My Vintage Ironing Board, Recovered: A Pictorial Tutorial

In preparation for the V1419 sewalong,  I decided that my sewing area needed a spruce up.  I bought a new iron,  recovered my ironing board,  and sewed some pattern weights.  And while I was at it,  I thought I’d write a post about my vintage wooden ironing board,  an amazing piece of history that I own.

I first bought this about 10 years ago,  when the leg of my then modern metal board somehow got bent.  This made it unable to stand without wobbling and called for an immediate replacement.  On a low budget at the time,  I paid a visit to my local Salvation Army thrift store to see what they had.  Low and behold,  there it was!  I had never seen a wooden ironing board before,  and it looked quite primitive in comparison to the board I had just owned.   Also,  I had never given any thought to what ironing boards of the past were made of.  I realized that it was old,  and I was almost annoyed about the selection (I had wanted to buy another modern one),  but I needed one and the price was definitely right.  It had some water staining at the bottom, and a marker scrawl on the top,   but it was still in usable condition.  I remember thinking “it’ll have to do”.  I paid the $6.oo asking price,   took it home,  and I’ve been using it ever since.   It has a lot of character,  and I’ve grown to appreciate it for its age and beauty.

Every now and then I take the cover off and apply Old English furniture oil to it.  As a wooden object,  it needs this kind of care.   I did this recently and took some pics while waiting for the oil to finish penetrating.   This takes about a day.   I don’t want the cover to absorb any oil so I give it time.

Ironing Board & Peace Plant 001

Ironing Board & Peace Plant 004

Ironing Board & Peace Plant 005

Ironing Board & Peace Plant 007Ironing Board & Peace Plant 008

 

Ironing Board & Peace Plant 009

Ironing Board & Peace Plant 010

Ironing Board & Peace Plant 011

Ironing Board & Peace Plant 012

Ironing Board & Peace Plant 013

 

As I mentioned at the beginning and in the title of the post,  I also recovered the board.  The old cover was ok but it was getting worn.  It’s still good enough to use underneath the new cover because it has the insulating padding,  so I washed it and placed it back on the board.  I bought a yard and a half of ironing board cover fabric from Joann’s and began my work.   I stepped outside the box and cut it on the bias because:

A)  I didn’t buy enough fabric to cover on the grain without piecing. which I didn’t feel at all like doing,   and

B) Ironing board covers require stretch in all directions,  which justified the use of the bias grain.

Here’s the pictorial story:

Ironing Board Cover 001
Laid it out on top of the cover fabric.

 

Ironing Board Cover 002
Traced a 3.5″ (8.89 cm) border for the casing.
Close up of the tracing around the top.
Close up of the tracing around the top.
Marking the pivot point with a large dot where the board changes shape.
Marking the pivot point with a large dot where the board changes shape.
The cover cut to size with casing already sewn.
The cover cut to size with casing already sewn.
Preliminary fitting with partial elastic.
Preliminary fitting with partial elastic.
Ironing Board Cover 008
Final Fitting: Testing the Fit.
Finished and Fitted!
An Artsy Pic of It Finished and Fitted!
The Narrow End -  It Fits Beautifully!
The Narrow End – It Fits Beautifully!
Ironing Board Cover 019
With my new Iron 🙂 It matches nicely!
Close up of my new Iron :)
Close up of my new Iron 🙂

My new iron is the Shark 1500 watt professional lightweight iron.  My choice was between it and 2 others that both had a retractable cord,  which is a really nice feature.  However,  this one had 3 features that trumped that.  I liked the stainless steel soleplate and the tapered tip which allows for the iron to reach small areas,  a must for garment construction.  The others both had a teflon coated soleplate,  which is what my old iron had.  I found that residue from fabrics started to stick to it as it grew older,  so I thought an uncoated stainless soleplate might be better.  Also, although the retractable cord is an excellent feature,  I thought that it could easily break,  because one of the 2 store’s models was broken.   The third thing is that it seemed lighter weight than the others.  I didn’t want a heavy iron.

By the way,  it works great so far,  makes tons of steam on demand.  I also like that the lower heat settings are well calibrated.  It didn’t make my precious V1419 pattern pieces pucker!

If you’ve read this far,  thanks for reading,  and I hope you found it enjoyable 🙂

 

 

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5 Comments

  1. whoops! I hit Send before I was done commenting. I had a couple of questions: in some of the photos, the fabric looks white and in some of them it looks blue. Was it different colors on each side, or was this just a matter of the light? The other question is if you’ve ever tried Tried & True Danish Oil on the board. I’m not invested in that company, I just really love the product far above and beyond Old English. I even used Tried n True to finish my wood floors! I like it because it doesn’t have the smell that Old English does. But everyone had their own preference!

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    1. Thanks for commenting!
      I think it’s just a matter of the lighting. The fabric is actually grey, it’s aluminum coated cotton. Danish Oil is an actual wood finish, whereas Old English is just a wood conditioner/polish. I never considered finishing the board permanently because I’m concerned about stray heat from the iron melting the varnish.

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      1. Ah, that makes sense! I’ll keep that in mind in case I’m ever lucky enough to find a board like that. The only ones I’ve seen have been in the $70- $100 range.

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      2. Yeah that’s true! They are expensive these days. I only paid $6 for mine! I was so lucky on that deal! It was shortly before they gained vintage popularity, which made them go up in price.

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