Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Ironing Board Cover Tutorial

If you've ever wanted to replace your sorry looking ironing board cover, here's a quick tutorial.  My 3 year old board was stained with leftover fusible interfacing gunk and just who knows what and it was starting to bring dry heaves every time I looked at it.  I think you can purchase new covers for a couple of bucks, but why not make your own?  The whole thing took about half an hour, and that's with taking photos for this tute, so no excuse not to make one, you recession-savvy seamstress, you!

You can also view this tutorial in Flickr.

Step 1 - Remove the old cover.  Just pop it out from underneath the board.  I think most are tied down with a string and secured with a clamp like my cheap WalMart one was:

Step 2 - Remove the string by carefully pulling one side through the casing of the entire cover.  Mine was encased in sewing string via a serger machine. 

You can reuse the string or use something else you have.  Crochet yarn should work.

Step 3 - Lay your fabric out.  I used a thrifted sheet.  You'll need around 51.5" x 17.5."  That's about 1.5 yards of fabric.  I'm guessing most ironing boards are about the same, but measure yours before you go out and purchase some fabric.

TIP:  Fabric choice for this project--I'd recommend a medium weight cotton that doesn't have any heavy printing or paint (like some Hawaiian prints do).  Be careful using home dec weight (sofa/curtain-thick) fabrics, since they won't "breathe" as easily.  Dense or heavy fabrics may warp your steam ironing since they may "reflect" your steam instead of absorb it through the fabric you're ironing.  I'm not an expert, so let me know if home decs do work.

Step 4 - Lay your old ironing board cover over your fabric and pin it down as flat as possible. 

TIP:  Make sure your selvedges are located on the left and right sides of your cover.  In other words, you want the ironing board fabric to stretch width-wise:

Step 5 - Cut it out, then remove the pins. Cut about 1/4 inch larger than your old cover.

TIP: When cutting fabric with scissors along a line (like when a pattern is on top of it), cut with the piece you are cutting out behind your hand (on the back side of your hand). Unlike in kindergarten, where they taught us to cut from right to left (for righties), where the piece you are cutting out is facing the palm of your hand. Cutting fabric that is laid out flat on a surface will "sit" on the surface better if it is to the "outside" or the back of your hand, whether you're a righty or a lefty.

Step 6 - Position the string and fabric on your machine.  Wrong side of the fabric facing up on your machine, place the string almost to the edge, where you'll sew it all the way along the border on the wrong side of the fabric.  I started and ended at the bottom corner of the large end of the board cover, but it probably doesn't matter where you begin and end, just leave an inch or so gap between where you start and end, and make sure you have plenty string leftover to tie. 

Step 7 - Sew it.  If using a sewing machine, sew a wide zig zag stitch over the string, encasing the string in your zig zag web so that you can pull it tight later (the zig is on the left side of your string, and the zag is on the right of it, not touching it).  If you've got a serger, choose a stitch that will be wide enough to encase the string.  Be sure not to catch the string in the needle.  If you accidentally do, you can be ghetto like me and just snip the thread(s) that got caught in the string later.

The wrong side of the fabric should look like this:

The right side of the fabric:

Another method is to sew a casing along the border of your fabric and thread the string through like in Vain & Vapid's tutorial.

Step 8 - Place the cover over the foam/padding on your ironing board.  Pull it taut using the string, and tie a knot to secure, or use the clamp that was on the old one.

Step  9 - Admire it.

I'm happy to elaborate, so let me know if you have any questions.


  1. Awesome tutorial!! So easy! I'll have to remember this the next time I need a new cover.

  2. Seriously? Half and hour? I am all over this project like white on rice. I'm gonna do it!

  3. Cynthia, yes, that's 30 minutes for us, and 15 minutes for you!


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