Thursday, July 18, 2013

DIY ironing board cover

My ironing board has been around the block. The Bear bought her before he and I lived together. She's probably about 15 years old. She's a tough old broad and very trusty. But she was looking a little rough around the edges. Years of begrudged use had taken their toll. Her cover was worn and dirty. But her frame was still good - no rust, few dents or scratches and still very sturdy. It was time to give her a makeover - the old girl needed a freshening-up. A new cover would go a long way, but they're expensive for what they are. So I made one myself. I took guidance from this tutorial, from a blog called Sweet Verbena. The tutorial was very simple. Maybe you'd like to try making one too.

The original cover was from the 90's. It wasn't very pretty or inspiring. Not that ironing is such an inspiring chore in the best case, but why not have a pretty ironing board, if you have to iron anyway? That's right, I knew you'd agree.



I mean, really...we can do better than this. Jaunty sketches of ironing boards and washing machines? Come on. And look at the stains. I'm kind of ashamed to share these photos, to be honest. I have been ironing clean clothes and fabric projects on this thing and probably should have done something about it a long time ago. She was serviceable but slightly gross. Here's what I decided to use for her makeover...something a little more exciting!


This is from Jane Sassaman's Early Birds line. This design is called Strawberry Serenade. I bought it over a year ago from Fabric.com and I think it may be discontinued now. But isn't it gorgeous? I just fell in love with the bright colors and the strawberries and birds, my two favorite motifs in fabric design. I love the little red "caterpillar" figure next to the bird and the flowers, especially those red lady-slipper-ish ones. I bought a yard and a half but didn't have a plan for it: just another one of those impulsive stash additions. I thought it would be perfect for my new cover.

I followed Sweet Verbena's tutorial as she wrote it and the whole project took me about an hour. It was easy and fast. I won't rewrite her tutorial for my blog, as it doesn't seem fair to her, but I'll share some photos and narrative about making my own cover.


Just as she did, I needed to pry off this little metal fastener holding the cover's drawstring around the ironing board. She mentioned "popping it off" with a butter knife but it wasn't as easy for me; I ended up using the butter knife to bend back the sides of the fastener and then to loosen the prongs holding it together at the front. It felt kind of dangerous, actually. I might use a thin-bladed screwdriver if I ever have to do this again.


Take off the old cover, see the padding underneath? She glued hers to the board with a spray adhesive. I don't have any of that so I just left it alone. You need the padding for the new cover but you might want to shake it out and wipe down the metal surface. Or maybe you haven't let yours accumulate filth for 15 years, in which case you can skip this step.





I used the old cover to trace pieces from the new fabric. I used tailor's chalk in two colors, white for the black fabric and blue for the marking on the old white cover. The tutorial gives good advice for how to do this if your fabric is too short to do the whole thing in one piece. My new fabric has a definite pattern direction so I made sure the bottom piece would look continuous with the top piece. It wasn't important to me to have it match up perfectly, though, just to have it going in the same direction.





There were a couple of minor episodes of sewing and pressing. My machine already had a white bobbin in place so I just used white thread for the top too. It didn't seem imperative to have it match the fabric, since the seams will be hidden underneath the board.




Once your tunnel-like edge seam is done, make a little slit in the bottom edge and attach the string to a safety pin, pushing it through the seam. Then pull the new cover over the board and tighten down the strings. I tied mine up in a little noose-like thing to keep them from hanging down. This was a purely cosmetic decision; isn't it funny how I was happy to live with a frightful ironing board cover all that time and suddenly now I'm Mrs. Fastidious about the whole thing? You could just throw away the string and thread some narrow elastic through the seam instead, but it was easy to reuse the string.



Step back and admire. Pretty! She's looking spiffy now. And you can hardly even see the seam where I sewed the top and bottom pieces together. I had to point it out to the Bear, who didn't notice it himself. Mysteriously, he doesn't pay much attention to the ironing board...


What a difference. I'm really glad I did this. It looks better and makes me feel better about ironing. Well, a little. I'm never going to feel wholly terrific about ironing, but this is a step in the right direction.


