Given the disastrous death of my previous ironing board, a replacement was necessary. But Ikea's Dänka comes with the gross scribbly flower cover shown at left, which would clearly be bullied by the other decor of my burgeoning sewing room/office. So using some green and grey Pernilla fabric that will match the eventual curtains, I threw together a simple new cover using the existing one as a pattern. Here's how, in case anybody else is similarly turned off by the default cover. (And trust me! The steps look long, but it really is pretty simple.)
- Dänka ironing board
- 1 1/2 yds (1.5m) cotton fabric, such as Pernilla (there will be lots of excess, but if the pattern runs up the bolt, you'll need this much)
- Straight pins
- Clear acrylic ruler
- Pencil or fabric chalk (a regular pencil is fine; the marks will be hidden in the seam allowance)
- Sewing machine
- Safety pin
- Untie the string holding the cover to the ironing board. Pull the string out of the cover and set the string aside. Remove the cover from the board, leaving the padding in place.
- Use the old cover as a pattern for the new one: Place the cover flat on the right side of the fabric, allowing 1 inch (2.5cm) all the way around for seams. Pin the cover to the fabric every few inches along the perimeter, smoothing the cover as you go to keep it flat.
- Mark the seam allowance around the old cover: Use the ruler and pencil or chalk to mark 1 inch (2.5cm) from the old cover all the way around the "pattern". When turning corners, make short marks and move the ruler frequently.
- Cut the fabric out along the marked line. Do not unpin it from the old cover.
- Turn the old cover and fabric over so the wrong side of the fabric faces you. Snip into the seam allowance, almost 1 inch (2.5cm), at the tip of the arm (at the same place where the string ends came out of the old cover). Zigzag stitch along the edges and end of the snip to prevent fraying.
- Fold a double hem for the cord channel: Remove a pin and fold 1/2 inch (1.25cm) of the fabric edge in, then fold that edge in another 1/2 inch (1.25cm). The outside fold should line up with the edge of the old cover beneath. Repin the hem, catching only the new fabric. Repeat around the perimeter of the cover. There will be extra fabric bulk in the curves or the seam allowance—a pro seamstress/seamster would make them nice and neat, but since the channel gets cinched by the cord anyway, I just flattened out the folds as best I could. Chuck out the nasty old cover or save it for future pattern use.
- Sew the channel: Starting and the snip made in Step 5, sew a straight stitch close to the fold of the hem, removing pins as you go. Adjust the bulk around curves as necessary.
- Insert the cord: Tie the string to the safety pin. Insert the pin into one end of the channel and work it through to the other end. You'll periodically need to slide the cinches onto the loose end of the string. When finished, you should have a roughly equal amount of string on each side of the channel opening.
- Fit the new cover around the board: Place the cover on the ironing board, keeping the padding that came with the board in place. If the cover got wrinkled when inserting the string, iron it now. Use something flat to push the end of the cover through the small space between the end of the board and the iron holder. Arrange the cover so there is a roughly even amount of material around all the edges, again making sure the padding stays in place. Pull the string to cinch the cover around the board. Tie the ends of the string a few times to secure.
All the pinning and whatnot takes some time, but the finished product will make me much less cranky while ironing.
If you're looking to sew a completely new cover (that is, with fresh padding and everything), try the instructions on The Purl Bee.