A pressing matter of importance to all quilters!

posted in: Quilting, sewing, Tutorial | 10

What pressing matter could I be referring to? Of course, it’s pressing! Pressing seams, blocks and fabrics.

Much has been written on the subject of pressing vs ironing. I am guilty of the ironing motion for sure. However just as important as HOW you do something is WHERE you do it.


Why you need a pressing board - Cassandra Madge


When I first started quilting, I used my ironing board for pressing my fabrics and my blocks. I found I could never get a crisp seam the way I really wanted it, there was just too much give in the wire base and the padding was so thin. It became a complete source of frustration.

I moved on to a pressing board, a makeshift one of a spare melamine shelf wrapped in an old towel.

WHAT a difference that made. Even though it was lumpy and the towel tended to shift on me when I least wanted it to, there were those lovely crisp seams I dreamt of!


Pressing Board - Cassandra Madge


Now, finally in my new studio I have a purpose made, huge pressing board. It was so easy to make I don’t know why I didn’t do it years ago. The only cost was the fabric of about $10, and I ran out of staples for my staple gun about half way through.


Pressing Board - Cassandra Madge


You can see by the scale this is huge. I would have preferred it to go across the whole cupboard top, but I was using a sheet of plywood that we pulled out during the renovation, so I was limited by it’s width. However this board is massive, at over 70cm or 28″ square, I can press yardage with ease. The thick heavy plywood helps keep it completely stable when dragging fabrics across it. Under the teapots, which is just a cute home decorator weight cotton I found at Spotlight, are two layers of batting. Again, you don’t have to sacrifice new batting for this, I used two offcut lengths left over from trimming quilts that I stitched together. I simply rotated one of them so that the joining seams weren’t over the top of each other when I laid them on the board. You cannot find the joins now from the top.


Follow Cassandra’s board Office and Craft room ideas on Pinterest.


There are instructions on how to make pressing boards, using table tops and even old ironing boards here on my Office and Craft Room Ideas Pinterest board. Converting an old ironing board is up next!

Honestly though, it was so simple to make. I carefully stretched the batting layers over the board and stapled them down onto the back, mitring and flattening the corners as best I could so as to keep the base flat. Then simply repeat the process with the chosen top fabric. The most challenging part was keeping the rows of teapots straight while I was tugging and stapling on the back.

On Instagram I was asked what I would do when this cover, as all covers do, got dirty. It’s very simple. I will just staple a new cover straight over the top! Assuming that there isn’t too much damage, the old cover will just become another layer of padding. If it’s very badly stained or torn, I will just prise the staples out of the back and then put the new cover over the old batting.


Why you need a pressing board - Cassandra Madge


Pressing boards are wonderful for getting your yardage perfectly flat, your seams flat and when you make a board large like this one, even pressing the long joining seams on your quilt top becomes a breeze. If you’re not using a pressing board yet, I highly recommend it. Even if you just set one up on top of your existing ironing board, you will notice a difference in your patchwork immediately!



So tell me, do you use a pressing board or an ironing board?



 Happy Crafting - Cassie.

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10 Responses

  1. Jacquie

    Brilliant idea! I can see the benefit of not having the pointed nose of an ironing board when dealing with yardage! I wonder if I could make space for this, hmm

  2. ali

    Love your title…I’ve just switched to a pressing board, and love that I can fold that messy looking ironing board up! xx

    • Cassandra

      I’m glad you appreciated my little play on words Ali, I just couldn’t resist! Ironing boards are really not a decorator item lol 😉

  3. agnes

    Do you use steam when pressing? I wonder if the steam will warp the cabinet top underneath.

    • Cassandra

      Great question Agnes! I wouldn’t use it on top of a nice timber cabinet, but I used the same melamine shelf for 3 years and it’s not bubbled, warped or discoloured. I LOVE my steam, I am a chronic over-user so I think most items like this are safe. I would use it at your discretion though.

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