Do you dream of discovering one of those Pinterest-worthy sewing rooms has magically appeared in your apartment? You know, the kind with bright white walls and clever storage in a soothing palette? Be still my heart!
Instead, when the sewing mood strikes, I play Tetris with my living room furniture. First I stack the coffee tables, which prop up my cutting surface. Second, my office desk transforms into a sewing table, with all clutter swept into a nearby bin. And finally, the ironing board emerges from the closet to occupy the remaining space.
It’s this last bit, the ironing station, that I struggle with most. I find the standard ironing board is no good for large projects. Its odd shape makes pressing yards of fabric a royal pain. A sewing friend suggested laying bath towels on my table and ironing atop them. It worked, for a bit. And then one day, the steam seeped through and warped my rotary cutting mat.
So, I recently decided, ENOUGH! Time to find a solution, so down the internet rabbit hole I dived.
My search revealed a range of enviable stand-alone pressing tables and super-cute, portable and magnetic mats. However, none quite suited my need for an easily storable, super-size ironing pad. Feeling frustrated, I finally decided to just wing it.
Based on my research, I decided I needed a cover, a heavy backing, and several inner layers to absorb the steam. A quick rummage through my fabric stash yielded the following:
- Backing Fabric – Heavy Muslin
- Inner Layers – Crib Batting and Insul-Bright
- Decorative Cover – Plaid Cotton Remnant
Armed with my materials, I set to work. The measurements below match my cutting table (3’ x 6’). If you decide to give it a try, feel free to adjust to your personal needs.
Instructions – 36” x 72” Mat:
Pro Tips: Pre-wash your muslin and decorative cover to eliminate shrinkage. Use a denim or topstitching needle to best sew through all the layers
Step 1: Cut fabric to the size of your surface plus the following seam allowances (SA):
- Backing Fabric – 1” SA (38” x 74”)
- Inner Layers – No SA (36”x72”)
- Decorative Cover – 1/2” SA (37” x 73”)
Step 2: Stack and center the layers as follows:
- One layer Heavy Muslin
- Two layers of batting
- One layer Insul-Bright
Step 3: Fold the muslin fabric up along all four edges. Clip to hold in place.
Step 4: Take you cotton cover and fold under the 1/2″ SA on all sides.
Step 5: Clip/Pin through all four layers. All raw edges should be covered.
Step 6: At your sewing machine, sew two rows of stitching along each side.
- Capture all layers while stitching to prevent shifting
- For larger mats, use your extension table
Step 7: Lastly, give the seams of your pressing mat a good press.
Et voila! You’re all done!
My super-sized pressing surface turned out great! Now, when I need to press multiple yards of fabric or iron my jeans with the mile-long inseams, I have a pressing surface to match. The best part is that even on the highest steam setting, only a minimal amount of condensation goes through. If I had used an additional layer of batting or Insul-Bright, I think the underside would be completely dry. Once I’m done, I simply roll it up and store it in my closet.
What do you use for your pressing surface? Have you ever tried an ironing mat? Sound off in the comments below!