping
- Holds heat
- Begin with low ironing temperature
The Savina pressing pad is also available is a smaller size, measuring 17 x 13.5inches.
How to Choose Your Quilter’s Pressing Mat
The 100% New Zealand wool and the Savina wool mats are of superior quality wool, meaning that if you are also using steam, the wet wool won’t develop a strong smell. There may be a slight odor at first, but this will quickly disappear.
It’s important to know that poorly processed or inferior wool is often touted as 100% high-quality wool.
Despite the clever marketing tricks, it will most likely cause poor heat retention and an uneven surface. Your fabric will catch on the rough patches that form on the surface of inferior quality mats.
Care & Durability
It’s best to set your iron on a lower heat the first time you use the wool pressing pad. Once you can see that it handles the temperature well, you can comfortably set your iron to “Wool” or “Medium” Heat.
Although wool is naturally heat resistant, don’t leave your iron on the pressing pad for too long.
Wool mats are porous products. They absorb the moisture from the air, as well as allow steam to easily pass through them.
While this is excellent in pressing your fabric effectively from both sides, we would recommend using one or more of the below precautions:
- Using your pressing mat on a water-resistant surface
- Putting a small towel underneath
- Using a dry iron
Because the pressing mats are made of wool, they can easily be washed. This should be done gently by hand in the bath. Make sure your mat is completely dry before storing it.
Size and Weight
Lightweight yet firm, wool pressing mats come in a variety of sizes to suit your space and transportation requirements. The most common sizes are:
- 13 x 17 inches
- 17 x 17 inches
- 17 x 24 inches
The average thickness is around half-an-inch and should be fine for most pressing requirements.
Weight ranges from around 1.5 to 1.9 pounds.
100% Natural wool is more expensive than processed wool, so don’t be fooled by cheaper deals.
Getting a wool pressing mat is definitely a good investment. Not only will it last for years, but you can be sure that your expensive or heirloom quilting fabrics will be safe with a thick wool pressing surface.
The amount of time it will save you must also be taken into account. The wool allows heat to infiltrate and pass through the pressing pad, cutting your pressing time in half. Seams and blocks are pressed flat so overall precision is greatly improved.
The wrong ironing surface can stretch your blocks, throwing the accuracy of your measurements out entirely. When working with such a small margin for error, every millimeter counts in achieving your perfectly finished quilt.
With a wool pressing pad, you will save time and money, plus you can count on professional results.