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Tutorial for the perfect fitting ironing board cover

Tutorial for the perfect fitting ironing board cover

I'm just going to say it.  I've never bought a commercially-made ironing board cover which wasn't just plain nasty.  

My top three peeves with store bought covers are:

  1. They're often made of thin, open weave fabric 
  2. The way the elastic eventually gives way, causing the cover and padding to bunch up
  3. When you buy one, you can almost guarantee it wont fit your board properly when you get it home.

I have been making my own covers since the mid 90's and in this tutorial I will share my secret for the perfect fit ironing board cover, regardless of the shape, make or size of your board.

It mightn't' be sexy or insta-worthy project, but this ironing board cover is quick, easy and super functional.  Also, by making it yourself you can choose a fabric to suit your sewing space, or even just brighten up your laundry.


You will need:

  • 3.5m/4 yards of piping cord
  • 25cm or 1/4 yard of quilting weight cotton or calico to make a casing. 
    • This wont be visible so feel free to grab any old thing from your stash
  • 50cm x 1.5m  (20" x 1, 3/4 yard) piece of fabric for the cover
    • Choose something sturdy such as a furnishing weight linen or a cotton linen canvas. Avoid synthetic fibres as they will scorch and make a mess of the surface of your iron. 
    • Linen is perfect as it is more heat resistant than cotton ( it burns more slowly in a burn test) so will be more durable in the long run.
    TIP:  I make two covers at the same time from the width of fabric piece so that I have a new one on hand when needed.

    If you need some fabric for your cover you can check out all of our beautiful linens and canvas weight fabrics here

    There's also some extra good news. For a short time only,

    save 20%

    on all Tiger Plant and Cotton and Steel linens, and Kokka canvas fabrics. 

     Click here to grab your code

    The discount will be automatically added at the check out for you.  Sale ends midnight Easter Monday (2 April 2018)

    I usually reuse the padding layer. But this is a great time to replace or reinforce it if needed.  If it looks a bit thin, I just add another layer of left over cotton or bamboo wadding on top of the existing padding. For each layer you add you will need a 1.5 x 50 cm piece.

    Step 1. Trace your board

    Lay your board upside down on your cover fabric.  Using tailor's chalk or a fabric pencilt trace around the shape of your board.  

    ironing board pattern

    Using a tape measure or ruler, mark another line 6cm (2.5")  around the outside of the traced line. 

    Cut out your cover on this outside line.

    Step 2. Make the casing

    Cut your casing fabric into three 6cm or 2.5" strips and remove the selvages.  Join strips using a bias seam and press wrong sides together, just as if you were making a quilt binding.

    ironing board cover casing

    Open the casing out and fold one end over twice and top stitch in place approximately 1/4 inch from the folded end. Make sure that you don't sew the casing closed, as you will need to thread the cord through later.

    Step 3.  Sew the casing to your cover fabric

    Fold the cover fabric in half length ways and make a mark  at the centre of the wide end.  With the edges aligned,  place the folded and  top stitched end of your casing on the right side of your cover fabric at your centre mark and pin in place.  

    Back-tacking to secure the end, and using a 1/4" seam, stitch the folded casing to the right side of the cover. 

    Gently ease your way around the curves at the end and top of the board, making sure you keep the casing edge flush with that of the cover.  


    The casing wont sit flat and will wrinkle up a bit.  This is normal and totally OK, so don't clip the curve. Stop when you are about 5-6 inches from the end. 

    attaching ironing board casing

    Lie the casing flat and cut away the excess, leaving roughly 1/2" overlap.  Open the casing out, fold the end over twice and  finger press.  

    Top sttitch the folded edge  again like you did at the start.  Then finish stitching the casing in place with the ends butted together like this:

    Finish the raw edge with your serger/overlocker.  To save time, I just used the zig zag stitch on my machine.

    ironing board cover tutorial


    Dont clip the curves.  You will want the casing to stand up a bit like this as it will help your cover to fit your board snugly.

    Fold the casing back away from the cover fabric and edge stitch through all the layers, about 1/8" from the fold.  I have an edge stitching foot for my machine and can move the needle position across, but a regular sewing machine foot will also work.  

    As you come to the curves the casing will want to stand up a bit.   

    ironing board tutorial edge stitching

    Just ease it flat a couple of inches in front of the foot at a time like this.  Keep working your way around the cover, back tacking at the end

    Once you are done, and because we didn't clip those seams, your cover will sort of stand up on the casing. 

    This is the secret of the perfect fitting ironing board cover!

    Step 4. Thread the cord and fit your cover

    You're almost there.  

    Tie a knot in each end of the cord to prevent fraying and  thread  it through the casing all the way around your ironing board cover. A bodkin is best, but I couldn't find mine so I made do with a safety pin.

    Ease the fullness out , place your cover over the padded surface of your ironing board and pull the cord up tight.  Tie it off firmly, and bingo  you are done.

    the perfect fitting ironing board cover







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    Sarah T - October 20, 2021

    I’m going to try this tomorrow. (I would have done it tonight, but I realised I had better wash my fabric first in case it shrinks.) Can’t wait to have a nice new cover!

    Terri-Anne Hassed - April 24, 2018

    Thanks Wendy great tutorial. Just a question though, Lori Holt has said she finds a wooden (vintage) board is best. I wonder what your opinion is and if I cover my vintage board can I just use the linen or do I have to line it with calico or something else??

    Julie - April 3, 2018

    Thanks so much for the tutorial. I too make mine as I have a large board and the normal covers don’t fit. But I love your casing idea and will do this instead of my usual hemming a casing for the elastic.

    Fran - March 29, 2018

    Excellent tutorial Wendy, thanks! And the photos are a great help.

    Margaret - March 29, 2018

    Thank you Wendy for the tutorial. It will absolutely come in handy when I need to recover my board.

    Moira - March 28, 2018

    Very timely! Thanks. I’d just been thinking my ironing board is looking pretty scruffy.

    Ruth - March 27, 2018

    Thank you for taking the time to document this tutorial, it’s very easy to follow. Much appreciated.

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