In honor of Martha Stewart’s 70th Birthday today, I thought I would share my favorite “how to” project from her TV show.
I saw her do this years ago and that’s when I realized she apparently lived in an alternative universe where they don’t have the $2.50 Cleaners to do your tablecloths and other large items….
And I wondered who the hell had a laundry room big enough for one of these…
If you had a laundry room that big, then you had to have a staff to iron your tablecloths for you and didn’t need one of these…
Still, I love her….and her staff.
The large ironing tables at D & F Workroom in New York City, where Martha recently had some upholstery done, inspired her to devise this oversize ironing board. You can make one to fit on a flat surface in your laundry room. Not only is this board a practical solution to working with unwieldy expanses of fabric such as large tablecloths and heavy curtains, but it is also firmer and tauter than the standard board, making clothes and linens easier to press. The secret to creating the right give in the surface is Bump, an extremely thick English table flannel commonly used as an interface for winter draperies or to buffer large tablecloths. When the top layer of the board, which is made of muslin, becomes discolored from ironing, simply tear it off and replace with a fresh piece.
Tools and Materials
Piece of 3/4-inch-thick high-grade plywood, 30 by 45 inches
2 pieces cotton or wool felt, 34 by 49 inches
1 piece Bump, 36 by 51 inches
1 piece medium-weight cotton muslin sheeting, 38 by 53 inches
Several feet of 1/2-inch cotton twill tape
Folding tool (a letter opener is ideal)
Oversize Ironing Board How-To
1. Cover plywood with two layers of felt. Wrap one side to the back of the board, and staple midway along the side, 1 1/2 inches in from edge. Wrap fabric over opposite side; staple directly opposite first. Repeat on other two sides. Working out toward corners, continue adding staples in pairs on opposite sides of plywood. Miter corners by pinching felt together at each corner so it’s centered diagonally, letting excess fabric stick up. Secure each side with two staples. Press excess fabric straight down diagonally, and secure raw edges with staple. Use folding tool to smooth down corners as you work. Make sure corners are as neat as possible.
2. Cover the felt with a layer of Bump flannel. Use same stapling technique as for felt. Fold corners neatly and staple.
3. Iron muslin; wrap over Bump, and secure with staples, following steps listed above.
4. Trim fabric close to staples, then glue lengths of 1/2-inch cotton twill tape over staples and unfinished edges. Press down with folding tool. Wipe off excess glue.