I have been meaning to make an ironing board cover for myself for YEARS! For real....it just always got pushed back by another "more urgent" project.
Well, I'm happy to say that I was shamed into getting this thing done! While creating Handwarmers: A Quick & Easy Tutorial, I realized how truly nasty & gross my board cover was as I was taking pictures for the tutorial. It was super embarassing....so naturally this was my next project.
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Find the perfect fabric to inspire you!
I scored this beautiful Cotton & Steel Rifle Paper Co. Scandinavian inspired linen blend fabric several years ago on clearance (along with her equally beautiful sister). I have looked at her frequently and just never found a good project for her. While I love the colors and design, it does not fit the overall design and colors of my home. But I loved her so much I couldn't part with her....
Then....a spark of genius....I have an earthy pink sewing studio!!! I will use these gorgeous fabrics to create the sewing accessories that have been on my project list forever! Ironing board cover, sewing machine & serger covers, pincushions and possibly a few quilted coasters. I sometimes like to partake in a beverage (or two) while I create...
Don't be afraid to create something new!
This is a project that I have never tackled before. However, I have done QUITE a bit of research in preparation for this project AND the day that I would EVENTUALLY get to it.
In all that research and preparation, I determined how I would go about making my cover. It is SOOOO easy guys....don't wait several years to tackle it like I did!
I completed this thing, start to finish, in 30 minutes. And that is with every single member of my family providing distraction, entertainment and plenty of interruptions. Typical mom life, right?
1 3/4 yards (63 inches) fabric
- My board dimensions are 54 L by 14 W. You only need about half the width of the fabric, so this would be enough to make 2 ironing board covers!
4 yards twill tape or ribbon
large safety pin
Pre wash & Iron your fabric
As always, make sure you pre wash and dry your fabric and iron smooth.
One of the reasons this project is so quick and easy is that you use your ironing board as a template to make a custom pattern. Sounds fancy....but it's not...
It's an easy thing to do....just flip your board over upside-down onto your fabric!
Before we go much further, let's talk about the general plan for our ironing board cover....
What is a casing?
I chose to design this ironing board cover using a fabric casing and twill tape closure. A casing is a fabric "tunnel", usually found on the edge of a project, thru which different materials can be fed.
In our case, we will be feeding twill tape into the casing. This allows the cover to be pulled tightly around the ironing board for a customizable, yet snug, fit.
Plan for the finished width of your casing and it's contents
When creating a casing, the width of it's contents (ribbon, elastic, twill tape, etc.) needs to be taken into account. The casing tunnel needs to be slightly larger than the width of it's contents. The contents should move freely and easily within the casing.
- For example: You would need to make a wider casing tunnel for a 1/2 inch wide ribbon, than you would for a 1/4 inch wide elastic.
The twill tape that I chose, is 1/2 inch wide. We need to create a casing that is at least 3/4 inch wide, so that the 1/2 inch wide twill tape can be feed thru and lay flat inside.
The benefit of a serger....
I am blessed to have a Brother 1034D serger and use it ALL THE TIME! It was a gift from my awesome mom, and I'm still surprised how much I use it. Sergers are super cool machines that cut and finish the raw edges of fabric at the same time! It is a great tool for this type of project, as it saves time and work in creating the casing.
After serging my fabric ends, it was easy to create a 3/4 inch wide casing tunnel:
- Make a 1 inch fold towards the wrong side of the fabric
- Sew a seam, 3/4 inch from the fold
And your casing is created!
Double fold hems are easily turned into casings as well...
If you do not have access to a serger, then you need to make an additional fold to finish off your raw fabric edge.
No big deal...stay with me...
Simply create a double fold hem (see diagram left), which is then turned into a casing tunnel.
- Make a 1 inch fold towards the wrong side of fabric
- Repeat process. Make another 1 inch fold in the same manner and press.
- Sew a seam, 3/4 inch from the folded outer edge
You just created a double fold hem, which when sewed closed, also creates a casing! Cool right?!?
See the diagram above. The dotted line in the right pic, would be your sewn seam and the area between the seam and the fold is your casing! This is where the twill tape will live.
Finishing the raw edge, either with a serger or a hem, is a really good idea for something that will be washed frequently. After all, we don't want the casing to fray and fall apart, which could happen if the edge is left unfinished and washed frequently!
Make sure to plan ahead for your casings....or you will be sorry!
Whoa Nelly....does it feel like we got ahead of ourselves?!?
Yup, that's because we did....
It's important to plan out the casing before making and cutting out your fabric piece. If you don't account for the double-fold hem in your pattern creation, you may not have enough fabric!
I've done that....and I cried....don't do it. Take the extra time to make sure you plan correctly.
Planning for serged edge vs double fold hem...
I serged my ends, and therefore only need to account for a single fold to create the casing. Since my fold needs to be 1 inch wide, I need to plan to use 1 inch of fabric for the casing.
- There will be 1 inch of fabric between the inside serged edge and the outer edge of the casing, meaning we "lose" 1 inch in the pattern.
If you need to create a double fold (which I recommend if you can't serge your raw ends), then you will need slightly more fabric. When using 1 inch fold, you need to plan to use 2 inches of fabric (two 1 inch folds).
- In this case we will be "losing" 2 inches of fabric inside the hem and casing. This needs to be accounted for in the fabric pattern piece.
