08 July, 2012

Upcycled Ironing Board Cover Made from a Vintage Tablecloth

It's hot here in the Burg, too hot to work outside in the garden, so today I decided to stay indoors and spend the afternoon sewing.  I had seen a pattern online for a really cute ironing board cover with a patchwork panel insert.  I wanted to make one of these covers for my own trusty ironing board.  Who does not want a stylin' ironing board, right? But as thrifty-frugal-cheap as I am, I was not willing to purchase a pattern.  I knew that I could make a cover without one.  The coolest thing is that I did not have to purchase anything to make my ironing board cover.  Cheapskates Unite!

There are tons of tutorials out there in Blogland that detail how to make a cover for your ironing board, but I wanted one that would add a little fun to the chore. Usually, FUN and IRONING absolutely do not go together, so any way that we can add a cool design element to the task is a good thing.

Here is the BEFORE photo of my ironing board.  It's totally old school... don't you agree?  I made this cover probably 10 years ago and it has held up remarkably well.  If it gets stiff and gakky I just pull it off and wash it.  

And here is the AFTER photo!  Lookin' SHARP! And more my style these days.

Before I get too far along in the process here, I just want to say that photographing an ironing board in an artful way is not such an easy thing to do, seriously.  No matter how you turn the thing, how well you frame it in the photo or how you stage it, it is still just an ironing board, and an ironing board is not such an attractive photographic subject. Just so you know...

So... in case you want to make a cool ironing board cover for yourself, here is how I made mine.

I had an old vintage tablecloth, picked up for next to nothing at a yard sale, and decided to use it as the actual ironing surface. The tablecloth was made of a nice weighty cotton fabric, perfect for work duty.  It had a nasty stain on it but I was able to work around that.

I wanted some sort of a pieced quilt block element in my cover but knew that I did not want the cover to be too scrappy, 'cause that makes it hard to iron stuff.  If I am going to iron, (and I firmly believe that ironing is a choice...), I do not want impressions from seams in my ironing! So I decided on a pieced patchwork panel, to the right of the board, way down at the broader end.

I found a piece of aqua blue polka dot fabric in my stash that complimented the colors in the tablecloth. I made five (that's 5) 4 1/4 inch (unfinished size) pinwheel blocks and pieced them together, side by side in a row.  Then I cut up an old dishtowel to make the red strips that separate the patchwork panel from the tablecloth fabric.  I call this my Pieced Patchwork Pinwheel Panel. Say that, three times fast!

To cut the shape for my new ironing board cover, I laid the old cover onto the tablecloth, positioning it  where I thought that the tablecloth pattern looked best, then cut out around the edge.  You could also lay your ironing board on top of your fabric, then draw around it, allowing thee or four inches extra all   around the ironing board.

The length of my tablecloth was a bit short, so I inserted my patchwork pinwheel panel well to the right on the ironing board.  But I still needed a bit of length for the cover. So I pieced together two nicely printed border portions of the tablecloth to fit the broader end and rounded the corners. I sewed the pinwheel panel to the main portion of the cover, then sewed on the pieced broad end.

The next step was to sew bias binding all around the outer edge of the cover to make the casing.  Luckily, I had a big fat roll of wide white bias binding that was just right for this project.  Some people use elastic for their ironing board cover, but I prefer to pull the cover tight with heavy cotton cord. I ran the cord through the casing and cinched the cover up snuggly around the ironing board.  It lays tight and flat!

That's all there is to it.  Isn't this better than those ugly covers that you have to buy when yours wears out or gets so funky that you can't bear to use it any longer?  Where, oh where do they find all of that leftover fabric from the '80's, all mauve and blue, to make those ready-made covers?  Those purchased covers, they're dogs, all of them! I'm just sayin'...


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