I like having two ironing boards, a full size board and a tabletop model. For small jobs, the smaller board is quick to set up on my cutting table.
Ironing Board Features: What to Look For
There are both portable and built-in ironing boards. Built-ins are great if you are fortunate enough to have a sewing room with a built-in. Otherwise, most built-in ironing boards are located in the laundry room making it too impractical to run back and forth to press each seam.
Full-Size Ironing Boards
Ironing boards, like most products, have features that either make it or break it for you depending on personal preferences.
- Size: An average full-size ironing board is 54 inches long and 15 inches wide. Professional ironing boards are usually 63 inches long and 19 inches wide. If you have space, wider is better.
- Frame: A lightweight board is easier to set up and take down, but should have a sturdy stable frame. A lightweight board with a flimsy frame is too easy to knock over.
- Height: For sewing, most people use their board standing up. That means you'll want a board that raises to at least hip level, preferably a bit higher.
- Adjustability: Most boards are adjustable. The flexibility lets others in your household adjust to fit their height, and you can adjust it down for use while seated.
- Vent Holes: Again, most boards come equipped with vent holes, but check to be sure. Vent holes are a necessity for steam to escape.
- Iron rest: A built-in at the wide end of the board for setting your iron. They give you more board space, and your iron is less likely to fall over when placed in the rest. Iron rests are not included with all boards, so if it's a feature you like, you'll need to choose a board that comes with one.
These handy little tabletop boards are very inexpensive. I bought one several years ago for about $17, and you can still get one for that at Amazon for about the same price.
The tabletops vary in size, but mine is 32 x 12 inches with a retractable iron rest. The 6-inch legs easily fold up and lock in place. It came with a 100-percent cotton cover.
Ironing Board Covers
If you're buying a new ironing board, you find that most come with a cover and pad. You can buy replacement pads and covers or even make your own cover. Personally, I dislike reflective covers -- they get hot, don't breathe and crinkle and crack. Bold patterns can interfere with your ability to clearly see what you're doing on more sheer fabrics. Best are simple plain cotton or muslin covers... although a small strip can act as a useful straight edge.