How to make an ironing board cover
Spending a lot of time with ironing and pressing clothes, towels and other fabrics, an ugly and shabby ironing board cover can be very demotivating and depressing. It makes much more fun in front of a clean pretty-looking ironing board.
In just a few steps and with basic sewing skills, you can easily create your own ironing board cover with your favorite fabric. It is even possible by hand sewing, in case you don’t have a sewing machine. We recommend using a 100 % mid-weight cotton fabric. Please pre-wash your fabric before to get out all the industrial dust and smell and to prevent a later shrinkage. The size of the fabric depends on the size of your ironing board. For a board that is about 44” long, you need a 1 ½” long fabric.
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Supplies you need:
- cotton fabric (at least 6” longer and wider than your ironing board is long and wide)
- 1/4″ thick foam padding in the size of your board (you can also reuse your old padding)
- 1/4” wide and approx. 2yd long elastic (length depends on your board size)
- fabric marker pen
- fabric scissors
- some pins or “Wonder Clips”
- color matching thread
- safety pin
- iron and your (old) ironing board
- optional: 1/4” wide “Wash Away Wonder Tape”
Preparing the foam padding
Remove your old (unattractive) cover and foam padding from your ironing board. Possibly, you have to cut into the seam of the old cover.
Place the old padding on the new one and use it as a template. Transfer the shape of the old foam onto the new foam using a fabric marker pen.
In case you don’t have an old foam, you can also turn your ironing board and trace around its outline.
Cut the new padding along the traced line.
Preparing the fabric:
Place the new padding on the wrong side of your fabric. Leave a space of at least 3” to the fabric sides.
Tip: Put some heavy things (e.g. books) on the padding to prevent shifting.
The fabric for the cover should be 3” wider and longer than the foam. Therefore, measure and mark points on your fabric 3” away from the outline of the foam padding all the way around.
Connect the points to a line.
Cut the fabric along the traced line. For the next steps, put the foam padding aside.
Preparing the edge of the fabric
This step is optional. Feel free to serge or zigzag-stitch along the edge of the fabric to prevent fraying and leave it this way before folding the casing.
You can also use 1/4” wide “Wonder Tape” (a double-sided transparent tape) to fold and press the edge of the fabric exactly 1/4” inwards to the wrong side.
Therefore, glue the sticky side of the tape along the edge of the fabric (wrong side up). The upper side of the tape comes with a paper layer. Don’t remove the paper yet!
Tape all the way around.
Use the tape (the paper is still on it) to fold the fabric exactly 1/4” inwards. Press over the fold with your iron.
Overlap the fabric along the curves to create a nice rounding.
Fold the edge backwards and remove the paper.
Fold and press the edge inwards again using the crease that you made before.
Now the edge is taped exactly 1/4” inwards.
Making the casing
Fold and press the edge of the fabric about 3/4” inwards.
Fold and press the edge of the long straight sides first…
…and then the edge of the curves. Overlap the fabric along the curves to create the rounding.
Hold the folded edge in place with some pins or Wonder Clips.
Sew with 1/8” seam allowance to the inner fold with a straight stitch. Don’t forget to sew some stitches back and forth when you start and end a seam to secure the thread.
When reaching the curves you might find it helpful in some places to raise the presser foot (with needle down position) and turn the fabric a bit. Sew all the way around, but leave a small gap of about 1/2” – 1” before you reach the point where you started. Trim the ends of the thread.
In case you don’t own a sewing machine, you can sew all the way around by hand with a standard sewing needle (don’t forget to leave a small gap). This step takes of course a bit longer than with a machine. Depending on the size of your ironing board and the length of your thread, you might have to change the thread several times.
Secure one end of the elastic with a safety pin. Pull the pin through the opening all the way through the casing until you reach the opening again.
Tip: While pulling the one end of the elastic through the casing, secure the other end with a big knot or a second safety pin to keep this end outside of the opening.
Pull both ends of the elastic approx. to the same length and remove the safety pin.
Finishing the project
Place the new foam padding on your ironing board…
…and your new cover on it. Tighten the ends of the elastic as far as possible, so that the fabric becomes smooth and even. Knot and trim the ends of the elastic and you are done!
Optional: Remove the cover to close the opening with your machine (or by hand sewing). I leave it open, in case I want to adjust the elastic later on.
Enjoy your new handmade ironing board cover!
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