Friday, May 11, 2012

Iron Board Cover Tutorial -- Fast and Easy!!

I have 3 ironing boards. . . .
The big Euro board in my sewing room is covered with a purple sheet. It had to be purple to compliment my very own original painted dresser that is it mounted on.
I have another light weight skinny board that waits inside my sewing room closet until I need it. It is still in its original cover. BORING BLUE.
The last board is in my downstairs classroom and the poor thing is covered with a very 90's design that has lost its youthful charm. Take a look. Pre--ty Sad.

Definitely time for a new cover. A FAST & EASY cover! Follow along and I'll show you how to do one for your SAD BOARD. 

Gather the tools and supplies you will need:
Tape Measure
Rotary cutting ruler (if you have it) or another straight edge at least 12" long.
3 yards of 1/4" elastic
Your standard iron board is 53" long and 14" or 15" wide. You will need about 2 yards of 45" fabric.
Note:  If you are buying fabric you will need 1 7/8 yd for the top and about 3/8 - 1/2 yd for the bias casing. The casing is never seen so you could make it out of anything from your scraps. If you and a friend are very careful you can get two covers out of the width of your fabric.

Open the fabric and lay it out on a table (at least 53" long) or on the floor.
Next turn your ironing board upside down on the fabric. Like so:

Adjust the board so it is straight with the grain of fabric and  laying about 4 inches away from the selvage edge and the top edge.
Next using your tape measure and a straight edge, mark a line 3" from the board all the way around.

Make the corners rounded out a bit -- not too sharp, like so:

Next cut the whole thing out along your drawn line.
You will now make the casing for your elastic.
Your cover top now measures about 21" wide and 59" long. To go all the way around you will need a 2" bias strip about 170" long. 
Using your favorite method cut from your remaining fabric or any old fabric, enough 2" bias strips to measure at least 170" sewn together

I like the ends of my strips cut at 45 degree angles before I sew them together. I stack all the 'front' ends together and cut them using a line on my cutting mat.
Then I re-stack them with the 'back' ends together and cut them using the same line.
Now I am ready to sew the pieces together to make one long strip.

I put the ends together like this.

And sew like this.
When I have sewn one I pick up the free end - 'back end' of the top strip and turn it right side up.
 I put the 'front' end of the next strip on top of it and continue sewing without cutting the threads --- 'chain' piecing them together.

When I'm done I press the long strip is half -- pressing the seams open as I go.
When you are done pressing cut the starting end of the strip off straight.

You will now need your 1/4 elastic. I just happened to have an old package of black so that is what I will use.
I know, I know it's black but it makes me feel 'green' to use something that is just sitting in the drawer.
Starting in the middle of the straight end of your board cover, lay the elastic in the crease of the casing and use a safety pin to secure it. (Don't try to use a straight pin here because it might come out and let your elastic disappear into the casing. ARGGHH!) You will have to pin over to the left so you can sew a 1/4" seam . . . like so:
As you sew the casing make sure the elastic stays in the crease so you don't catch it in the stitching. Ease your bias casing around the corners.
When you have sewn up the first straight side you should realize that 3 yards of elastic is not enough to reach all the way around the board. You will need to stop and pull up some of the elastic. BE CAREFUL. Don't Pull Against your Sewing Machine Needle. The cover will gather up some behind your sewing.
Continue sewing and stopping to pull up the elastic a bit until you have gone all the way around.
When you get close to where you started, stop and cut off the end of your strip just a smidge short of the starting end.
Finish sewing to the end. It should look like this.

DON'T TAKE THE SAFETY PIN OUT YET! Put the cover onto your ironing board. You can leave the old cover in place or take it off. But if you have padding that looks something like this underneath leave it on.

The cover will be loose and the gathers all over the place.
 Smooth it out a little and flip it upside down on the  table or floor, just like before. 
Now is the time to carefully undo the safety pin with a firm grip on that end of the elastic. Pull it up hard. You may want to re-pin it while you work the fullness to the corners and front end of the board. 

When you have the cover adjusted where you want it  - pull up the elastic as tight as you can and tie it in a knot. Cut off all but 2 or 3 inches and tuck it in.

And there you have it! FAST and EASY! Ahhhh . . . . isn't that nice.

Yours doesn't have to be nice . . . it can be wild or crazy or cute or beautiful! Whatever suits your fancy!
My friend Amber made a beautiful red one. Check out her post Red, White and Blue over at A Little Bit Biased. Clever Girl!


  1. Thanks for the easy to read, nice to see instructions on re-covering the board. I've always thought that I should be able to figure this out, but just never did. With a personalized ironing board cover, ironing may be a little more fun! (Maybe I shouldn't admit it, but I LOVE to iron, while watching a good movie!)

