Ironing Board Makeover & Companion Pressing Mat

About three years ago I bought myself a terrific birthday present  . . . one of those mega ironing board tops for quilters, made from plywood and covered in fabric.  If you own one of these, you know how handy they are.

You also know that after a few years of pressing quilt blocks, the top will get stained (scorched) and tough looking.  It also doesn’t help when your teenage daughter (who presses her own clothes) accidentally leaves the iron face down to do a little “slow scorch” until the iron cools down.  And so, after three years of good use, mine was in need of a makeover.

I’m sure there are many tutorials and tips online for how to do this.  I will share my transformation with you in hopes that you find it useful.  I also made a little companion pressing mat that I really love.  It was pretty easy.  I finished both projects on a rainy Saturday morning, and the end result is SO worth it.

All of the supplies I used were things I had on hand.  With the exception of the heat resistant fabric, I bet the same may be true for you!
  • Cotton quilter’s fabric (I used some lovely Fig Tree & Company yardage I had on hand.)
  • Therma-Flec Heat Resistant Silver Fabric
  • Spray Adhesive (I used 505 Spray & Fix Temporary Fabric Adhesive Spray)
  • 80/20 cotton batting
  • Staple gun and ¼ inch staples
  • A marking tool (I used my Dritz purple disappearing marking pen)

Ironing Board Makeover
I will begin with an ugly picture.  Yes, this was the dismal state of my ironing board prior to the makeover.  Embarrassing!

My first step was to remove the ironing board top and place it on the floor to take measurements.  I would suggest working on a hard surface rather than carpeting.  Since most of these tops are custom or homemade, your measurements may vary. My board measures 60 by 22 inches.  

I cut my batting to the same size as the top.  Because the board was already covered with batting and fabric, I used only one layer of batting.  I sprayed a light layer of adhesive onto the old fabric and put the batting on.  It works best to start in the middle and then roll the fabric out, smoothing it out as it unrolls.  You can pull up the batting and reposition it if you need to.

Next I cut my new fabric approximately 4 inches larger (on all four sides) than the ironing board top.  At this point I also pressed my fabric really well.

I then laid the fabric right side down on the floor and centered the ironing board top onto it.

Then I began the process of pulling the fabric taut, folding the raw edge under a bit and stapling it in place.  I began in the middle of the long edges and worked my way out on both sides.  Then I did the same on the two short ends. 

On the corners, I simply did a bit of tucking and folding, similar to doing binding, and then stapled the fabric into place.

I had made a skirt for my ironing board about a year ago.  So at this point I reattached that skirt.  My skirt is made of old curtains that matched my décor.  The skirt is attached to the underside of the ironing board top with Velcro.  The old curtains were the right length, had a nice hemmed bottom, and were a great solution for hiding the ugly ironing board legs.

Companion Pressing Mat
The new top looked so pretty and clean that I hated the thought of using it.  I decided that although this was a utilitarian piece, I could still do something to keep it looking fresh.  After all, it does take up quite a bit of space in a sewing room.  It ought to look cute.  Because most of the heat discoloration comes from heavy pressing on small blocks with bulky seams, I decided to make a small pressing mat.  This was really easy and quite fun.

I actually had a 28 x 22 inch piece of silver heat resistant fabric on hand.  It was tucked in an iron caddy kit I purchased years ago and never completed — imagine that!  This seemed to be a nice size, so I cut a piece of cotton fabric and two pieces of 80/20 batting the same size.

I decided to use a combination of spray adhesive and quilting to secure these layers.

First, I put the heat resistant fabric silver side down, and then laid down one piece of batting on top of it.  Starting on the left hand side I rolled the batting back to the middle, used a light spray of fabric adhesive and then rolled it back down and smoothed it out.  I repeated these steps on the right hand side.  Rolling up, spraying, and rolling back down is much easier than spraying the entire piece and trying to position the next piece on top of it.  Trust me on this!

I followed the same method with the second piece of batting and once again for the top piece of cotton fabric.  You do not need to use much spray.  This is just a temporary hold for the quilting that will be done to permanently keep the layers together.

After all four layers were together, I used my purple disappearing ink pen to mark a quilting grid.  I first marked the center, and then marked lines three inches out from center, both vertically and horizontally. I sewed the units together on the marked grid.

When the quilting was complete, I just squared up the edges.

Finally, I cut enough 2 ¼ inch binding to finish the mat in the same manner you would bind and finish a quilt.  I machine sewed the binding to the heat resistant fabric side, and then hand sewed my binding down on the pretty side.

I have used this mat several times already and I just love it!  It is the perfect pressing solution for those small blocks with a lot of bulk.

I hope that sharing my project was helpful to you.  My final tips would be to change your needle and clean out your bobbin area after this project!

Thanks for reading my blog.  I hope you get carried away quilting . . . or sprucing up your ironing board!


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