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Tips & Techniques > Make your own pressboard

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Posted by: Tailypo

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Member since: 8/6/03
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Posted on: 2/19/06 9:12 PM
Review Rating: Helpful by 5 people   Very Helpful by 18 people   
Featured in the PR book!
(I got the instructions for doing this when I took a class at Apparel Arts in San Francisco. The handout was a typewritten sheet without copyright notification on it, so I don't believe there will be a problem with me summarizing it here.)

I have ironed on a nice wide ironing board, and I have ironed on a square pressboard, and IMO a pressboard cannot be beat. Furthermore, by making your own you will end up spending about $45, not the hundreds a Brabantia board will set you back.


Sound Board (AKA Homasote or Building Board) 2-3' x 3'
Heavy wool felt or wool fabric -- 2 yds
Dense Batting -- 2 yds
Medium to Heavy Weight Muslin (2 yds, prewashed)
Staple Gun

1. The sound board can be purchased at a lumber store. It usually comes in an 8' by 4' piece. I asked them to cut it to size for my table -- 30" by 40". If you can't find sound board you need to choose a board that is light and porous so that air, heat, and moisture can flow through it. Anything else will mildew.

2. Cover the top of the board with one or two layers of heavy wool felt or wool fabric. I went to an Army Navy store and got an old wool army blanket. Check carefully though -- many of the army drab green blankets are a blend. My 100% wool blanket was white and appeared to be French.

3. On top of the wool, put down two layers of dense cotton batting. A fluffy batting will create too much of a pillow effect. The garment and iron should not sink in while pressing.

Attach the felt and batting to the back of the board with a staple gun. Be sure to pull the wool and batting around the board so it is smooth and snug.

4. Cover the board with one or two layers of prewashed cotton muslin. Prewashing will remove any sizing from the surface. Make sure the muslin does not have ridges as those ridges will imprint fabric. Pull the muslin taut around teh board. Staple the muslin to the back fot he board.

Heavily mist the muslin surface with water and steam and press it. This will smooth out any wrinkles and will shrink the muslin cover to fit the board.


I only just finished mine yesterday but it has already made ironing pattern pieces a pleasure. Also, the expanse of ironing space inspired me to finally finish a set of rod-and-pocket curtains I put off for a year. I wholeheartedly recommend this 'notion' for anyone who has the surface space for a large pressing surface (and I think that this flat board stores more neatly than an ironing board, IMHO.

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Gigi Louis said... (2/21/06 10:07 AM) Reply
I absolutely could not live without my pressing board! A few years ago I started attaching the outer drill cover with duct tape - it's just as secure and so much easier to replace or remove for washing.
SewVeryTall said... (2/21/06 6:01 AM) Reply
Thanks for your reply :)
vasallese said... (2/20/06 10:59 PM) Reply
This is very good info. I have wanted to make my own for a while, just wasn't sure all I would need. Didn't even think about the mildew factor. Thanks.
Tailypo said... (2/20/06 9:45 PM) Reply
Ardis, I put off replying to your question, hoping that the answer would suddenly come back to me. But I have no idea!
lorrwill said... (2/20/06 9:15 PM) Reply
This fantastic! I just recently drafted plans for a large pressing/blocking surface (that can be folded to store in my tiny apartment) but did not take the mildew factor into consideration. Thanks so much for this information.
Tailypo said... (2/20/06 1:15 PM) Reply
Sewnow1004 -- There is a review -- right here:
sewnow1004 said... (2/20/06 12:11 PM) Reply
Thanks for this tip. Will you also review the class you took at Apparel Arts SF?
AnnieBanany said... (2/20/06 9:56 AM) Reply
I was just talking to a friend about an extra wide ironing board Walmart is selling for $45. Upon examination, it looked cheesy, padding for the cover seemed too thin so that the "waffles" of the ironing board itself would leave their mark on the fabric, getting worse with wear. It did come with an additional pad but what's worse than one bad pad than two? And I thought of what I would use after going through both pads. I have a long "farmers table" that I thought might work but was pretty sure those waffle air vents are on regular ironing boards for a reason. Along comes your answer. Thank you! I'm off to the hardware store and other places to get the supplies for a press board. Thank so much! This is a big deal to me as I iron a prewash all of my fabric and need to press it. Hundreds of yards sometimes. Using a regular ironing board was getting to be a real drag and time consuming!
SewVeryTall said... (2/20/06 5:16 AM) Reply
It really would be great to have a bigger pressing area at times...thank you for the instructions [especially the type of board]! I'm curious about the batting...when I recovered my ironing board, I just used the layers of wool and covered them with you know the purpose of the batting?
AuntyqLace said... (2/20/06 0:37 AM) Reply
Neat tip, thank you for posting.
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