The Ultimate DIY Ironing Board Cover! free sewing tutorial

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Sew the best ironing board cover you ever had with my free pattern that covers everything!

It’s way more fun to press on a clean ironing board, don’t you think? I’m embarrassed to show you how bad my ironing board cover was before… but if I don’t, you won’t believe the transformation!

This blog post has been converted to an optional PDF that’s optimized for printing. Find it here. The blog post below is totally free to read, print, and sew! Just hit CTRL +P on your computer to print. The PDF download for $3 is totally optional.

This ironing board cover was just plain sad. It made me sad to use it!

Let’s just think of all the quilt pieces I stood there and pressed to make it look that bad. And then say goodbye…

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Because I finally sewed myself a beautiful new ironing board cover using fabrics from Sweet Caroline (the collection I curated with QT Fabrics – shipping to stores January 2019)!

My new ironing board cover is not only clean and beautiful – I put into it all my favorite features from covers of my past…

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Like a fitted nose so it never pops off and and an elastic strap with a buckle underneath to keep everything tight and smooth.

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And of course the handy pockets for keeping all my pressing tools, like my point turner, press cloth, bias tape maker, thread clippers, and more.

First let’s talk about the notions I used:

The ironing board cover is held taut using 1/16” drapery cord inside a casing made from extra wide bias binding.

I know some people like to use elastic inside their casing, but elastic can be difficult to pull such a long way. The drapery cording slips right through (using a bodkin) and ties tightly. Plus it costs a lot less.

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I made my own extra wide bias binding (2’’ wide before folding and pressing) using my easy bias binding tutorial and just a fat quarter of fabric. Then I used a bias tape maker to help me quickly fold and press it.

You’ll need 4 yards, and packaged ‘extra wide double fold bias tape’ would be great too if you don’t want to make your own

The elastic strap is made with a small plastic buckle and 1/2 yard elastic the right width to fit the buckle. An opening from 1/2’’ – 1’’ will work fine with the same size elastic. Mine is 3/4’’.

So let’s get sewing!

Ultimate DIY Ironing Board Cover Tutorial

You will need:

  • 2 yards of fabric for the cover

  • a fat quarter of fabric for the pockets

  • 2 yards of insulbright insulated batting (you could use 100% cotton quilt batting instead, but it wouldn’t reflect the heat back up)

  • 1 zipper 13’’ long for the zipper pocket

  • 1 small plastic buckle (see above)

  • 1/2 yd elastic to fit the buckle slot (see above)

  • 4 yards extra wide double fold bias tape (2’’ wide unfolded – see above)

  • fabric marking pen

  • quilt basting spray (such as SpraynBond), optional

  • 4 yards of 1/16’’ drapery cording (see above)

  • a bodkin (recommended) or medium sized safety pin

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Cutting:

1. Remove your old ironing board cover. (There was a foam pad underneath my cover. I left it there.)

Drape the 2 yard piece of fabric lengthwise over your ironing board.

2. Cut around the ironing board, 3’’ below the top of the board, except for around the ‘nose’.

For about 10’’ from the tip of the ‘nose,’ trim away just 2’’.

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Gradually blend the 2’’ drop and 3’’ drop together and don’t stress too much about it.

A variation of about 1/2’’ either way won’t ruin your ironing board cover. 🙂

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3. Now we’ll cut the pattern piece that makes the ‘nose’ pocket.

Place the cover fabric piece on your cutting table. Measure and mark a horizontal line 10’’ below the ‘nose’.

I used a Frixion pen that disappears from heat. You don’t want this line to show later.

Place the cover piece on top of the remaining fabric, right side down.

First trim around the nose from the line to the tip.

Then fold the cover piece back along the line and cut away the nose piece along the fold.

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4. Place both pieces on the Insulbright batting and trim around them.

Attach the fabric to the batting using basting spray or by basting with a long stitch all the way around 3/8’’ from the edge.

5. For the pockets, cut:

  • 1 rectangle 18’’ x 13’’ for the zipper pocket

  • 1 rectangle 18’’ x 8’’ for the slip pocket

The pocket fabric may be the same as the rest of the cover (you’ll have enough left over) or you can use different fabric like I did.

These pockets are the exact same pockets that are on my DIY Pool Chair Cover. Sew them together using the sections ‘Make the Zippered Side Pockets’ and ‘Make the Slip Side Pockets’ here, except you’ll just make 1 of each.

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Sewing:

1. Place the nose pocket piece against the nose of the cover piece, right sides together.

Sew around the curved edge with a 3/8’’ seam allowance.

Cut notches in the seam allowance around the curve to reduce bulk.

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Turn the nose pocket right side out. Then turn the cover over so the right side. will be up.

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2. Fold the cover in half (placing the nose against the bottom end) to determine where the center is. Mark the center of the cover on both sides

3. Cut the 18’’ piece of elastic in half making two 9’’ long pieces of elastic. Thread each piece through one part of the buckle. Put the raw ends of the elastic together and pin the raw ends over the center markings on the cover (see above).

4. Place the pocket pieces front (right) side down with the top edges of the pockets against the raw edges of one side of the cover. Pin in place.

As you can see in the photo above, my pockets are placed on either side of one of the buckle straps, just 1/4’’ away.

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5. Stitch the top edges of the pockets and the raw edges of the elastic to the cover, 3/8’’ from the edge.

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Attach the Binding:

1. Open the folded binding and fold one end to the wrong side by 1/2’’.

Place the binding edge against the edge of the cover, right sides together.

It doesn’t really matter where you start sewing the binding on, but this will be the opening of the casing. I chose one of the long edges, near the buckle.

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2. Sew the binding all the way around the cover with a 3/8’’ seam allowance.

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Tip: When you come to the nose pocket, clip though the seam allowance at the seam that joins the pocket piece to help you ease the binding over onto the pocket piece. (the clip should be on the larger top piece)

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3. When you get back to the starting edge, fold back the binding and cut it so that the ends are matching, about 1/4’’ apart.

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This is what the binding looks like – the unseen part wraps around and runs along the bottom of the nose pocket.

Trim the raw edges if any of them extend past the binding.

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4. Wrap the binding around the raw edges to the wrong side of the cover.

5. From the wrong side, stitch the binding down close to the edge.

Keep in mind, that the binding will make the casing, so if you sew close to the edge, it will be easier to get the bodkin with cording through.

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6. Tie a knot in the end of the cording to help the bodkin (or safety pin) have something to grab on to.

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7. Using the bodkin (or safety pin), push the cording all the way through the casing.

8. Before tightening the cord, place the cover on the board, making sure it is straight and the edges wrap around evenly. Close the buckle ends together.

In turns, smooth and straighten the top, and pull the cording tighter. For the smoothest top, repeat several times – smoothing and then tightening until it looks good.

Then tie the cord ends tight and cut the extra cording a few inches from the knot.

Perform Step 8 above with the ironing board upright. I turned mine over so you could see how it should look.

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Note: if I ever need to take off this cover and use it again, I’ll cut the cord through the opening and remove it. Then I’ll run new cord through and repeat this step. It’s no big deal since the cording is only about 25 cents/yard.


If you don’t have an ironing board yet to put a cover on – check the thrift store! Ironing boards are one of my 5 Hidden Sewing Supplies to find at the Thrift Store. 🙂

Let me know how your ironing board cover turns out – you can tag me (@sewcanshe) to let me see on Instagram!

Disclosure: some of my posts contain affiliate links. If you purchase something through one of those links I may receive a small commission, so thank you for supporting SewCanShe when you shop! All of the opinions are my own and I only suggest products that I actually use. 🙂