Boards and bridesmaids

Before I start with fashions I want to share my ironing habits…well, the board cover and what I do to keep it nice. I see so many ironing board covers in blog photos and they are filthy… coffee stained and marked with old fusible interfacing and maybe that is OK if you are not sewing for clients but come on people…My ironing board cover is in use almost 24 hours a day as I sew during the night most nights. It is used for pristine wedding gowns and all sorts of other weird stuff being fused and pinned and in reality could look pretty shabby if I let it. For the past 10 years I have been buying my covers and pads here:

They are made from Nomex and can withstand very high heat (900 degrees F) without ever scorching but the best part is…they are machine washable…not that I would ever bother doing that but I do manage the next best thing.

ironing-boardWhen dust and dirt settle on the cover and it looks a little dark I spray it totally with plain water and rub it with a white cloth.ironing-board-wetironing-board-cloth

Then I run the iron over it to dry it out and I get this:ironing-board-done

You dust your furniture in your sewing room but I bet you never think of what is living and growing on your cover. My clients stand next to my board every day and it reflects my hygiene levels and how I will care for their dress. This cover is over 2 years old but looks new!

Let’s get to some ugly…how about a red bridesmaid dress bought over a year ago… the girl said it was a little tight. You know the next bit don’t you? The zipper stopped at her waist and was 8 inches apart at the top…so what I did next was to look inside and guess what I found? Massive wide altered seams and wadded up fabrics…OK…no biggie…but this was sold as NEW! Oh yes it WAS new at one time but someone wore it, had it altered at least once and then took it back to the store to be re-sold…IMAGINE!

Please click on the photos for a larger look.1-bust-seam

No wonder the bust points were really “points” as the seam made such a sharp angle.


Thankfully they left in the boning even it they did cut it shorter.


Adding up the extra seam allowances we gained 5.5 inches and 1 inch at the bust seams so trying to find an extra 8 inches will not be too difficult even if I put in small narrow panels in the side seams.

8-bulk-in-side-seams No wonder this dress did not fit…but you know in the end it will after every seam is opened and pressed. Stay tuned for the great result!

Meanwhile, the much awaited baggy/fitted jacket has been delayed as my client has been ill so maybe another week or so to share the photos.

One good thing has been the return of Mr. Mole. He was off to the UK to visit his family and returned with a couple little presents for me. First is a pincushion from Tintern Abbey in Wales:pincushion and a gorgeous sterling silver pair of earrings from Lynn Kirsten Clarkeearrings

With 11 wedding dresses already done, and waiting to be finished, 5 for July and 8 for August I won’t be venturing out of the sewing room for a while. Throw in some 22 bridesmaids done and who knows how many more will show up in a panic. This is the first year I have had to refuse to take some brides who have called with August dates…it is just not possible to alter so many and do it right.

Wishing you a perfect start to your summer/winter!

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30 Responses to Boards and bridesmaids

  1. OMG makes me feel tired just reading this and I still can’t get over how many unscrupulous shops sell dresses as new when they aren’t.

    Off to wash my ironing board cover lol………………………

    • mrsmole says:

      You know you have seen some real crappy covers in photos! My client asked what she should look for in the future to make sure she isn’t buying a used dress…how about dirt stains and really bad understitching and bulk where it shouldn’t be for a start.

  2. Minuit1 says:

    I have serious pin cushion envy!

    • mrsmole says:

      Isn’t it just lovely? It must be packed with sawdust as it is very dense and the tapestry fabric is rich looking.

  3. You can’t imagine how timely your post is! I used an old piece of fusible interfacing that I had forgotten HOW to use…and ended up making a mess of my ironing board cover! Thank you SO much for this source – mine is definitely very disreputable right now and is begging to be replace 😉

    Hats off to you as you tackle all your brides and bridesmaids this month! I’m tired already 🙂 Hoping your strength holds out 🙂

  4. mrsmole says:

    The Nomex board cover comes in different sizes and for a while I didn’t buy the pad, just used my old covers underneath but finally broke down and bought the set…the old covers can be used on other things or given to friend who might have those mini portable boards to trim down or inside hot pads. Thank you for your good wishes…I will need them!

  5. BeaJay says:

    Selling that red dress as new is outrageous! Looking forward to seeing it all fixed. Great pincushion.

  6. Lynda Anderson says:

    Thanks for reminding us all. Some of us who don’t sew for others aren’t QUITE as good at dusting our sewing space as you are. I’d hate to think what my cover will come up with. Good luck on the brides and bridesmaid’s alterations. I’d definitely be going back to the store and wanting at least a partial refund! Disgraceful.

  7. Andrea says:

    Lovely gifts your hubby brought back! The red dress, what a mess. Amazing the things people will do. Thanks for the link, my board definitely does not look like yours!

