How to Make Ironing Happier with a Simple DIY Ironing Board Cover

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by Robin

When we added the second floor to our house we put three bedrooms, a bathroom and moved the laundry room upstairs.  

Best. Decision. Ever.

It cost us a bit extra for the plumbing, but the daily time it saves us has more than paid for it.  No hauling clothes up and down stairs.  No running to the basement to find clean underwear.  I can be a bit lazy and leave the folded clothes on top of the machine and it doesn't totally inconvenience us.

The only drawback, and it's a tiny one, is that this room is a little bit ugly.  It needed a bit of colour and prettiness.  Just to make me smile when I work in there.  

I've had four of these floral vintage curtain panels for more than 6 years.  And for more than 6 years one of them has been draped over our ironing board in hopes that I will make it into a cover.

Nope.  I've just been hanging it back over the top when we're done with the ironing.  But now that I am doing a Hard, Sweaty, Fun thing each day, I am getting on top of those someday-soon sort of projects.

Here's how I made a fresh new ironing board cover.  It was super easy!  

I was inspired to see just how simple this would be by the great tutorial on Life as a Thrifter.  (Holly has lots of great ideas - totally check her blog out!)

I made this cover in a very similar way.  The only significant difference is that Holly used elastic to hold the cover on.  I used a piece of cording.  I made this choice for three reasons:

1) I had cording in my craft cupboard.  I could get this done right away.  A trip to the store would have meant I put it off for another 6 years.  Sad, but true.

2) Sometimes elastic can get tired and stretched out.  Given how long it took me to get moving on this project, I did not want to remake it later.

3) I used to be a sailing instructor (that's how Ed and I met).  I know knots.  I have more confidence in my knot tying skills than my sewing of elastic.

Spread your fabric out on the floor.  Lay your ironing board on top.  If there is a pattern that needs to be centred on your fabric, do that now.  
(Apologies for the shaky shot.  I can't explain it, but my first shots are always terrible.)

With chalk make marks 3.5 inches out from the side of your board. 
 (I improvised with sidewalk chalk.) 

Using sharp scissors, follow your chalk dots to cut out your ironing board shape.  
(I might have sung, "Connect the dots, La, La, La, La, La" in the style of Pee Wee Herman.  You do that too, right?)

Resist the urge to climb on top and pretend you're surfing.

With the right side down, (the pretty one) fold the edge over about 1/2 inch and iron all around.

Next fold the edge over again 1 inch and iron.  
The curves will get lumpy, but that's fine, it won't show.

No photo for this: but now you sew!  

Decide where you want the opening to be.  You need a small opening (a couple inches), to insert your cord (see photo below).  I chose to put mine in the side versus the end, just because the curvy areas need to be well stitched to lay properly.

Sew on the inside edge of your cover.  You're making a tube for the cord to travel through.

Go around twice, just to be sure it's good and strong.  

Next, I attached a large safety pin on the end of a very long piece of cording.  It was 2.5 to 3 times the length of my ironing board.  You can cut it to the perfect length at the end.  

Feed the pin end of the cording through the channel you just made.  It will take less time than you might think.  (I put on Sarah 101 on hgtv.ca while I threaded my cord through and I didn't even watch a whole episode.)

When you've gone all the way around, lay the cover onto your ironing board.  Fuss with it a bit to get it on just right.  Then pull your cording taught and tie a good tight knot. 

I chose not to sew the hole closed.  You can't really see the hole, and I may want to take the cover off some time to wash it.  Also, if the cord starts to slacken, I can tighten it up later on.

Next, trim your cording to length and iron your new cover smooth, just so it looks pretty.  Imagine the hours of pleasure you'll get from ironing clothes from now on.  (OK, that's a stretch, but it won't hurt, right?)

Hang it up and wait for everyone in your family to notice!  
(When they don't, tell them to go look at it, and remind them to tell you what a good job you did.)

Now when the laundry room door is left ajar I smile.

If you're looking for more simple, useful sewing projects, check out these:


  1. Oh what a great idea! I really like that there is no elastic. Can't wait to try this myself!

  2. This is a sewing project even I could do and finish. I didn't click through to the original, but I think I'm with you on the cord. Pinning this one for sure.

    1. I was kicking myself that I didn't do this years ago! It was sooo easy. Thanks for the comment, and the pin, Rita!

  3. Robin, I have a flowered fabric that's been draped over my ironing board forever, too. You make it look so easy, I have no excuse not to try this. What kind of cord did you use? It looks pretty thick.

    1. It was crazy easy, Bridget. I used a cord that's intended to make piping for pillows (that's what I had it left over from). I think it's 3/8 or 1/2 inch. I don't think the thickness matters too much, just something that's strong and won't stretch. :)

  4. Cute! I need to make one of these...mine is so nasty! I would LOVE for you to link this up at my Ginger Jamboree Link Party!!

    1. Thanks for the invite, Megan. I linked this post up to your very cute blog. :)

  5. Thanks so much for the ideas and tutorial! Hugs and blessings, Cindy

  6. It looks great! Excellent tutorial, too.:)


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