I often carry hand sewing along when I’m traveling or visiting family and have even packed along a sewing machine with the intent to sew for a day or two. But I work in a scrappy, improvisational way and can’t take my whole fabric stash with me and usually end up doing more vacationing and less sewing – not a bad thing.
This summer I needed to get lots of quilt planning and sewing done on our trip while Dan took classes, so we rented a cabin where I could sew all day. I packed a plastic bin and two big bags full of fabric scraps, my sewing machine, iron, and a wobbly but seemingly stable, folding table. The only missing item was a pressing surface that I could pack along, since most of my sewing on this trip would be machine piecing and pressing and attaching and repeating.
I found the perfect item at one of the local discount stores. It was inexpensive, it folded and fit in the attached fabric envelope, and it worked great. It’s so clever (and had no branding or copyright) that I’m showing it here as a guide to inspire you to make your own customized version as I plan to do. I may make mine with a flashy batik envelop!
It consists of a layer of heat resistant fabric and batting with a top and bottom layer of muslin and a piece of what appears to be open weave shelf liner on the very bottom to protect the ironing surface and to keep it from shifting. The outside edges of the pad are bound with bias binding.
The cabin ended up having a high, built-in bar that was perfect for sewing short seams and pressing, there was a terrific quilt shop in town, and I discovered non-aerosol spray starch at the local grocery which all contributed to happy piecing and pressing.
I’d love to hear your tips for great sewing vacations.