Portable Ironing Table and summer sewing

I am feeling more productive than I thought I would this summer. It’s kind of a pleasant surprise.  And it may not last all summer, but I’m taking it in snatches when I can. My goal is to make a dent in my never ending pile of WIP’s (Works In Progress). I’m even quilting a new project myself.  It’s the one I started way back in March.  I’m going to write a pattern for this one, so stay tuned. 

I’m also piecing my Family Tree quilt borders. I did the name stitching on a road trip last winter, and I’m going to try and do some hand quilting during a road trip this summer.  I love pulling out my fabric favorites that remind me of my children for this scrappy border.

For me, the key to productive summer-time sewing is setting up at the kitchen table. It makes for more of a mess, but it’s the only way I can take those short snatches of time to get something done and still keep a pulse on what’s going on, re-supply the popsicles, turn on the hose for the slip’n’slide, etc.  The best addition for keeping my mess under control is my new portable ironing board that my super-awesome friend Diane, helped me to make.  (Hi Diane!)

It’s a TV tray that’s been specially covered to create a surface suitable for ironing! I’ve wanted to make one of these for years, but never got my act, or my supplies, together to actually make one.  Here you can see super-Diane holding my hand through the process (or actually doing most of the work for me, ahem.)  I love it! Even folded up it looks so much more attractive than my big ironing board.  You can learn how to make one yourself from Oh Fransson. The American Quilting girls also posted some tips and pictures from creating their own. It’s so much easier and cheaper than I thought. I highly recommend one.

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  • Reply
    Melissa Corry
    June 22, 2012 at 2:31 pm

    Love the idea of turning old tv trays into ironing boards!! So great!! I think I might have thrown away my old ones in the last move. Bummer. I guess I will need to go get some more 🙂

  • Reply
    Ms. Craftsalot
    June 22, 2012 at 2:52 pm

    I've seen them at Walmart for about 8.00 brand new. So still pretty affordable IMO.

  • Reply
    June 22, 2012 at 3:18 pm

    I bet that's a handy thing to have. I have a few TV trays that we never use, so I need to make one (or more).

  • Reply
    June 22, 2012 at 4:00 pm

    What a brilliant idea! I need to do this since I also set up my sewing on the kitchen table despite having a wonderful office in my basement. (There's just nothing for a 5, 4 and 2 year old to do down there….)

  • Reply
    June 22, 2012 at 4:10 pm

    How great. I will have to go and dig out my old tray from storage. <br />Have a lovely weekend!

  • Reply
    Sandie @ crazy'boutquilts
    June 22, 2012 at 5:02 pm

    Very cool! I&#39;ve always wanted to make one too, but don&#39;t have a friend Diane. 😉 Your set up looks like such a productive space! Thanks for the reminder!

  • Reply
    June 22, 2012 at 6:03 pm

    What a great idea!

  • Reply
    June 22, 2012 at 6:11 pm

    I just stumbled upon your blog today, and have spent the better part of the day drooling over your work. Those Ombre quilts from a while back are maybe the prettiest things I&#39;ve ever seen. You&#39;re making me sorely tempted to try my hand at quilting again (despite the fact that I can barely thread a needle).

    • Reply
      amy smart
      June 23, 2012 at 4:24 pm

      Oh go for it! (Lots of peer pressure here. lol). Don&#39;t worry – threading gets easier and easier. And isn&#39;t that Ombre fabric awesome?

  • Reply
    Katy Cameron
    June 22, 2012 at 7:13 pm

    Very cunning plan with the ironing table!

  • Reply
    trish @ notes of sincerity
    June 22, 2012 at 7:44 pm

    Hi Amy. :o)<br />Oh boy, I can&#39;t wait to see what you are creating!<br />Your ironing table is so clever and super cute!<br />I need to keep a close watch for tv trays, so I too<br />can make one. :o) How convenient to have it right <br />there by your sewing table. :o)<br />Your family tree border is just precious. What a dear<br />heirloom it will be!!<br />I hope you are having a

  • Reply
    vintage grey
    June 22, 2012 at 7:46 pm

    Your quilt looks so pretty! Looking forward to seeing it finished! Great idea for the portable ironing board! Thanks for sharing. Have a beautiful weekend! xo Heather

  • Reply
    June 22, 2012 at 8:21 pm

    Where did you find the tray to make the table? I can&#39;t find one.

