I sew on the kitchen table and now I’ve been doing more patchwork often I can’t be bothered to set up the ironing board. This has led to the bad habit of pressing my blocks on a tea towel on the table (not good for the table) or on my cutting mat (better for the table, but not good for my cutting mat). I did get an Ikea table top ironing board, but even that can be too big when the table is especially cluttered. I decided that I needed an ironing board that was a similar size to my small cutting mat and that would be slightly raised off the table so as to protect the table from direct heat.
When putting a tea towel to its proper use and drying a baking tray, it struck me that a baking tray would be the ideal size for pressing blocks. Taking this a stage further, I realised that a baking tray with holes in the base (such as used for cooking oven chips or pizza) would allow heat and steam to dissipate when ironing. I looked online for a suitable baking tray, but many were a bit too posh – I needed something squarer and more basic and I found it in BM Bargains for less than £2. I’d already got some ironing board underlay from Aldi several months ago (originally to pad out the Ikea ironing board) - all I needed to add was a FQ of fabric, some elastic and about an hour of sewing time.
So, yesterday afternoon’s slightly mysterious sewing project of a baking tray, ironing board underlay, a FQ of fabric and some elastic was transformed into a baking tray ironing board. The pressing surface is just over 30 cm square which is ideal for most of my blocks and makes it handy to use on the table. It is also small enough to take to Liverpool Sewing Club or the Fat QuarterlyRetreat in July.
If you want to make one of your own, then try to find a square or rectangular baking tray that has a flatish bottom – don’t worry about a few ridges as they can be padded out. I was able to use a FQ of cotton fabric, but obviously this will depend on the size of the tray. Don’t be tempted to use a poly-cotton fabric for the cover as you need something that will withstand a hot iron. The photos below show the stages of making the ironing board, but I've written a tutorial which can be found in the project section of this blog.