Some fun things to share on my sewing table this week. 🙂 Not only another red, white, and blue sewing project, (I guess I’m just so predictable) but amidst all of that fabric and quilt blocks are also some of the most gorgeous quilting tools you’ll ever see or feel.
This week let me introduce you to Chris Hanson, the talented craftsman behind Modern American Vintage.
I met Chris last year at Garden of Quilts and gave me a set of tools to work with. I was blown away not only by the beauty and quality of the tools he creates but even more so by the way these tools feel in your hands.
I’m trying to find words that describe how they feel. The wood is smooth as silk, but also solid and sturdy. To be honest though, there’s more to it than that – I think it’s the inherent qualities of materials handcrafted from natural products that make them such a pleasure to work with.
Chris’s carefully handcrafted products have been recognized throughout the quilting industry for their quality as well as their unique style.
Chris learned his woodworking skills from his grandfather, but it is his quilting mother who inspires his creations. (Good job, mom!)
And Chris has recently added combo Hera Markers/Turning Tools, Finger Pressers, and Seam Rollers to his shop.
What is a Quilter’s Clapper?
I wasn’t familiar with wooden Tailor’s Clappers until just a few years ago. A tailor’s clapper is a flat block of hardwood, often rounded on the ends. It works by placing this solid weight on a seam after ironing and absorbing the steam applied to a seam, and locking in the heat. As you press down on a seam with a clapper, the pressure sets the seam flat as the fabric cools, for beautifully flat seams and quilt blocks.
I don’t put water in my iron (for a few reasons – I think it shortens the life of the iron, and adds the risk of spitting mineral build up onto my fabric) so usually I’m working with a dry iron, although I do sometimes use water or Flatter spray.
Spraying my blocks (or even when I don’t spray) and then setting a clapper on the warm fabric/seams, creates a beautiful, flat quilt block – especially those blocks with lots of seams. You can see above – the nine-patch blocks, both pressed well with a hot iron. On the left I used the clapper right after pressing vs the block on the right which I didn’t use the clapper.
If you’d like to learn more about Clappers, check out the post The Science of Tailor’s Clappers from Suzy Quilts.
In addition to the Quilter’s Clapper, I have absolutely loved using these tools. Their ergonomic shape + the smooth wood feels like butter (but solid and not greasy) in my hands. The point turner is sturdy, but not too pointy where it could poke through fabric. The seam ripper handle is easy to hold and the blade is large and sharp. Makes using a seam ripper pleasant. 😉
The edge of the Hera marker makes a beautiful, crisp crease on you fabric, perfect for marking and creasing quilting lines on your basted quilts.
All of these tools – and more – are found in Chris’ shop at
Thanks to Chris’s generosity (and talent) he has a 3-piece Archie kit of a Point Turner, Hera, and Seam Ripper made with Ambrosia Maple handles (like mine!) on Sugar Maple blades to giveaway to one of you!
GIVEAWAY CLOSED: Find Chris and Modern American Vinage and follow @modern_american_vintage on Instagram. Then leave a comment on this post telling me you’ve done so and which tool you’d most like to try. (Because of spam filters I have to manually approve all comments, so don’t panic if your comment doesn’t show up right away. I will approve all comments as soon as I get to my computer.)
I will randomly select a winner next Tuesday, June 28.
You must be following Chris’s Instagram to win. I understand that not everyone is on Instagram. Giveaway terms are set by the generosity of the giver. If this giveaway isn’t the right fit for you, don’t worry, there will always be more!
And here’s a peek at what’s currently on my sewing table. I started making an updated version of my Land That I Love pattern last fall when I was teaching a class on it at Garden of Quilts. After the class finished, I threw everything in a box thinking, “I’ll pull this out next spring and easily finish by the 4th of July.”
And then I totally forgot about it. Like one does.
But I’m having fun working on it this week! Probably won’t be quilted by the 4th of July, but it’ll be ready for the rest of the summer. I love taking old patterns and giving them a new look. I’m really enjoying washed out quilts lately (see my US Flags and Union Jacks from last year.)
And speaking of Flags and Garden of Quilts:
This September I’m only teaching one class at Garden of Quilts – my Fly the Flag sampler quilt. Registration is open now and the class is filling up. If you’re interested in sewing with me grab your spot soon!
If you’re not able to come to Garden of Quilts, you can still find the Fly the Flag pattern here.