I’m a convert to those mini irons for taking to workshops or for having beside me when I’m sewing lots of little pieces that need pressing, but when you have a mini iron you really also need a mini ironing pad. I’m not sure where I first saw the idea of using a cork backed placement as the base for an ironing pad, but it seemed like a good idea. I do like woolen blanket plus old sheet as an ironing surface (nice and firm and a bit heat resistant), but in this case I was a bit nervous about just having one layer of wool blanket on top of the decorated place mat surface, so I also added a layer of insulbrite as two layers of wool blanket would have been too spongy for small pressing jobs. Both those layers were cut to the size of the place mat, then a piece of calico was cut sufficiently large to wrap around the back and glue onto the cork backing. For that job, I used a Bostik clear adhesive – nice and tacky and perfect for the job. Because the edges of the fabric were raw, I neatened it up by gluing a piece of tape all round to cover the edges. I’m going to be a bit careful that I don’t let the pad get too hot when ironing, but I think with the cork backing it will stand up quite nicely to the use it is going to get.

While I was at it, I also glued a piece of very fine emery paper onto a thick piece of cardboard. This will be used as a grippy pad for holding small squares of fabric while I draw diagonal lines (for making half square triangles). If you don’t either starch your fabric, or have a grippy mat, it is very easy to have wonky lines that don’t quite go to the corners and that can make your HST’s wonky as well. A tip I got recently (at a Quilters Guild Regional workshop) was to have an ordinary plastic school ruler for doing things like drawing those lines on fabric – it has a much thinner edge than quilting rulers, so easier to see exactly where your line is going.

Having made those two items, I thought it would be good to have a little pouch to put them in, so that was the next make. No measurements – I just grabbed a piece of fabric, laid my ironing pad on it to see roughly how wide it needed to be, and wrapped the fabric around to see how long a piece I needed, then cut two pieces the right size (one for the lining). A plate was my template for rounding the corners, then it was right sides together and sew all around leaving a small opening in the side. I also popped a folded piece of ribbon in the middle of the flap edge (original plan had been to use that as a fastener, before I decided Velcro would be easier, but it makes a good grab tag). I turned it right side out and gave it a press, then folded up the bottom as far as I wanted it to go, checking that the top folded over where I wanted it to. I marked the folds, and Velcro placement, then sewed the Velcro on. Finally those side seams were sewn (top stitched about ¼ inch in), continuing right around the top edge and down the other side.

My pouch now contains my mini ironing pad, my grippy board, a couple of small rulers and pencils. Would have been perfect for taking to workshops and quilting group if I hadn’t decided to give it away to a fellow quilter as a christmas gift!  Oh well, I guess I just have to make another one for myself now.

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