Create pattern piece from template...
Why is this important? Because we need to cut our fabric now : )
I recommend marking a perimeter around your ironing board (shown to the right) using either 4 or 5 inches:
- If using a serger to finish raw fabric edge- mark and cut a 4 inch perimeter around board.
- If using a double fold hem (to finish/hide raw fabric edge)-mark and cut a 5 inch perimeter around board.
Cut out pattern piece...
I measured and marked a 4 inch perimeter around the ironing board template.
- Again for reference, my ironing board is 54 inches long and 14 inches across, at its widest point.
Cut it out with your sewing shears...
I proceeded to serge around the entire perimeter of the cut piece of fabric, finishing the edges.
As we already reviewed.... don't worry if you don't have a serger. Ignore this step and move on....
Measure & Cut twill tape
This is a good time to measure and cut your twill tape (or whatever you will feed thru your casing).
Simply lay it out along your edge and make sure you have enough to go all the way around.
You can see in the picture that I am a few inches shy.....but that is ok here. Remember we will be pulling the cover closed around the board, so it will be cinched closed. It will never be open and flat like this again.
I like twill tape because it is natural feeling and hefty. It won't fall apart and unravel like some ribbons. But it is a little tricky to feed thru casings because of its weight....
It's a little more work now for a more durable, long-lasting end product later....
Another sewing life lesson ; )
Create casing: 2 methods
Time to start pressing our casing!
As already discussed, there are two different sets of instructions here:
- Serged ends- fold under fabric edge 1 inch. Measure, press and pin as you go.
- Unfinished ends- create double fold hem as discussed. Fold under fabric edge 1 inch. Measure, press and pin as you go.
- Repeat same process again, folding under additional 1 inch. Press and pin.
In both cases, you will need to fold and tuck your fabric as you press around the corners.
You can see in the photo (above right), that I pressed a few tucks when going around the corner. That's ok and necessary, to keep your casing width at 1 inch around the corners.
This is not something that you will notice in the end product, because these tucks will be sewn inside the casing. The casing will be neatly and tightly pulled underneath the edge of your ironing board....
Plan for your opening
After you have made your way around the entire perimeter of your cover, it is time to mark your opening. We need to leave a 1-2 inch opening in the stitching, thru which to feed the twill tape.
I think the back edge of the ironing board is the best place for the twill tape to be pulled tight and tied. However, every ironing board is different. I recommend you inspect yours and determine the best place.
I always mark my sewing "start" and "stop" points with double pins...otherwise I find myself sewing right past them! You will see my double pins at the bottom of the board cover in the picture above.
Oh and say good-bye to that ugly, stained, nasty gray ironing board cover. You will not see her again and she will NOT be missed!
Sew casing seam
Let's finish up the casing!
Sew a straight stitch 3/4 inch from the outer folded edge of your casing. Remember, we want the width of the casing (from outer edge to stitching) to be 3/4 inch, to allow the twill tape to feed nicely. Double check before you start sewing....
After you have sewn all the way around your cover, leaving a 1-2 inch opening in your stitching, we are ready to feed that twill tape!
Feed twill tape into casing
Now it is time to feed the twill tape into and thru the LONG casing that we just created. Here are a few tips to help you thru this process:
- Find and use the biggest safety pin that you can fit inside the width of your casing.
- Place a piece of tape (painters, scotch, masking...it doesn't matter) around the end of your twill tape or ribbon. It only needs to cover the last 1/2 inch of the twill tape end.
- Attach the safety pin to the twill tape, thru the end reinforced with tape. I do this whenever I need to feed any type of ribbon thru a casing. It reinforces the ribbon end and prevents it from unraveling and falling apart while being pulled thru the casing.
Insert the safety pin and twill tape into the opening in casing, and begin feeding thru the fabric tunnel. The safety pin is an easy object to hold onto, while feeding your twill tape inside the casing. You are much less likely to "lose" your end inside the casing using this method. If you do lose your end, you can pretty easily find it by feeling for the hard, awkwardly shaped safety pin.
This is a long casing....it will take a little while to make your way thru.
Your fingers and hands will cramp up.
You may curse a few times.
It's ok....that's the process. If anyone has a better way of accomplishing this....please share with me!
Don't let go until you are all the way thru!
Don't let go of the safety pin and allow it to get pulled back into the casing tunnel.....or you might curse ...again!
Tighten cover around ironing board
Now place your cover on the floor, wrong side up, and flip that board onto its back.
Center the ironing board on your cover and start pulling your tape tight, pulling the tape thru the opening in your casing. It will take some pulling and adjusting....and more pulling and adjusting....
But eventually it will cinch itself up beautifully and you can tie a nice big bow! Turn over your board and make sure it is tight and smooth.
I had to flip and adjust mine a couple times to get it tight enough and wrinkle-free for my liking!
Isn't she just so sweet!
The best part is that you all won't have to see a gross, stained ironing board cover in my future tutorials.
Yay for that!
It also makes me smile....I just love this fabric. Make sure you pick a fabric that inspires you and makes you smile!
For you beginners, congratulations on learning how to make a double fold hem and a casing! Those are great skills to learn and understand. For everyone else, you just beautified your sewing space....SCORE!
Now let's see all your ironing board covers....the good, the bad and the ugly! Maybe mine wasn't the worst out there after all ; )
Be kind & stay well,