It's hard to tell from the photo, but even the iron is smiling. Everyone loves the made-over ironing board.

26 comments:

  1. That is brilliant. I've bought new covers before and they ARE expensive. I've never thought of making one but I will in future.

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  2. If you think your ironing board was bad, you should see mine! I love what you did. The fabric is bright and cheerful, let's face it, we all need some motivation to do the ironing! Thanks for sharing the tutorial, I would really like to try this and have thought many of times about it, but never knew where to start! :) maybe this could be a nice summer project for me!

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  3. see now that looks lovely! so why did i end up buying one from the supermarket! lol

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  4. How lovely! The finish product looks wonderful. You did a wonderful job! :)

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  5. Oh I love your fabric! What a great idea to make a cover I must put this on my to do list, thanks Jennifer :-) x

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  6. What a super job...And...for the record...I don't mind ironing!
    I find it kind of satisfying and soothing...I know...I'm crazy!!!
    Love the fabric!

    Cheers!
    Linda :o)

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  7. Wow Jennifer this is GORGEOUS! I love the fabric for one but it has completely transformed your ironing board - I think anything that makes ironing seem more glamorous must be good! Well done x Jane

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  8. You're so funny! My ironing board cover is really gross, much more stained than that, I must do something about it. That fabric you chose is joyful, so happy and busy. Lots to look at. It would make me happy too. x

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  9. I love this! Looks great, so bright and cheerful. My ironing board looks awful, much much worse than your original board I can tell you!
    Marianne x

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  10. That's one cool ironing board cover, so bright it reminds me more of a surf board in a cover than a ironing board, I think it's top banana
    Clare x
    http://summerhousebythesea.blogspot.co.uk/

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  11. That's fantastic Jennifer - you did a great job, and what a bright exciting fabric - that would have to make you happier about ironing! I have bought umpteen new covers for my board over the years and they are rather expensive and don't last long either!
    Joy x

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  12. A smile idea to make ironing fun. Well done.
    S xx

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  13. What a great idea and execution of the idea, Jennifer! I just have a mini ironing board and its cover is pitiful...stained...uninspiring. Thanks for another project for my to do list :)
    xx,
    Gracie

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  14. I love the look of the fabric, so very bright.

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  15. Your old board looks like mine and from the other comments, I see that a lot of us have the same problem. I'm using a towel as a "new" cover. I wish I had your energy and talent to make a real new cover but for now, I'll dream about yours. You made it sound easy except for the dangerous prying off of the fastener.
    :)Jayne

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  16. Wow ... stunning make over it almost makes me want to go and do ironing ... How on earth you have a board that lasted so long I don't know mine seem to rust away in no time. ~ Sarah x

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  17. Your make over is just wonderful, it must make ironing more enjoyable now! Thanks for sharing, Laura

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  18. I need to do this!!! Mine looks so bad. Your ironing board is so pretty I would wantt to iron every day just to look at it.

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  19. What a wonderful transformation! The new cover is beautiful.

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  20. I have an old wooden ironing board that I found in my grandparents old farmhouse in Oklahoma.. I'd love to rehab it like this. Great job!! LOVE the fabric! ((hugs)), Teresa :-)

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  21. Fabulous new cover........I just love the fabric print..........lovely blog too.
    Kim

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  22. Well... wow!!! Love it!!
    I think might actually be excited about ironing if this was my board...!!!
    Gorgeous!
    Tammy

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  23. I recovered mu ironing board, too several years ago. I used red with white polka dots. It has held up wonderfully.nyour print is very cute! And, black wont show any heat marks.nyour blog is cute, and so are the kiddos in the pics!!!!!! I am a Grama, but I teach kindergarten, so I think kids are the best! Thank you for visiting my Craftroom! Please ignore the typo errors. I am on my IPad.

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  24. I love the bright colors on the new cover! You did a great job :)

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  25. I must be crazy,why was I going to buy one made, I sew for a living ,I can do this ! Thanks!

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