    • mrsmole says:

      Oh Lynda and Andrea, if you have a messy board it just proves you are a busy sewer! Shopping requires a keen eye…that’s for sure!

  8. Trish says:

    I’m also astonished that someone could buy that red dress and not notice that it had been (badly) altered.
    I’m also amazed at the volume of work you are capable of doing! I feel very slack indeed. I also envy your being able to work at night. I get too tired and start to make mistakes which I have to redo the next day, which is counter-productive.
    You’ve definitely inspired me to lift my game though!

    • mrsmole says:

      Oh Trish, you can only lift your game if the customers wander in with projects…I long for the day when things slow down! I sew all night but never with the machines so when I stop at 11 pm, I always have a stack of hand sewing ready for the 3 am shift and of course the ever present thread basting of hems and ripping out of seams…all things that are not so crucial but time consuming. Last year I worked on 53 bridal garments in 50 weeks…I am over half way now so that is something to celebrate!

  9. Alright, Mrs.Mole, you made me do it. I stripped my ironing board and washed the cover. Then I removed remaining stains with a stain remover paste. Then I washed it again. It sparkles

  10. theresa says:

    Oh, I don’t even want to talk about my ironing board. I will not pass Go, I will not collect $200.00 I will go directly to ironing board shame….In my defense, most of my ironing is done on my cutting table and it gets a clean towel once a week.
    Beautiful gifts and I too am suffering pincushion envy!

    • mrsmole says:

      The volume of clothes and goodies you produce is amazing so don’t feel bad about having a less than perfect cover…you is one busy lady!!!

  11. I can’t say I have ironing board shame – but it isn’t as well cared for as yours!
    I wish I could say I hadn’t seen the ‘new’ dress that had obviously been altered and worn. Sadly the last one was a wedding dress. I didn’t have the heart to tell the bride. You don’t want to think you are a ‘second hand Rose’ on your special day.

    • mrsmole says:

      Sometimes I just explain that dresses can be “shop worn” and that accounts for the damage and dirt…but it is a scary business to know that another bride wore the dress before them. I sold a dress for one of my clients who got divorced and I sure hoped it did not carry with it some “bad karma”.

  12. ellec says:

    Just about the only thing in The Sewing Dungeon that I am not ashamed of, are my ironing board covers. (yes, I have more than one ironing board and more than one sleeve board), I made new covers for all of them last year and I wash them every couple of months. I find it amazing how quickly they get dirty too. Mine are made from vintage pillow ticking, they make me smile.

    Love the pincushion and the earrings. How are you feeling these days? All recovered from your surgery?

  13. mrsmole says:

    Good for you having all new covers!!! If I didn’t use my steam generator iron and could use lower temps I would have similar covers to yours…decorative and pretty. Just think of the dust that drifts onto the cover and then we iron it in…no wonder they look bad so fast! Thank you for asking about the knee…it still swells and walking up or down stairs is difficult and painful but it has only been 4 months so fingers crossed at the 12 month point it will be better.

  14. Shams says:

    Yay for a clean ironing board! I love your pincushion and I especially love those great earrings!!! Very nice gifts from hubbie. The stories of the alterations makes me wince. You really are a brave, energetic soul!

    • mrsmole says:

      It is great entertainment! Today the red dress owner came back and with all the seams let out and only a tiny narrow strip under the arm that was added…it fit perfectly! I swear the woman almost cried…she said it was the first time she had a dress fit since her prom many many years ago and 50 pounds ago. This is my reward…seeing such joy!

  15. Alethia says:

    Mrs. Mole, thanks for sharing the info about the iron and tips on how to keep it clean!
    I’m not the least bit surprised at what you found in the red dress. @~@
    You are mighty,mighty, busy, wow!

  16. mrsmole says:

    Maybe next time I will clean my iron and have photos of the red dress and that jacket as my client is coming in 2 days! Fingers crossed! I hope your new business is taking off, Alethia!

    • Alethia says:

      Thanks! And, yes. I’m getting a lot of last minute stuff. As if they just discovered they needed it altered days before the event. Yeah right, we know what that’s about, hopeful weight loss that never happened. Oh well…….

  17. prttynpnk says:

    I think if my husband hears ‘remind me I need to get a new ironingboard cover’ one more time he may use it against me in a hearing.

  18. mrsmole says:

    OK, Anne…I’m reminding you…click on the link and order yourself the size you need…throw in the pad that fits too and start fresh for summer sewing! Imagine…no more scorching!

  19. Pingback: Making Progress | fit for a queen

  20. Patty says:

    Howdy! I’m at work browsing your blog from my new iphone!
    Just wanted to say I love reading through your blog and look forward to all your posts!

    Keep up the superb work!

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