Wednesday, June 22, 2011

When you just can't put the iron board away looking like that...

Yikes!  I didn't even hang onto my old stained cover long enough to take a photo. I'm ashamed of how trashy and stained it looked with the cord all untucked and hanging to the floor. No padding left to speak of. yuck!

We had to tidy up because our house cleaner comes every 2 weeks and she was coming Monday morning (yes we have a house cleaner and yes we actually clean the house before said house cleaner comes.  It works for us, so what can you say?)  My board sits out near my craft corner much of the time since that is where I use it the most. My sewing machine is there, the TV is over on that side, and most importantly I don't have to unplug things to plug it in there.  I try to put everything more or less away except on my table proper which can be a crazy mess - even worse these evenings as I'm pulling bits of projects off the ironing board, the floor, the coffee table, the chairs, and trying to get it "out of the way" so our terrific cleaner can actually vacuum the basement.  Often I'll vacuum more frequently upstairs, but I'm sad to admit that in the basement it looks pretty bad - crumbs on the play/TV/kids side, kitty litter in the kitty box nook area, lint in the laundry area, and a bazillion little thread bits and trimmings (more or less depending on how busy I've been.)

There's usually a knitting disaster area in the living room that is supposed to be contained in my basket, but normally is only contained there once every two weeks...yes, when we are cleaning up for the house cleaner.
(It really sounds ridiculous, but I swear there is a logic to it)

SOOOOO... This old disgusting cover on my ironing board.  We hang the board like a little work of art in the laundry area, and the old cover was really embarrassing enough that my OCD took over and I removed the cover, pulled out some Marimekko that I'd gotten a couple of years ago at the C&B Outlet store (still have enough to back a medium size quilt) and got to work.  I toyed with the idea of a tutorial. Or rather some photos on how I used someone else's tutorial,  but as I've just explained it was a OCD moment with a sense of urgency (and lateness of the hour).  But I'll tell you in words then I encourage you to find a real tutorial somewhere if you need more instructions.  I had looked at 2 or 3 in the past and had a vague idea what to do.
The final product! looks like a pretty normal ironing board...
First I removed the elastic twine from the old cover to reuse on this one. There was a little toggle clasp thingy to adjust the tightness so I clipped the knot off the end, slipped that toggle thingy off and then worked the elastic string out. Set that aside.

I flattened out the cover as much as possible and pinned to my new fabric as a template.  I squeezed this cover out of about 2/3 yard of 58" fabric (incl selvedges which I trimmed only a little and which I figured would be tucked underneath). With a normal fabric, you'd need something like 60 inches - I think that is 1 and 2/3 yards (but check you board size and adjust accordingly).

I looked at the construction of the existing cover and more or less copied it to make this- it had a sort of opaque fabric binding encasing the raw edges of the cover and the elastic drawstring, It looked like a woven sew-in interfacing type of material. I don't have anything like that and I thought it looked cheap and ugly anyway. For this project I broke out a FQ of green, sort of coordinating fabric and made a continuous bias strip (using a tutorial that I'd printed out ages ago to make the tube and cut it into a long strip.)  What I'd never done before was to use a double fold bias tape maker. I'd only ever made bias tape to make quilt binding and not by making a double fold tape.  Now I normally I don't bother doing it on the bias for quilts - just straight strips. But an ironing board has curves so I figured I'd better be biased (hehe).  OOh, that was fun, being a little double fold tape factory! I will definitely be making colorful double fold bias tapes to use for bags or ?? whatever (but not quilts because I still think it's unnecessary in that case and a lot more work.)

 Here below, you can see how the bias tape was applied to the edge of the cover. Start at the back center and encase the elastic string as you go along being careful not to catch the string in your stitches. It was not as tricky as it sounds - just tuck the cord into the fold of the bias tape, fold it over the edge of the fabric and pin like crazy as you move around the edge.  Then stick close to the edges of the double fold tape when you stitch.  You can feel the string in the fold as you guide it into your machine. There were a couple of spots I had to go back and stitch over again to secure the fabric inside the tape - but I'm pretty inexperienced still.

I also cut a new piece of batting to put over the existing matted down piece. I didn't replace completely since I didn't have any batting with much loft and the old one could be salvaged and just overlayed with a new layer of cotton batting.  Then I put the cover over the board and worked the elastic string through the binding tube to tighten the cover.  Then secured with the adjustable toggle I'd set aside. I tucked the toggle and extra string into the underside of the board cover and that was it! Pretty slick, huh?

You know, a skanky ironing board cover is just one of those little things that quietly stress me out. Not all that important, but it is more relaxing to use something that doesn't scream at you every time "WHY DON'T YOU DO SOMETHING ABOUT ME?"

Sometimes a late night is totally worth it.

(next post I will share another recent FO - but one that is unfulfilled nonetheless...stay tuned)


  1. I made a new ironing board cover a few weeks back, and mine lives mostly unseen in a corner of the spare room. We, too, clean before the housecleaner comes. We must get together to quilt one of these days (G can perhaps be bribed into watching the younger set).

  2. Awesome! Isn't it awful how ghastly we let our ironing boards get before we actually SEE it, and do something!?!?! I changed mine out recently, too, and fumbled along, pretty much like you did. I used an odd piece of flannel that had sewing notions all over. I love flannel on the ironing board -- I know, "now you tell me!" -- because fabric stays put on it. I promise not to let starch and fusible mess it up again -- I'm remembering to put down some muslin or freezer paper before making a huge mess. Wonder how long that will go on -- LOL! Great job, Janet!

  3. Mom made a new cover for each wedding, I bet all the old ones are still on there, just extra padding.

  4. It's a beautiful new cover -and I completely understand cleaning up before the cleaning lady comes! It's why I don't have a cleaning lady any more - it was too much work!!