Sunday, May 20, 2012

Tutorial: roll-up ironing pad

Prior to my trip to the Fat Quarterly Sewing Retreat in London,
I made a roll-up ironing pad because we were asked to bring along an iron and a mat/pad/board.

I found this description online but thought that it lacked some pictures so I wrote my own (first) tutorial.

Please do a test run first! 
Don't burn down your house!
I don't take responsibility if the ironing pad does not work the way it should.
This is just a description of what I did. Depending on the material you use the results and effects may be different from mine! 

O.k. that being said:

Here we go!

My ironing pad is about 35 x 45 cm. 
(I chose the size according to an old towel I wanted to use.)

Supply list for a 35 x 45 cm pad: 
Basic sewing notions
2 layers of heat resistant/absorband fabric each 35 x 45 cm
2 or more layers of  100 % padding (I cut up an (old) towel) each 35 x 45 cm
90 cm of ribbon or bias/binding tape for the closing strips
2 layers of 100 % cotton fabric for the cover, each about 37 x 47 cm
matching thread

Test run: Stack all fabrics on a heat resistant surface (e.g.your 
ironing board, etc.): at the bottom: 1 layer or heat resistant fabric, middle: 2 or more layers of padding/ towel, top: second layer of heat resistant fabric and cover fabric. 
Iron for some time.
How much heat has been absorbed? 
You may have to add more layers if neccessary.

1. Cut away the double-folded edges of the towel 
(the final product will have many (and thick) layers. I just wanted to get rid of too much bulk). 
Optional: Serge or zig zag the edges of the heat resistant fabric and the towel. I didn't.

2. Layer the two pieces of padding/ towel and sew around all sides with a seam allowance of 0,5 cm (alternatively 1/4").

Here are the two layers sewn together. 
Optional: I realized that the layers shifted when I smoothed the surface with my hands. That caused bulky spots that you don’t want in an ironing pad :o(

I decided to prevent the layers from shifting by sewing a loose grid of vertical seams about 3 cm apart.

Afterwards the towel was nice and flat:

3. Onto the heat resistant fabric (ask at your local fabric store, there seem to be different versions, names and purposes from different companies and in different countries): Make a sandwich by layering one layer of heat resistant fabric at the bottom, the towel in the middle and the second layer of heat resistant fabric on top.

4. Pin. 

5. Sew around all sides. Use a generous seam allowance (1 cm)

6. For the closing strips I used some left over binding tape (2,5"). Fold long sides in and iron.

7. Fold and iron again.

8. Fold in the short edges...

9. ... and sew along the short and long sides.

10. Cut into two strips. ( I cut it in halfes but it might be better to cut in 1/3 and 2/3).

11. Lay out the cover fabric, right side up. Take the raw ends of the two strips and pin to the cover fabric (at the center of the short side) .

12. Lay out the second layer of cover fabric right side down on top of the first layer. Sew around the four sides with a seam allowance of about 0,75 cm, leaving a large opening at one of the long sides.
(you may want to secure the strips by going back and forth several times).

13. Turn inside out (don't forget to take out the pins!)  
and insert the sandwich of heat resistant fabric and towel:

14. Handstitch close the opening (or if you are as lazy as I am dislike handstitching  use your sewing machine to close the opening). 

15. To attach all layers, sew around all sides with a generous seam allowance (about 1 cm).

16. Roll up, tie a nice bow and you are done :o)

Please keep in mind that I'm not a native (english) speaker and that this is my first tutorial. Please let me know if something is missing or badly explained. I'd be happy to improve the tutorial for you :o)

Happy Sewing!


  1. Oooh I really really love this! If I get time, I'm going to make one too, such a great idea

  2. Great tutorial.

    Thanks so much for taking the time to make it.

    Fab idea xxxx

  3. Fab, thanks for sharing, I was all set for making one tonight ready to bring but I dont have any heatproof fabric :-(


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