Sunday, August 13, 2017


On numerous occasions I have needed to pin some fabric to my ironing board, but the pins tend to have a mind of their own and topple from the upright position.  Recently I put two pieces of foam core board under the padding and cover.  It was fantastic...for awhile.  I could stick pins in there and they'd stay put.  Well, that worked for the short term, but foam core board is affected by the heat and soon began to look like a roller coaster.  Now I have three pieces of foam core board that are basically useless.

Why do I need to stick pins in my ironing board?  I use them to secure the first piece of fabric to the pattern when I am doing paperless paper piecing.  I also find pins invaluable for aligning seams and points when I am sewing a main seam together.  I stick pins through matching points straight up and down into the ironing board, and I stick pins here and there to match seamlines.  Then I glue baste the main seam allowances together, press and sew.  I generally get great results with only the occasional need to rip and redo.  I know, I am very fussy, but I like to be able to show my quilts and these details are important in that venue.

Sharon Schamber has a great video on making your own pressing board.  I have watched it a couple of times, but the board she uses is not meant for sticking pins into.  I got the brilliant idea of placing cork board on top of my DH-built ironing table (22" x 60"), and placing the covering over that. I did some research and found that it is heat resistant, absorbing heat without emitting fumes.  It is slightly rough, which grips the covering fabric enough to keep it in place.

Corkboard on top of plywood table surface (to the left is a small platform
for setting stuff on - not part of the ironing surface)

TIP:  In my research I found that you should not use particle board.  It does not hold up when exposed to moisture.  I do not use a steam iron, but do occasionally use water in a spray bottle and/or starch.  I didn't find anything about cork and moisture so I am keeping my fingers crossed, but I don't think it is an issue.  DH says it will be fine.

I am covering the cork board with cotton batting and canvas.  I am using Quilters Dream Request  (low loft), which I have on hand so I am using two layers.  If I were using Quilters Dream Select I would use only one layer.

Batting on of cork board.
Ironing board is ready to go.  Canvas cover washed and clean.  Canvas cover no longer fits!  It REALLY shrunk!  Quilting time on hold as I make a new cover.  New canvas is in the washing machine in hot water as I write.

TIP:  Pre-shrink your canvas if you are using it for an ironing board cover.  Duh!

Waiting for the canvas to dry (my dryer is the mountain wind).

Sew some happy seams today.  I wish you no shrinkage this week.


  1. Thanks for the great information and for sharing your research.
    xx, Carol

  2. Marie, I make drapes and have a BIG work table with constant pinning. I also use it for quilting. I have used for years is a sheet of Celotex from the hardware store. Its a product used in building and comes in big 4x8' sheets but they cut it down for me. It's about 1/2" thick and pins will not move. So that's on the big table, it I cut off about 12" square and made by own pressing board. Lightweight and easy to carry around. I have had the same sheet of celotex for years and heat and pins won't damage it. Sharon in Greeley.

    1. I wish I had known about that option. I do like the cork, but have barely used it yet (see my post next week), and I made a little, portable board with the leftovers. Time will tell. I will wave at you - I am in Estes Park. Are you coming to the RM Quilt Festival this week?

    2. Yes, I am planning to attend, I could bring you a piece of it, 12 x 12. I am planning either Friday morning or sat morning.

    3. Bummer. I have to go on Thurs. I have guests coming in and have work here at home that must be done on Fri and Sat. Enjoy.

  3. Hi Mardi,
    Well, this is quite interesting! I have been thinking about making a larger ironing surface . . . and just started investigating what I should do. Thank you for sharing your project and tips. ~smile~ Roseanne

  4. Interesting about the celotex! I've never heard of it but plan on looking for some. I'd be interested to know if the cork holds up to the heat but the batting will surely help.