LOL. In writing the title for this post I accidentally wrote "Ironing Man" instead of "Ironing Mat". It would be awesome if I had made an ironing man to do all of my ironing for me and had a tutorial to share with all of you about how you could make your very own ironing man, but unfortunately I don't. Luckily though the ironing mat I did make is awesome enough to make up for the fact that we still need to do it ourselves.
Now onto why I made an ironing mat:
My sewing room, while spacious, still doesn't have a permanent place for an ironing board. Normally when I sew I pull out the ironing board from the closet and set it up somewhere where I think it will be least offensive, but it ALWAYS ends up in the way, and often gets bumped, and the iron is constantly getting knocked over. Not fun.
While making the friendship quilt I posted about a few days ago I was constantly having to press the seams of all of my half square triangles open, then press my pinwheels open, then press my flying geese open. Needless to say I was getting really frustrated with moving back and forth between my sewing table and the ironing board. I needed a better ironing solution. Thus came my idea to finally make myself an ironing mat.
I've seen the different ironing mats they sell at stores like Joanns and they always look so boring. With all of the awesome fabrics out there who wants an ugly ironing mat? I always have some InsulBright insulated batting on hand for making pot holders, so who's to say I couldn't make my own ironing mat? And who's to say you can't make one too?
To make your own ironing mat you'll need:
100% cotton fabric for ironing mat top and backing
InsulBright insulated batting or any other insulated batting
100% cotton batting
optional cotton scraps to pad batting
My finished mat size is 30"x20", so I started by cutting all of my fabrics to just over that size. Whatever size you decide to make your own mat make sure you leave enough extra fabric to compensate for any shifting that might occur in the quilting process.
Cutting the fabric and batting pieces.
I then made my quilt sandwich, starting with laying the backing fabric face down on my surface, then adding the optional two layers of cotton muslin, then the cotton batting, then the InsulBright with the shiny side facing up (or whichever side is intended to be the HOT side, according to the insulated batting's directions), then my top fabric facing up.
All the layers sandwiched, with my top layer folded back so you can see the layers.
All the layers folded back so you can see the backing fabric.
I pinned all layers together and did a simple squiggle quilting line with my machine. Straight quilting would have worked, as would have a zig-zag line, but I used the squiggle,
Squiggle quilted at different intervals. I chose to do lines close to each line of flowers on the fabric to accentuate them.
I then straightened all of my edges, and rounded my corners using a rounded corner template. There's a good one here, or you can just use the edge of a plate.
Ironing mat trimmed down with rounded corners.
I then made myself a strip of binding using another cotton fabric and attached it using the method found here.
Binding made and pinned to the mat, ready to be sewn. (You'll notice that this isn't the final binding. I ended up not liking the yellow with polka dots and ended up switching it out for a red with polka dots).
And it's done! Enjoy!
My completed ironing mat.
Having this ironing mat has been so handy in the last few weeks that I've been using it. Not only is it gorgeous (I absolutely love the Denyse Schmidt print I used for the top) but it folds up easily and goes in the drawer of my sewing table so it's right there when I want to use it.
A note about the mat: Using 100% cotton and insulated batting is essential. Synthetic fabrics and batting aren't as resistant to the heat as cotton is, so for a project like an ironing mat you want to avoid them. Adding extra layers of cotton batting or cotton fabrics under the insulated batting help block the heat that makes it through the insulated batting from traveling through your mat to the surface below. And just to be on the safe side, I would not use the ironing mat on any nice wood surface. Since some heat does make it through the mat if the mat is used extensively, using it on a surface that is sensitive to heat (like a wooden dining room table) is probably not the best idea. With that said I've been using it laid on top of my cutting mat as you see in the image above for a few weeks now and the small amount of heat that makes it through has not damaged my mat at all.