    1. You are so right CJ, a cup of coffee or tea a good movie and get to ironing. It makes the ironing go so much faster. I love the washday fabric. It reminds me of my childhood and my Mom hanging up the clean clothes in the sunshine.

  2. This is a great tutorial! Thanks for the easy instructions.

  3. I really need to do this. Thanks!

  4. thanks for the simple tutorial. i really need to replace mine.
    quilting dash lady at comcast dot net

  5. I just made this today and love it! Thanks so much for your clear and concise instructions. I plan to link to your blog when I post tomorrow, so hopefully, lots of others can make one too!

  6. Thanks so much for this tutorial (and for figuring it out so I don't have to)! My ironing board has burn marks and goo from interfacing all over it, so I really need to make a new one!

    Looking forward to checking out your smocking tutorials as pretty!

  7. terrific tutorial . . . but I LOVE the painted dresser !! . . . it looks just like Mary Englebreit painted it . . . beautiful !!

    1. Cheryl, Thanks! FYI That dresser was just an old tired oak dresser left over from the kids until last Fall when it under went a life changing transformation in my garage. I feel a blog coming on featuring my favorite sewing room furniture -- aka my Mary Engelbreit Ironing station! Stay Tuned!!

  8. Oh my goodness, I have the exact same ironing board with the avocado green underneath! It's 34 years old. Time for a cheery new cover for sure!

    Thanks for the directions.

  9. I have been itching to cover my ironing board for months. I think today is the day! I'm heading down to my fabric stash right now ...

  10. Thank yu so much for this Post, I have been looking for a pattern like this.

  11. You've done a nice job explaining all of the details for us who don't sew much. Thank you. I can't wait to try it.

  12. I have been hunting for a new cover and never finding one that fit or I liked. No more excuses, I'm taking out my sewing machine I will make two. One for today and another for another day when I want to be cheered while ironing. Thank you so much

  13. Eva,
    Thanks so much for the GREAT tutorial! I had the fabric and the desire to use it for a new ironing board cover but no clue how to go about making it. I Googlized (is that a word?) how to do it and up popped your tutorial! Lucky for me I had everything I needed on hand and didn't have to drive into town for supplies.(I live kind of out in the sticks) It only took me an hour or two to make and I am now the extremely happy owner of a custom made cover for my ironing board... love, love, love it! :-D

  14. Great tutorial! Thanks! I posted on my blog about it. :)

  15. Whew! Just finished my first ironing board cover! Your pictures were helpful, i used a continuous bias binding with a 20x20 square and had the perfect amount of binding. I also used an ironing board fabric for batting under my very bright and fun fabric And the ironing board is beautiful! Thanks.

  16. is there any special way to prepare the fabric prior to making it an ironing board cover. I'm using nice quilting fabric and they are beautiful, but i worry the color may come off as you iron. Any words of wisdom?

    1. Lorita, If you are using good quality fabric color transfer should only be a consideration in dark colors or prints. As with all fabric you should pre-wash to remove all excess dye.

  17. I pulled and pulled that elastic and broke it! Help! I think I have to pull it all out and restring the elastic! Wah!

  18. Oh dear. I am so sorry. You should not have needed to pull and pull. . . unless you caught the elastic in the stitching in which case no amount of pulling would have drawn it up without tearing something. Another possibility is that your casing was stitched too closely to allow the elastic to slide inside it. Did you use 1/4" elastic? I am not strong enough to break 1/4" elastic. You must be very strong. Did you pull it up as you went as described in the tutorial? This eliminates having to pull it all up at the end. So sorry. I haven't heard of this problem before. I would not restring. I would rip out the stitching and start again sewing the casing big enough for the elastic to slide, being careful not to catch the elastic in the stitching and pulling it up as you go. Good luck.

  19. Excellent tutorial! I cheated a bit and used extra elastic which I just pulled tight and clipped...I will use the elastic "remnant" in another project!
    Thank you so much for great instructions, simple steps, and great photos.

  20. I loved the board with the measuring tape on it, where can I buy that,I am in the UK and we don't do anything like that here?

  21. June Tailor makes one called a Press Mate that has a grid printed on it. You can Google it and find it through several online outlets. seems to be the least expensive. Check the measurements to see if it fits your UK ironing board. It would also be in inches not metric. Good Luck!

  22. Thanks for the awesome tutorial! After laundering my store-bought cover with poor results, some of the binding came loose, I decided it's time to make my own, better quality, and prettier cover.
    I found your tutorial and got busy, covered my stand ironing board with some ticking fabric and elastic I had in my stash and was so pleased with it I then covered my tabletop ironing board as well with equally excellent results! I now have the cutest ironing boards in Beaverecreek!

  23. I've got to make this. I can't stand the cover that came with my ironing board. It has strings to pull it tight and it always comes loose! I think I have enough fabric on hand to give it a try soon. Thanks for posting such a clear tutorial!