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Clap On, Clap Off…The Point Presser!

Buying all of the sewing tools we need to construct quality garments can quickly become expensive.  For my advanced sewing/tailoring class, I discovered I was woefully deficient in the tool department and needed to buy a seam roll, tailor’s ham, and a clapper/point presser, among other things.

Our class was able to negotiate a discount with a supplier for the seam roll and tailor’s ham.

Image courtesy of

Tailor's Ham

But, we didn’t negotiate a discount on the clapper/point presser because the sewing lab has about four or five of them that we could use….when we are at school.  I needed one for home. The point presser part at the top is used for pressing out points (hence the name) such as collars and lapels.  It helps us get into tight spaces for a nice clean pressing.  The clapper, often seen without the presser part, is a rounded block of hardwood (it needs to be hardwood…the soft woods such as pine ooze their sap) that enables us to press parts of the garment without needing to use more heat than necessary.  You apply steam to the area with the iron, remove the iron and then press down on the area with the clapper until everything cools down.

Image Courtesy of

I searched the internet and discovered that it would cost me about $30-40 + shipping for one of these gizmos.  I told The Mister that I needed a clapper/point presser and he swore I was making up the name.  I promised him that I wasn’t and showed him a picture of one.

And then I batted my eyelashes and promised him a steak dinner if he would make one for me.

He did (he’s such a sucker for a steak dinner…although I’d like to think the batting eyelashes helped, too).

The Garret McFann Custom Made Clapper/Point Presser

I love it!  Especially the bolts in the middle because they remind me of his artwork.

The Hitching Post by Garret McFann (Image courtesy of

That’s a sculpture, not a painting, by the way.

If you want to make your own tools, Fiber Images offers a pattern for a reasonable price that includes a tailor ham, wooden tailor ham holder, tailor seam roll, cuff roll, lapel/collar roll, wooden padded sleeve board (2 sizes), pressing mitt, pattern weights, two pressing cloths, and a wooden point presser/clapper.  I haven’t done business with them, so I can’t vouch for them, but they were mentioned in Sew News magazine.

One of the major things I learned this semester is that having the right tools really does make a difference in how the garment turns out.  I wish I had learned this years ago (instead of being stubborn and trying to “make do”).

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