Facebook Email Pinterest Twitter X Instagram Tiktok Icon YouTube Icon Headphones Icon Favorite Navigation Search Icon Forum Search Icon Main Search Icon Close Icon Video Play Icon Indicator Arrow Icon Close Icon Hamburger/Search Icon Plus Icon Arrow Down Icon Video Guide Icon Article Guide Icon Modal Close Icon Guide Search Icon

Conversational Threads

Ironing table fabric

huselna | Posted in General Discussion on

Hi.  I’m wanting to make a new cover for my home made ironing table.  I had used a teflon fabric from Nancy’s notions before, but it does leave an acrid odor in my sewing room.  I would like to know what my fellow sewists prefer to use. 

Thanks for your input.



  1. Minnie63 | | #1

    I remember a long, long time ago, my Grandmother made one in layers, first, cover the board with alu. foil, then, add a sheet of flannel, last is a good cotton material. The aluminum foil can be left out but it helps with even heating. Hope this helps, M

  2. solosmocker | | #2

    On the table I made in my last home I used cotton drill for the cover. Underneath were 2 old wool blankets.

  3. Bloss1996 | | #3

    Hi All,

    I just made an ironing board cover for my ironing board a few months ago.  It was a project I knew I had to do and just kept putting off.  One of the reasons I thought of making it is that my ironing board is a rectangle.  You can drop one side to make an off side point.  I only know of one place that I can purchase one that will fit (my ironing board is over 40 years old and I just love it) and after speaking to them on the phone it sounded like their new covers are now silicone which I am not particularly fond of.  My original cover was made of a muslin like material.  I purchased one of the "miracle covers" about 12 years ago ... never was particularly fond of it and truly wanted to go back to the sort of old fashioned cover that I had had originally. 

    My mother-in-law had told me years ago that the more padding you had on an iron board the better your ironing would be.  So with that in mind, I went about planning this cover.  The first thing I did was to remove (by seam ripper) the band that goes around the ironing board that has the string in it as well as the string from my original ironing board cover ... yes, I had kept it all these years!  Thought was that I would not have to replace it ... not for the cost as it would cost next to nothing but for the aggrevation of making a new binding strip and feeding the string through it.  Second I knew I would somehow have to provide some padding and after a great deal of thought deciced to use Warm and Wonderful ... a couple of layers.  Finally I made the actual cover out of Roc Lon that I had here as I could not find a muslin that I felt was a good enough quality.

    It has worked out wonderfully.  I have ironed on it, fused on it and used it for my sewing projects and they all have worked out well on the board.


    1. Ralphetta | | #4

      Is your ironing board a Proctor?  It sounds like mine and I just love mine. Having that big rectangle to work on, is just great. I wrote to this site a few months ago to see if anyone knew of anything similar by another company that I might buy because mine is beginning to show its age.  (I've been searching Ebay for a year.) People obviously didn't understand what I was saying when I described how it folded down at the end because I was told you could find them at all sorts of discount stores.  No, you can't.

      1. Bloss1996 | | #5

         "No, you can't."

        You are correct ... you cannot even buy them anymore anywhere.  Keep checking on Ebay and you may just luck out.  Yes, it is a Mary Proctor and I am hoping that it will continue to survive for another 40 years.  The legs are getting a little rusty and I suppose I could sand them and paint them but no one but I sees them and they don't bother me the way they are so why bother.

        My mother-in-law had one that was even older than mine and both sides collapsed down on hers to make a point ... and that point was centered in the middle.  But in the time when women pressed shirts I just loved the square end for doing the yokes! 

        I wouldn't trade this for the world.  I had to find an ironing board for FL and found one at the Salvation Army store (many people in FL shop there and Goodwill as the quality and quantity is much more than here as well as the fact that I am located right next to Sarasota).  Anyway, I had to buy a regular ironing board but my main thing was to get one that had big thick legs like my Proctor which makes it much sturdier I think.


        1. Ralphetta | | #6

          Mine hasn't been folded up in about 35 years!  Yes, it is great for ironing shirts.  It's so big that I sit and use it as a work table while watching TV.  It's very nice for pressing big items because of the rectangular shape. The point still folds and it 's working fine, but I don't know what I'll do when it dies. About 15 years ago I contacted Proctor to see if they had sold the patent to another company.  I just got a form letter that told me nothing. 

          They look strange and I can understand why most people didn't buy them and Proctor quit making them.  I wish a specialty company would start to make them again for sewers.

          1. Bloss1996 | | #7

            Mine also has not been folded up in years ... but probably not quite 35.  The one I bought in FL is very similar except for the fact that it is pointed like most ironing boards.  But it is pretty big I think as the ironing board cover I bought for it just fit ... in fact it was a struggle to get it on!  I haven't checked it over real well but my guess is that it may also be a Proctor (because of the legs) but that is only a guess.

