Pressing Matters - How To Make A Custom Pressing Mat


Hi Everyone! In Part 4, we wrap up the topic of Pressing Matters with a quick and easy tutorial showing you how to make a custom pressing mat. A pressing mat is a great thing to have! It allows you to create a pressing surface anywhere that's most convenient. Sometimes an ironing board is just too big and can only fit into certain parts of the space you are sewing. When you have to press seams throughout your project it can become quite tiring to go back and forth from your sewing machine to your ironing board to complete your project. A pressing mat helps to solve this issue!

The most common pressing mat that you can purchase is a wool mat.

  • A wool pressing mat  - these are available in a variety of sizes (and quality). The main selling point is that because it absorbs the heat into the wool, it presses both sides of your fabric at the same time. If you are looking to purchase one of these, I recommend getting one that is 100% wool. If you get a good quality one it will last a long time and work well.  (It shouldn't smell or melt, if it does, it might have a mixed fiber content). I got mine from a vendor (GrannysLegacy) at one of the Quilt Shows, it works great!  

Don't worry though, if you don't have one or don't want to purchase one, we have another solution for you! Shari has provided us with a tutorial to make your own custom pressing mat. The great thing about this is that it's portable, it can be rolled up, and it can be used pretty much anywhere!

How To Make A Pressing Mat:

Supply List:

To make the Pressing Mat in our tutorial, you will need to collect a few supplies. The Pressing Mat is made with the same materials as the ironing board cover (from our earlier tutorial).  Depending on the size mat you want, you can probably make it with the leftover fabric from that project. 

Cover and Backing Fabric – Cut the cover to the size you would like your mat to be and the backing 2" wider and longer. - One piece for the cover and one piece for the backing.

  • This fabric should be 100% cotton in a medium weight. Avoid synthetic or synthetic blend fabrics since they have a tendency to trap moisture and don't hold up well to the heat of an iron. Trapped moisture and scorched fabric work together to transfer stains to the fabric you are pressing!

  • Choose a fabric with a minimal texture to avoid pressing textures into your fabrics.

  • Unbleached muslin is the most practical choice if you are concerned about transferring dyes or other chemicals to your fabrics.

  • If you prefer something a bit more exciting, choose a quality quilting fabric in whatever color or print suits your fancy.

  • For a durable stain-resistant cover, a Teflon™ coated fabric is the best choice. Teflon™ coated fabric can be found at most large fabric stores or online.

Batting – Cut the same size as your cover fabric. Batting helps to smooth out your pressing surface and provides an airflow that helps the steam and heat from your iron work more effectively.

  • The best choice is a wool blanket, washed and dried so it won't shrink later on. The fibers of the blanket are designed to be more stable and less prone to pull apart over time. Wool is naturally heat resistant and does not hold moisture as much as cotton or synthetic fibers. This not only reduces the risk of stains in the fabric you are pressing, but also helps to improve the effectiveness of the steam from your iron. No wool blanket available? Use a couple of layers of wool felt, found on the bolt in larger fabric stores or felt a heavy wool coating by washing in your washing machine in hot soapy water and then running it through the dryer to finish the job.

  • Cotton batting is the second best choice. As a natural fiber, it is heat resistant and doesn't hold moisture as much as a synthetic fiber. Cotton batting is pretty thin, so you will probably need to use a couple of layers to get the cushion you want.

  • Avoid synthetic or foam batting as they trap steam and are prone to break down from the heat of the iron which could cause stains on the fabric you are pressing.







Ok, Let's Get Started With The Pressing Mat Tutorial:

Step 1: Cut your cover fabric and batting to the exact size that you want your pressing mat to be. Make sure the corners are squared for a nice neat finish.


Step 2: Cut your backing fabric 2” wider and 2” longer than the cover fabric and batting. With the wrong sides together, center the cover fabric and batting on top of the backing fabric with the batting in the middle.


Step 3: Turn each corner of the backing fabric to meet the corners of the cover fabric. Press to crease.


Step 4: Turn each folded corner over the 1/2” seam allowance of the cover fabric and pin in place.


Step 5: Fold each edge of the backing under a little less than 1/2”. This allows a little extra space for the batting.


Step 6: Turn each folded edge over the 1/2” seam allowance of the cover fabric. Pin in place, carefully aligning the corners.


Step 7: Topstitch the backing to the cover close to the inside folded edge to secure.


Step 8: To flatten the surface of your pressing mat, steam over the top of the mat thoroughly with your iron to shrink the fabric and batting. As the fabric begins to shrink start pressing the fabric flat, working from the outer edge to the center. Work the fabric into shape being careful not to crease.







December 31, 2020

Thank you for the tips about pressing pads.


July 07, 2020

Thank you to Shari for the pressing mat tutorial. And Cinnamon, that miniature bridge is the perfect scale for 18" dolls and is just the cutest prop! Look forward to seeing more of your creative backyard photoshoots and dolly fashion inspiration :)

MaeLynn Beck
MaeLynn Beck

June 29, 2020

I have been admiring that off the shoulder top. Didn’t realize it was a swimsuit. Looking forward to July!

Alice Denny
Alice Denny

June 23, 2020

I bought a beautiful 12" square mat and had it set out next to my mini iron ready to go. I stepped out of my room for a few minutes and when I came back, our cat Blackberry, was using it for a scratching pad. Fortunately I was able to repair his damage but its now kept under wraps for safety sake.

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