Friday, December 14, 2007

Ironing things out

I don't know if it's my ironing board, or just ironing boards in general, but I just cant seem to get any of the covers to fit right. I keep buying them, and they are either way too small, or they are usable, but big, and I have to scrunch them up under the "nose" of the ironing board and then wrap the excess material in a rubber band to get that all important "tight fit".

About a year, maybe more, ago, my friend Ang gave me a box of old material scraps her mom had left at her house. She knew I took these odd fits of sewing, and thought they might come in handy. Some of it was potentially usable, including a nice huge peice of organze, but frankly, a lot of it was hideously ugly stuff, looking like remnants from projects making kitchen curtains and such in the 70's, with big teapots and flowers and such on them. The only thing I had previously used a piece for was to put under my kitchen stove so it wouldn't rip or scratch the linoleum when it needed pulled out from the counter to get fixed.

When my old "rubber-banded to fit" ironing board cover bit the dust, I was ready to go out and buy a new one, resigning myself to the poorly fitting option. They are cheap after all. Just the cloth to make one would generally cost you more than the already "made in China" products. Then I thought of the "ugly kitchen fabric" that I had resigned to the "i'll probably never use" box in the shed. I drug it out and found the tolerable fabric which you can see in the picture. Besides, it's an ironing board cover, not a peice of clothing or curtains or anything you really need to worry about looks-wise.

I used the foam backing from the old cover, which I had already trimmed down to fit the "nose" of my ironing board better. I would suggest this, as the foam backing practically never dies, and as a form of recycling, it's good for the planet. I'm not the tree hugging sort generally, but really, foam takes a few eternities to break down in a landfill, so if it's not necessary to change it, I can see no reason why you can't reuse it.

But, if your old foam backing just won't do, you can buy 2 or 3 mm thick foam commercially. Find a place in your home with enough floorspace, lay the foam on the floor, turn your ironing board upside down on top of it. Trace around the edges and trim a bit. Easy as that.

The amount of cloth you need is pretty simple, just measure the length of your ironing board and add on about 5 inches (12 cms). Now, you can either make a template for your cloth cover, or just do what I did. Lay your cloth out on the floor, wrong side up, and again flip over your ironing board. Grab a peice of chalk (I'm a huge fan of common colored chalk for marking sewing projects). As my ironing board is about 2 ins. (5 cm) deep, and you have to allow for the seams, I marked the fabric with a little chalk dash every few inches all the way around the board at about 4 inches (10 cms) from the edge, paying special attention to the curvy bits. Then I just whizzed around connecting the dots with my handy dandy La Sarta electric sewing scissors (which works a dream, I hate cutting out).

I did have to purchase some thin elastic. I got 2-1/2 meters of the stuff, which for my ironing board worked out well, with quite a bit left over. Total cost from "The Bridge Agency", or habadashery here in Murray Bridge, was $.75.

I went round the fabric, ironed under about a 1/4 inch, then did the same all over again. Then I sewed down this doubled hem. I took out the elastic, stretching it out as I went, and sewed that over the hem all the way around.

VIOLA!!! My ironing board cover. I know, I know, it's not knitting....but for a change, other things can be fun too. And best of all, it actually FITS!!! When ironing, I'm not constantly trying to straighten out my ironing board cover. For me, that certainly makes it worth the effort.

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