    • Reply
      amy smart
      June 23, 2012 at 4:25 pm

      WalMart or Target. They both have them. 🙂

  • Reply
    June 22, 2012 at 8:38 pm

    I found mine as a whole set at a garage sale.

  • Reply
    June 22, 2012 at 8:53 pm

    I made one, but I made my cover removable. I like that I can still use the tray table as a tray table if needed and that the cover can be thrown in the wash when it gets a little grubby looking.

  • Reply
    June 23, 2012 at 2:59 am

    I was thinking about using a TV tray for an ironing board! This tutorial answers all my questions, Thank you!

  • Reply
    June 23, 2012 at 8:14 am

    What an excellent idea!

  • Reply
    June 23, 2012 at 8:23 am

    Hahaha….kids are getting older too…can entertain themselves better!:)<br /><br />I&#39;m going to have to go thrift shopping to look for one of those traytables….actually I think my parents have several…visiting them next week….hmmm!:)

  • Reply
    June 23, 2012 at 11:58 am

    I am honored you would let me help you with a project! Anytime! I love your pips quilt, too. Love, Lady Di

  • Reply
    Jacinta @ Kadesia Jane
    June 24, 2012 at 5:02 am

    Loving your Blog. Just blogged about my crafty weekend with my girls. I love all the crafty things. So relaxing and great fun 🙂

  • Reply
    Steph Jacobson
    June 24, 2012 at 6:53 am

    I have a huge new sewing/craft room in the basement but I still lug my sewing machine upstairs and do most of my sewing at the kitchen table. I&#39;m sure it irritates my hubby but it&#39;s the only way I can sew and keep an eye on my son and our naughty puppy. I spend way too much time running from the kitchen downstairs to my ironing board so I totally need to make a portable one!

  • Reply
    June 24, 2012 at 8:11 am

    What a fun idea. I can&#39;t WAIT to see your family tree quilt — I&#39;m hoarding a few of those panels myself!

  • Reply
    Claire Jain
    June 25, 2012 at 8:47 am

    I so have one of those TV trays floating around the house! What a great idea 😀

  • Reply
    June 26, 2012 at 1:18 pm

    I can&#39;t imagine setting up to sew at a table, my machine is on a desk and ready to sew at any time (and I still don&#39;t get any sewing done). I admire you for taking the time to set up at a table and getting so much done!

  • Reply
    June 28, 2012 at 7:19 am

    Such a brilliant idea! Never underestimate the creativity of women! I went to Target and bought me a tray table for $9.99 (not exactly a bargain, but certainly affordable). I had everything else I needed in my sewing room, and in about 15 minutes (with my husbands extra hands) I had me a great portable small ironing table. I can&#39;t wait to use it!

  • Reply
    June 28, 2012 at 7:41 pm

    I saw one of those trays for $1 at the thrift store last weekend…such a great idea for my rather cramped sewing room!

  • Reply
    July 23, 2012 at 5:36 pm

    I got my hands on the same fabric family tree fabric and have not yet looked for any finished examples, so I am anxiously awaiting your finished product!

  • Reply
    Home Dec Fabric - Recovering a Pressing Table - Diary of a Quilter - a quilt blog
    July 8, 2015 at 6:00 am

    […] made my pressing table a few years ago and it was scorched and starting to get threadbare and shabby. Definitely time for an update. When […]

  • Reply
    Faye Sockwell Jackson
    December 8, 2016 at 12:25 pm

    @ourfamilypop…I am 71 & been sewing since I was 9 years young & I can’t thread a needle either. Instead, I needle the thread, as in, I hold the thread straight up and put the needle over the thread. Make sure your thread has a good point.

  • Reply
    Jan ellis
    February 23, 2017 at 4:35 am

    I thinking the same thing…..maybe elastic edges. What did you use?

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