Thursday, March 8, 2012

Ironing Board Cover Redo

After the Starchy Experiment post I'm sure you now know that I'm a bit particular about ironing. Recently I made a new pad and cover for the ironing board but was very negligent about the photos, as I mentioned in the post about finishing up my little crewel work projects. So I'll explain what I did by illustrating the steps for redoing my ancient, double sided sleeve board. Notice how nice and fat it is? I like my ironing boards to be very well padded.

Here is the pathetic thing, just some particle board with a thin batting and a cover that is coming apart around the edges.

First of all, I traced around the edges on some prequilted ironing board fabric.

Then cut around the markings a good inch away so the edges of the board are padded. This is particularly useful when ironing baby clothes.

For the outside fabric I used drill, a heavy cotton fabric. Be sure to wash it first! It really shrinks a lot.  I cut two pieces for each sleeve, and stitched the quilted piece to one piece of the drill. Then I place the sewn piece on the plain drill, sewed a 3/8 inch seam all around, leaving a turning opening at the fat end. After clipping the corners I turned it rightside out making a drill-quilt sandwich.

After sewing all the way around close to the quilted fabric, I threaded cord through the opening and pulled.

Securing the cords with a cord stop gives me a nice, fat sleeve board cover. But I wanted something a bit less utilitarian and a little pretty. So...

I cut some Home Dec fabric (on sale at Joann's) just a bit larger than the original drill pieces.

And made a narrow hem, then a larger one, about 1/2 inch, leaving an opening in the fat end.

Thread the cord through the hem, pull and secure with a cord stop. This gives me four separate tails, but I can live with that. I used a coordinating toile fabric on the other side. I'm missing a cord stop as you can see in the lower right of the photo, and hope to get to Joann's soon to remedy that situation.

So I'm sure you're wondering, why go through all that trouble for a sleeve board, or a large ironing board for that matter? As I said earlier, I like my ironing boards well padded. But the real advantage is keeping it clean. Once the ironing board cover gets full of starch and sticky and dirty, it's easy to take it off and throw it in the wash. Then if I don't get around to the laundry, I still have a functioning ironing board cover, not as pretty, but it still works. With three of us working, we have quite a few shirts to iron each week. Although Hubby is retiring the end of April (isn't that exciting?), so there won't be so much to iron.

But there is another advantage to this method. Say you don't want to mess with the pretty cover and are willing to just use the drill sandwich as your ironing surface. This works very well, by the way. The drill sandwich is reversible! So when it gets all sticky and dirty, just take it off the board and flip it over. I use the elastic clips on the bottom to keep it taught so it's easy just to flip it.

For my large board, I took apart the old pad and placed it under the drill sandwich. So it's really well padded.

Now, I'm not too practiced on tutorials, so if you have any questions, comments, suggestions, please feel free to let me know what you think of this post. I actually used to write these for a living (well, they were test methods, but the idea is the same), but that was over 20 years ago. You know you're really aging when you can measure time in decades!


  1. Now that is exactly what i need to make!,,,

  2. I made the mistake of washing a store-bought ironing board pad once. It turned into fabric mache in the washer. Ever since then I've made my own.
    Love your toile one; it gives that functional tool a kind of vintage kitch look.


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