            Don't fold it up and just keep on ironing!!


      2. BernaWeaves | | #21

        For those of you looking for a big rectangular ironing board, check this out:


        It's a large rectangular ironing board top that fits over a regular ironing board.

        I just bought one and I love it.  It's very sturdy.  I thought it would wobble, but it doesn't.   It makes ironing so much quicker.  If I need the "point" on my ironing board, I just take the top off and iron on the regular ironing board.

        If you have handy husbands, they could probably make it for you, but I decided to just bite the bullet and buy one.  It was worth it.


        1. Ralphetta | | #22

          Thank you, I've seen that and may have to go that route.  My current problem is that my old board is getting a little wobbly and I know it wouldn't support a lot of weight.  I would need to get a new board AND that, but it might be the best solution.

          Also, I think I could make one of those.

          1. stitchagain | | #23

            There is a great Threads article on making an ironing board cover for your ironing board (issue 86).  It does have an optional extra "leg" to help with wobbles.

            What I am still not getting is whether the foil is needed or not.  The Threads' article just has batting and two layers of cotton canvas.  Is is better for the steam to go through or bounce back?



          2. Linda03052 | | #24

            Hi All!

            I realize I'm late to this thread, but after reading it earlier, it occurred to me that the Proctor ironing board that my late mother had was the one that was spoken of in the earliest posts on this subject.  So I went to my brother and asked if he ever used it.  He looked at me like I was crazy, and offered it to me!!!  Hurrah!  I'm thrilled!  It needs one of the rubber end caps.  There seemed to be a couple posts wherein someone was contacted at Proctor.  Do they still exist?  Is there someplace to buy covers (though frankly, I'll probably do a wool blanket covered with coutil.  I'm so excited--I've always hated my "new" one, but never really realized without you kindred spirits what I was missing!  Thank you to you all!

            Also, just recently, I came across another rectangular board.  It's a two-in-one things that looks cool, but pricey.  Here's the link for anyone curious.


            Have a great day everyone!

            Linda 03052

          3. DONNAKAYE | | #25

            I've seen a lot of discussions about heat/steam passing through versus reflecting back.  Basically I've ignored them all and stuck with what I know works: a cutting table/pressing unit (mine is 4-by-16 because I used to do custom drapery fabrication in addition to home sewing) covered with three layers of 100% army wool blanket, topped with two layers heavy-duty muslin, topped by blocking cloths sewn together (1" square measurements printed on cloth); and a tabletop pressing board (what I've sometimes referred to as a "pants board"), 36" long, one end wider than the other, with five layers of heavy amy wool and covered with two layers of medium-weight muslin.  All I know is that these tools work extremely well and my pressing comes out professionally done.  Whether the wood is soaking up the steam or sending it back, I have no idea.  I don't even use an "ironing board" to press my clothes; I use the tabletop pressing board in my sewing studio.  After working on the professional tables and such, I have never found myself satisfied with the pressing job any ironing board has ever done.  It just has never gotten the job I wanted done, done.  The garments just have always looked underpressed to me.  Plus I've never found an ironing board that could take the constant beating of a pounding block and heavy pressure with the iron and such that I use in various tailoring techniques.  Ditto for the sleeve board; I've custom made my own to withstand the abuse of constant tailoring techniques.  Plus the sleeve boards available in the sewing stores are all too short, in my opinion.  My sister-in-law, who makes custom handbags, finally got off the ironing board and onto a tabletop pressing board, and the results are noticeable, a lot more professional.

          4. stitchagain | | #26

            Thank you for your reply to my post

            I am going to assume that you have a industrial iron as well.

            Your reply reinforces my feelings about ironing systems.




  4. melanie | | #8

    My ironing board was bought in the 6os, the base a wooden board on a tubular frame, but about ten years ago the wood had to be replaced so I cut a new one a bit wider than the old one. I covered it first with an aluminium cover, then topped it with a good thick layer of batting, and then my great discovery!!!! - a cover called "Press Mate" which I got mail order from a firm in Scotland which deals in sewing notions etc. from the USA (only firm from which I can get Seams Great). The cover is in a strong cotton but here's the brilliant bit - it is printed with a grid of red lines in inches and centimetres, also some diagonals and arcs. This is so practical I use the ironing board for cutting out collars, cuffs etc. and even altering paper pattern pieces  - no need to get out the cutting mat or hunt for my measuring tape. If Press Mate is no longer available I would certainly recommend a top fabric such as gingham or a check - even doing the family laundry, having a guide for the straight of fabric is a great help - hems, curtains ... Because of the thickness of the layers beneath, mine is ideal for putting pins in vertically to hold a piece while marking - rather like the demonstration David Coffin is doing in that video clip someone so helpfully directed us to. As to the underside, I never found the elasticised arrangement or drawstring very satisfactory and used strong drawing pins instead but some time ago in what we call "pound shops", novelty shops of cheap gadgets where everything costs a pound sterling (now 2€ shops), I found sets of what look like pairs of stocking suspenders held end to end with elastic and meant to hold the corners of sheets diagonally - forget the sheets, the four of them clipped across the underside of the cover is ideal for holding the cover taut. I don't know if this is any help but it might suggest an idea.

