Saturday, July 30, 2022

A New Ironing Surface

I don't have a lot of time to blog during the school year, but this summer hasn't been much better. We have been on the go since before school let out. Before school starts (in 3 days) I want to get a few posts done. This first one is my new ironing surface. As you can see from the photo, my old one was in sad, sad shape. Somehow, with my daughter, all three of the older grandkids, and myself using it, it disintegrated quickly.
The ironing surface itself is simply a $10 TV tray from Walmart. I came across this idea when a woman in my quilt guild brought it to a meeting one time. Genius! My full-size ironing board takes up way too much room. The TV tray sits right by the machine and allows me to press blocks - and even full size quilts - without getting up and walking across the room Floor space is at a premium in my sewing room, and this is perfect. I don't think I've had the full-size ironing board out of the closet in at least 3 years.
Since I made this cover several years ago, I thought it would be a good idea to "reverse engineer" the one I have, and then keep a record on the blog for next time. The top is ironing board fabric from Joann's. It's sold by the yard. I actually needed a piece about 22" x 18", so a half yard would do fine. Ironing board fabric has a heat protectant filler, but I added insulbrite the first time I made my ironing board. The ironing surface seemed a bit too "squishy" to get a really crisp press, so I left it out the second time I made a cover. I often use sheets as the backs of quilts, particularly when I can find them on sale. If I buy a sheet set, it means that I frequently have the pillow cases left over. Half of a pillowcase was perfect for the lining.
You will also need about 1-1/2 yards of 1/4" elastic. I considered reusing the elastic from the previous cover, but it was pretty stretched out, and since I have most of a bolt left from the 2020 mask-making frenzy, I decided to use new elastic.
Finally, you will need a package of bias tape, or about 2 yards of bias binding. I used to have dozens of packages of bias tape, but I used them for masks, so instead I repurposed some left over bias quilt binding I had made and not used.
To begin, I removed the old elastic from the cover and laid the cover flat on a new piece of ironing board fabric. I used the old cover to cut a rectangle.
I removed the seams from the pillowcase with scissors, and cut a rectangle the same size as the ironing board fabric. If you want a "pretty" fabric cover, this is the time to cut that as well. I chose not to do that because I find that the pretty fabric becomes a scorched mess much quicker than the ironing board fabric, and I don't want to have to change it more often than I do. If you like a decorative cover, you might make a separate cover with an elastic edge using just the decor fabric that could be changed out whenever it gets nasty. It might actually serve to protect the ironing board fabric and keep it looking nice longer.
Stack the layers together with the ironing board fabric on top. I used a cup to cut curves on the corners.
Using the cup as a guide, I just used my rotary cutter to cut the curves. (A new blade would be a good idea here.) Naturally, you could also mark the curves and cut with scissors.
Pin all the layers of your cover in place and using your machine's widest zigzag stitch, zigzag around the outer edge of the cover to hold all the layers in place.
Fold over the short end of the bias tape about 1/2" and press. This will give your binding a nice, clean finish.
Next, fold the long edges of the bias tape to the middle and press again. Beginning on one short edge of the lining side of the cover, open the binding and stitch along the fold line. This edge takes some stress when you thread the elastic, so be sure to back stitch at the beginning of this seam. Although commercially purchased bias tape is made to be sewn all at once, because of the thickness of the ironing board cover, I spend less time "fixing" mistakes if I make this a two-step process.
When you come to the point where you began, add about 1/2" to 3/4" of an inch and cut the bias tape.
Fold the edge in until the two pieces just meet. This will be the opening for your elastic casing. It makes the elastic accessible if you wish to loosen or tighten it later. Over the years, mine has needed few adjustments, but it is nice to have the elastic accessible. Again, since this edge gets some stress from the insertion of the elastic, be sure to back stitch at the end of the seam.
This seam is very thick. Clip the curves so your seam will lay nice and flat. Be sure NOT to clip the stitching.
Fold the bias tape to the front side and stitch it down just as you did on the back. Be sure the opening for the elastic casing is clear of stitching.
Insert the elastic through the casing using your favorite method. I used a large safety pin that I could feel easily through the fabric. The stretched-out elastic I removed from the old cover measured approximately 45". When I threaded the new elastic, I threaded it through the casing and pulled it tight and did not measure the actual length of the elastic I used.
Be sure you tie a knot at the end of the elastic before you begin threading it through the casing. When you get all the way around, remove the pin and tie a knot in the other end. This will prevent the elastic from pulling through as you work with it.
I put the cover silver side down on my table top, and placed the TV tray on top of the lining. I pulled the elastic tight around the TV tray until it was snugged down onto the surface. Then, I tied a bow in the elastic to hold it tight.
Voila! A brand spanking new cover for my ironing board.
It felt kind of good to throw the old one in the trash. ;)

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