Reversible Ironing Board Cover

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Not much sewing going on the last couple of days due to errands, etc.  However, I did finally get to work on the new ironing board cover which I desperately needed and had been considering make for quite a while.  After all, why buy something when I could make it and, since I don’t like the coated ironing board fabric anyway (it peels), I wanted all cotton – inside and out.  The original cover was definitely worn out -torn so that the foam rubber padding was exposed and stretched so it no longer stayed attached to the board itself.  All in all, it was a pain to use as it was.  The board is an over-the-door model that I purchased at Target in Albany about 2-3 years ago (ergo, smaller than a freestanding one).  I never used it as such because I didn’t realize until I got home that there was no outlet handy to the only door available to hang it on (Doh!).

First, I used it on the backs of two kitchen chairs.  This was problematic as space limitations meant that it had to cross the doorway to the living room.  For the last 6 months or so, I’ve used it propped on top of bins and piles stacked on the chest at the foot of the bed.  (Adjustable height, depending on how high the stacks and bins of fabric are – Wow, a legitimate reason for those stacks to be a certain height!)  This arrangement has actually worked fairly well since the excess part of large tops can rest on the bed instead of dragging on the sometimes dubiously clean floor (2 cats, a dog, 2 kids and himself tracking in mud, snow and pet hair – I’d really rather not have to sweep and vacuum every time I need to iron!).  Anyway, a friend had given me a length of fabric I had been saving for exactly this purpose so, enough being enough, I finally made a new cover and I am extremely pleased with it! It is reversible, machine washable and used stuff I already had on hand.  A few notes here on how I made it, because I’m fairly sure I may have to make another one in a few years, although hopefully this one will last longer than the original.  (NOTE:  Read all instructions first.)

Materials used:  2 pieces of scrap batting the length and width of the board, a length of pre-washed fabric (doubled so the cover would be reversible) as long as the board itself, and something to use as a drawstring – long enough to go around the perimeter of the board.  (I used a selvage cut from a quilt back, ’cause you know I cut them as small as I can get away with according to print and weave, tie them together and wind them into a big ball for whenever I need a piece of string.)

Lay the batting pieces out individually across a bed, table, floor, etc.  Strip old cover off and put the board down on top (upside down) and draw around it with a black Sharpie.  (Make sure to pick the batting fuzz off the end of the marker before you put it away.) No need to draw around the base (square end) if you can use an edge of the batting.  However, make sure the total length is about 2″ longer at the base.  Lay out the fabric folded down the length, right sides together.  Position one of the batting pieces as a pattern, leaving approximately 2.5″ all the way around.  (OK to leave less on the base end.) Cut out at that margin.  Stitch around the l+ong side from one corner to the other corner, backstitching at each end.   Turn right side out and finger press (since your ironing board is not usable at the moment).  Layer the two batting pieces aligned together as closely as possible and insert into new cover, leaving an approximate 2″ margin between the stitched edge of the cover and the curved long side of the double batting.  (This will be the casing that will tighten the cover over the board.)  At the base end, you should also have 1-2″ of margin.  Smooth out any ripples in all four layers and lay the new cover with batting inside on top of the board to check placement and double-check size.  Make sure the edges of the batting (as felt through the cover) align with the edges of the board.  Peel back raw ends of cover and trim length of batting at base, if necessary. It should be square to the  edge of the board and extend about 1″ or so.  (This will be absorbed by the quilting.)  Fold cut edges of cover to the inside, keeping the batting tucked under one of the sides.  Finger press this folded edge thoroughly.  Pin all the way around  the edges of the batting at least every 6″ or so through all layers.  For each corner, open, lie flat and topstitch from approximately 2″ above to 2″ below the seam – total 4″.  This hems the casing openings.  Then, pin the corners of the batting and at least once between.    Stitch about 1/8 -1/4″ inside the edge of the batting from corner to corner, checking to make sure that there is approximately 2″ of fabric to the right of your stitching line for the casing.   At the second corner, turn and topstitch along the base edge of the cover back to the point of beginning.  This leaves an opening on either side of the batting for the drawstring.  Lastly, quilt the cover between the stitching lines along the edges of the batting as desired.  (Quilt enough to secure batting during repeated washings, but not so much that it absorbs too much fabric thus ending up too short.)  I quilted lines across the shortest width of the board at approximate 2″ intervals using a faint stripe printed on the fabric as a guide.  Lay out again on the board to double-check size.  Thread your drawstring of choice through the casing and tighten around the board.  Anchor the ends around the frame at the square end of the board.   Admire your work and congratulate yourself.

Notes:  Theoretically, this should work with any size and type of ironing board,  If the board is freestanding, I would probably leave enough margin in the fabric  for a casing along the base end.  In that case, I think that I would seam around the entire edge of the cover, leaving an opening of about 4″ along one side for turning.  Rather than close this edge after turning, open flat from the right side and topstitch so you have a hemmed opening to tie the drawstring tight when it’s on the board.   A thought about pinning:  It occurred to me after the fact that it might have been easier to pin the batting to the wrong side of one of the fabric pieces before stitching that first seam.  However, aside from the fact that I would have inevitably snagged myself on the pins while sewing the seam and then turning it, I would have to remember to pin the batting from the right side of the fabric, so that I would not have to reach inside the cover to remove said pins after turning.   As it happened, it was easy enough to do it the way I did and insert the batting – the two pieces stuck to each other sufficiently so that they stayed aligned with each other, as well as sticking to the fabric enough to stay where I wanted it yet still be easily adjusted in order to place it just so.

Now that I have a new ironing board cover, it’s time to iron and sew the bindings for 30+ mug rugs and get them out of my way.  🙂 Oh, I almost forgot, pix below:

Old Ironing Board Cover - note the scraps of batting I lazily inserted to cover the exposed foam rubber

Old Ironing Board Cover – note the scraps of batting I lazily inserted to cover the exposed foam rubber

New Ironing Board Cover

New Ironing Board Cover