How to Make an Ironing Board Cover

Striped blue shirt on ironing board

LightFieldStudios / Getty Images 

Even the best store-bought ironing-board covers need to be replaced eventually. You could shop the stores and purchase a new cover, or flex your creative muscles and sew your own cover. These instructions make sewing your ironing board cover a cinch. The custom ironing board cover you sew will fit your ironing board and be better than any ironing board cover you can buy even if you could find one to fit correctly. Plus, there's no longer a need to replace odd-shaped or older ironing boards because of ill-fitting commercial covers when you have a DIY custom cover.

Small Ironing Board Cover Made Using the Free Any Size Ironing Board Pattern For
The Spruce / Debbie Colgrove

What You'll Need

Equipment / Tools

  • Pattern-making material
  • Pen, pencil or marker
  • Ruler
  • Safety pin


  • Fabric
  • Batting
  • Cording such as drapery cord
  • Toggle (optional)


  1. Gather Your Materials

    To make your pattern, choose a material such as newspaper, tissue paper, pattern tracing grid, gift wrap, or similar materials. The material needs to be larger than the top of your ironing board.

    For fabric, the amount needed will depend on the size of the pattern piece you make in the next step. The fabric you choose should be colorfast to prevent any color transfer when using steam. You will also want an additional layer of utility fabric such as unbleached muslin. This helps prevent fibers and fuzz from the padding from working its way onto the fabric you are pressing.

    The padding of the previous ironing board cover can be reused if it's still in good shape but adding a bit of additional padding is advised. If it is necessary to replace all of the paddings, or the padding does not have any silver or reflective qualities, visit a fabric store to find a reflective fabric such as Insul-Bright.

    When you choose your cording—drapery cord is a good option—make sure there is enough to go around the edge of the ironing board and a bit more to have enough to tie it. You can include a toggle to hold the cord in place, although this is optional.

  2. Make the Pattern Piece

    How to Make the Paper Pattern for an Iroing Board Cover.
    The Spruce / Debbie Colgrove

    Lay the ironing board face down on the pattern material and trace the outline of the edge of the ironing board.

    Measure the thickness of the ironing board. Add 2" (or more if you want the cover to wrap further around the ironing board bottom) to the thickness measurement. This measurement will now be added to all edges of the traced outline.

    Using a ruler, mark at close intervals, the measurement calculated in the above step.

    Join these markings to create the edge of the pattern.

    Fold the pattern in half from both directions, matching the opposite edges, to create the grain lines that you will need to layout the pattern. Use a ruler or yardstick to draw the fold lines and keep the lines straight. A cover that is not cut out on a straight grain will want to twist out of place on the ironing board.

    Cut out the pattern piece.

  3. Lay out and Cut Out

    A Photograph of Laying out the Free Iroing Board Cover Paper Pattern Piece
    The Spruce / Debbie Colgrove

    Iron your fabric and utility fabric, pressing out any fold lines.

    Lay the fabric out, in a single layer, on a flat surface.

    Place the pattern pieces down so you will be keeping either grainline parallel to the fabric selvage.

    Measure the distance of the grainline from the selvage for the length of the line to be sure it is an even distance the entire length of the line on the pattern piece.

    Pin the pattern piece in place, keeping the pattern piece smooth.

    Cut out the fabric, cutting along the edge of the pattern piece.

    Repeat for the other fabric layer.

  4. Start Sewing

    Prepare the Edge of the Fabric and Start Sewing the Ironing Board Cover
    The Spruce / Debbie Colgrove

    Place both pieces of fabric on top of each other with the right side on top, keeping the layers smooth and aligning the edges.

    Zigzag stitch on the edge of the fabrics to join the two layers together. They will be worked as one through the rest of the directions.

    Sew a line of straight basting stitching, a half-inch in from the edge.

    Press the edge under, using the stitching line as a guide. (Pressing with a pressing bar first can prevent burned fingers.)

    Press under again, the same amount, to enclose the zigzagged edge of the fabric. Use the basting stitches to ease in extra fullness, and prevent as many tucks as possible.

  5. Sew Buttonholes for the Drawstring

    A Photo of Sewn Buttonholes Placed for Sewing the Free Ironing Board Cover Pattern
    The Spruce / Debbie Colgrove

    Sewing a buttonhole doesn't translate to "panic." Use your sewing machine manual to guide you through sewing a buttonhole and practice on scrap fabric before sewing a buttonhole on your project at hand.

    These buttonholes will be used for the drawstring that holds the ironing board cover in place.

    Find the center of the short back edge of the ironing board cover.

    Sew two, scant 1/2", long buttonholes in the inner folded edge as shown in the photo, placing them 1/2" from the center or an inch apart.

    Open the buttonholes.

  6. Sew the Casing

    A Photo Example of a Sewn Casing for an Ironing Board Cover
    The Spruce / Debbie Colgrove

    Be sure to ease in as much fullness as possible, to prevent tuck, before sewing the casing in place.

    Re-press the entire edge and pin in place.

    Sew the casing by sewing as close to the inner folded edge as possible. Using a guide on your sewing machine foot and watching the guide rather than watching your sewing machine needle and watching the guide will help you sew straight and stay on the edge of the fold. 

    Sew over the first few stitches when you have come around the cover.

    Knot the end of the cord.

    Place a safety pin that will fit through the casing into the knot and secure the safety pin.

    Use the safety pin to guide the cord in a buttonhole and through the casing out the other buttonhole.

  7. Add the Padding

    Ironing Board Cover Padding and Replacing the Padding
    The Spruce / Debbie Colgrove

    If you are replacing the entire padding, use the existing padding as a guide.

    Supplement the previous padding by laying the ironing board face down on the one or two layers of cotton batting and tracing the edge of the ironing board.

    Cut out the batting and place it centered with the previous batting.

  8. Place It on the Ironing Board

    Placing the Ironing Board Cover That Was Made With This Free Pattern, on the Ironing Board
    The Spruce / Debbie Colgrove

    Place the ironing board cover, with the padding in place, face down, on a flat surface.

    Place the padding as centered as possible, so there is an even distance on all edges of the ironing board cover.

    Place the ironing board face down on the batting, center on the cover.

    Pull the drawstring to snug the ironing board cover.

    Use a toggle or tie the cord to hold the cover snugly in place.