  5. Monkey1961 | | #9


    I use a wooden Ironing board with wood legs from the mid 1920's.  It is a bit wider and longer then most, so I use a very thick pad of cotton quilt batting, and a rather course grade of plain unbleached muslin that has been washed for the cover.  I simply cut a paper pattern, adding extra for the thickness with padding, and to go underneath, then zig-zag elastic that is well stretched around the edge to keep it in place.  The original one had eyelets around the edge about every 4 inches except at the point, whitch had a pocket of fabric to slide over the point, and a twill tape that crossed back and forth like a shoe lace and tied at the end in a neat bow.

    Good luck!


    1. Sancin | | #19

      For many years I ironed on a wooden ironing board which was probably even pre 1920's that I inherited from a great aunt, I replaced the padding and cover every so often. Then I bought a wider ironing board to use when quilting - it was made of some sort of pressed wood.  On examining both the old and the newer one I discovered that the wood had warped in the centre and I probably never did get a good press.  I now have a wide metal mesh ironing board (with a lot of gew gaws I wish it didn't have) that I have padded with an old wool blanket and a canvas (heavy cotton) cover.  I find pressing much better as the steam goes through the padding and the board, accepting more steam and dries quickly.  

      Edited 7/25/2007 2:53 am ET by Sancin

  6. SewNancy | | #10

    I made myself an ironing table recently and used a 2 old wool blankets to pad it and covered it in ordinary muslin. I bought the wider size that's available at Jo Anns. I have read that the teflon covers encourage scorching because they reflect heat back at the fabric. I just stapled it to the back, making nice mitered corners to reduce bulk and I figure that it is cheap and easy to recover when it gets dirty. I can't believe I've lived all these years without a large ironing surface. I love it.

  7. Teaf5 | | #11

    I use 100% cotton muslin (which I preshrink) to make my ironing board covers, adding a drawstring on the underside to keep it taut.  I use double fabric in the most used area.  Every so often, I toss it in the wash with bleach and hot water; it's so cheap and easy to make, though, that if it's terribly stained, I'll just make a new one.

    Lately, though, I've been thinking about using ticking fabric so that I could use the woven stripes as a built-in straight to fold down hems, etc. if I could get it fitted so that the lines would be straight...

    Edited 7/18/2007 7:24 pm by Teaf5

    1. kathyann | | #12

      Oh, I am so cheap! I like to wash the tops often, so I make them out of old bed sheets. I leave the ironing board up in the sewing room, and the cat likes to sleep on it (esp. when I am sewing), so when it gets furry, I just whip it off and put a new one on.Kathyann

    2. SewNancy | | #13

      I don't prewash it because if you wet it after you stretch it and staple it , it will shrink to fit and get rid of any wrinkles and become taut

      1. Teaf5 | | #14

        I remember my mother tacking/wetting/shrinking the muslin on her wooden ironing board--can't do that with my not-nearly-as-old metal board!

        1. SewNancy | | #15

          My regular ironing board is metal too, but I did this is on the large table/board I made for ironing fabric, but I found that it is wonderful for ironing all my sewing in progress and it holds all my pressing tools easily too. I can't believe that I never made one before!

          1. User avater
            matzahari | | #16

            this thread inspired me to redo my ironing table with homasote, old blankets and a top with markings. photo attached

          2. SewNancy | | #17

            Looks fabulous. Now I need a steam generator iron.

          3. User avater
            matzahari | | #18

            I highly recommend the rowenta I have. It cost a bundle but handles anything: from silk chiffon to heavy canvas.  I have an elna press for fusing but I find  I use the iron most of the time because it works so well.

  8. Pattiann42 | | #20

    Use could use batting/wadding to pad the board and then cover with cotton in a happy color.  I think everything you use to cover the board would have to "breathe" and not hold moisture - mildew?

    I cut my cover, using the old one as a pattern.  Elastic helps keep it in shape and the clip-on elastic bands that are sold in the housewares department along with covers, pins as so forth keep the cover from shifting.

This post is archived.

Threads Insider

Get instant access to hundreds of videos, tutorials, projects, and more.

Start Your Free Trial

Already an Insider? Log in

Conversational Threads

Recent Posts and Replies

  • |
  • |
  • |
  • |
  • |
  • |

Threads Insider Exclusives

View All
View All