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August 09, 2010

How to Make an Attractive Ironing Board Cover


How do you make an attractive ironing board cover that would be better than, say, an unattractive ironing board cover? Well, I'm gonna tell you how you can make a nice one. I just don't like the covers that you buy at the store.  My ironing board needed a pick-me-up! So, last week, between projects, I made a new cover and wanted to share with you the process so you, too, can make a nice, new cover of your own.

You will need:

Old ironing board cover (for the pattern)
Lightweight cotton fabric (quilt fabric is good)
3/8" elastic (Buy a small package of it)
1 pkg. of 1/2" Single Fold Bias Tape (4 yds) in a color that matches your new fabric.
Matching thread
Fabric marking pencil
Bodkin (for feeding the elastic through the casing - without it you will get a few more wrinkles and at least 10 more gray hairs even if you do use a safety pin instead)

The obvious:

Sewing machine
Scissors or Rotary cutter
Transparent rotary cutting ruler


STEP 1: Remove your old, dingy, ugly ironing board cover.  


Remove the string or elastic that holds it in place, and press the cover flat.


See, I told you my cover was gross.


Do a good job of pressing your old ironing board cover, because you are going to be using it as a pattern for the new one. By the way, I didn't care that I was burning the old cover in this picture, because it was looking pretty bad to begin with.


STEP 2: Press your new, happy, fabric that you will use for your fresh, clean, ironing board cover.


STEP 3: Lay your new fabric right side up on your cutting mat (I have an OLFA mat that is self-healing when I cut on it with the rotary cutter).  Then, lay your old ironing board cover on top of the new fabric.  Run your hand across it so that it is nice and flat.


STEP 4: I have these pattern weights that I made and that is what I use to initially start cutting out my pattern for this cover.  I will be writing another post on how to make your own pattern weights, maybe later this week.  In the meantime, if you have pins and don't have weights, use those instead and pin your pattern into place.


STEP 5: Measure around the perimeter of the pattern 1" larger than the original pattern.  Mark the fabric with a fabric pencil every few inches - 1" from the edge of the pattern.


Along the straight edge it is definitely easier to use a transparent ruler and mark a 1" line larger than the pattern down that edge.  As you can see, I used pins too!  As I approached the left edge of my table, the fabric and the pattern were hanging off the edge, so I had to pin the top half of the pattern, that I had already marked, to the new fabric so that I could fold it and move the bottom half onto the table.


STEP 6: If you are like me and your table won't hold the width of an ironing board cover, then pin the top half of the pattern and fold it neatly when you are done marking the new fabric and continue to mark the bottom half of the pattern 1" around the perimeter.


Mark around the perimeter and the corners carefully.  I'm a stickler for precision.


STEP 7: When you are done drawing around the edge of the pattern, remove the old ironing board cover and pitch that baby in the garbage, unless you want to save it for another ironing board cover pattern again someday.  Then, with your rotary cutter, cut out the pattern you drew on your fabric.


STEP 8: You will need 4 yards of single fold bias tape - 1/2" width.  Bias tape is easier to use to make a casing around the cover and to go around curves.


STEP 9: You won't need to pin anything during this step.  Simply begin attaching the bias tape in the center of the back of the ironing board cover.  You do this by placing the bias tape RST (right sides together) opening one long edge of the bias tape and running it along the raw edge of your new cover.  With the edge of your presser foot as your guide (about 1/4") sew the bias tape to the new cover edge along the crease in the bias tape as shown. NOTE: FOLD the end over where you start as shown in the image above.


As you see here, I am lining up the edges and holding the tape in place as I sew, and sewing along the crease in the bias tape.


Bias tape goes around the curves nicely and will cover the raw edges.


STEP 10:  Sew the bias tape around the entire perimeter of the new ironing board cover.  When you get back to where you started, clip off any bias tape that might be remaining, leaving an opening at the beginning and ending edges.  NOTE: Be sure to clip off the bias tape so that you have enough to fold under at the end like you did at the beginning.  You don't want the raw edge of your bias tape exposed.


STEP 11:  Sew the bias tape around the entire perimeter of the new ironing board cover.  When you get back to where you started, clip off any bias tape that might be remaining, leaving an opening at the beginning and ending edges.  Next, fold the bias tape under to the wrong side about 3/4" and press. TIP: When you come to the curves, go ahead and press little pleats in the hem as necessary.  I place pins in the ironing board to hold my hem in place as I measure and press.  Pretty cool trick, eh?


As you measure and press the bias tape hem into place, then pull out your pins from the ironing board and pin the hem in place for sewing.


See my little pleats?  By the way, these are great straight pins. You can iron right over them and they won't melt.  I got them at Nancy's Notions


When you get to the end, make sure that the opening is open and even.


STEP 12: You are now going to sew the edge of the hem casing using a 1/8" seam.  I usually sew right over my pins, especially if they are holding a pleat in place as you see above.


STEP 13: When you are done sewing the hem casing, remove the pins and press the hem and the new cover.


STEP 14: Get your elastic ready to insert into the casing. I used 3/8" elastic for this cover.  


This is a bodkin.  It's a thin, metal device that makes it easy to fish elastic or string through a casing.  You have to be careful with it, though, because it bends easily as I found out.


STEP 15: Insert the bodkin with the elastic into the casing.


Work the bodkin and the elastic through the casing until you come to the end and pull it through the opening, making sure that the end of your elastic doesn't pull into the casing or you'll have to start over!!  Do not stitch the end of the elastic, instead, just leave enough that you can pull it when you put the ironing board cover on and tie it.  TIP:  Sometimes I will put a safety pin on the end of the elastic and pin it to the outside of the fabric so that it doesn't pull through while I am weaving the bodkin through the casing.


See!  Now doesn't that look wonderful?  I mean, as wonderful as ironing board covers go, this is pretty nice - Moda fabric and all.


I love dots. This fabric is by Moda for April Cornell. 


One thing I've noticed about store-bought ironing board covers, is that they don't fit the ironing board!  The sides are usually too short, and that is why I added the additional 1" around the pattern, because the old cover was too short on the sides.  This one goes around the edges nice and snug.


Now that I'm down here I think I may have to call Big Bear to pick me up from the floor.  See that rubber thingy up there?  That keeps the narrower edge tight on the ironing board.  You can pick one up at Target or your grocery store.


As you can see, I tied off the end of the elastic at the casing opening, that way, I was able to pull the elastic as tight as needed to fit the ironing board.  Now, will someone please help me up off this cold tile floor!


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