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Moda's Half Moon Modern Sewing Room: Ironing Board Cover

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Did you know the modern ironing board was invented and patented by African American former slave, Sarah Boone in 1892? It's true. Although hers was not the first ironing board on the scene, it was completely unique in its narrow, contoured design, which allowed sleeves to be drawn up over the board. We'd like to think Ms. Boone would be pleased with our cheery Half Moon Modern ironing board cover. Just about all sewing projects require a fair amount of time spent staring at your ironing board. Why force yourself to look at those gawd-awful striped covers they sell at the local Target®... I swear those things must have been designed by someone with his eyes closed and both hands tied behind his back! You deserve a pretty cover. And, the bright colors and clean geometric lines of Moda's Half Moon Modern are absolutely perfect. The design is clean and energizing, yet the motif and colors we selected are subtle enough to provide a neutral background for all your ironing tasks.

Bear in mind our cover is meant to do just that ... cover up a worn-out ironing board pad. You can't put it right over the metal of the ironing board. You still need the padding and the heat resistant fabric of an actual pad.

Our thanks to Moda for sponsoring this Sewing Room Series and allowing Sew4Home to be one of the first to debut the great Half Moon Modern collection. Over the next few weeks, in addition to Monday's curtains and today's ironing board cover, we'll bring you: sewing machine and serger covers, an ironing board caddy, a task basket, pinboard, and a sewing and craft apron with pockets a'plenty. In addition, Moda has put together a stunning Half Moon Modern Great Giveaway and have sponsored a free downloadable Sewing Reference Guide.

These are the perfect projects to spruce up your own sewing room, and would make wonderful gifts for all the sewers and crafters on your holiday lists.

Visit Moda's Cutting Table Blog and their Facebook page today through December 6th to take advantage of " The 12 Moda Days of Christmas ." Each day, you can enter to win a great prize and at the end of the contest, be entered to win the big AccuQuilt GO! Baby die-cutter prize package. Check out their blog for all the details.

Half Moon Modern arrives in stores and online this month.

Sewing Tools You Need

Fabric and Other Supplies

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  • 1⅔ yards of 44-45" wide fabric for the main body of the cover: we used Half Moon Modern by Moda Fabrics in Ovals Aqua
    NOTE: You could probably get about with 1½ yards, but sometimes a fabric's print is not 100% straight; having a bit of extra fabric will allow you to shift the pattern around on the fabric to get the straightest cut.
  • ¼ yard of 44-45" wide fabric for the end accent strip: we used Half Moon Modern by Moda Fabrics in Scissors Red
  • 5 yards of ½" ribbon to gather bottom edge: we used a simple turquoise grosgrain
  • All purpose thread to match fabrics
  • See-through ruler
  • Fabric pen or pencil
  • Iron and ironing board
  • Scissors or rotary cutter and mat
  • Two large safety pins
  • Seam gauge
  • Straight pins

Getting Started

  1. First, measure the depth of the ironing board lip. Ours was 1-5/16" deep. Write down your measurement.
  2. Next, make a flat pattern of the TOP of your ironing board. The easiest way to do this is to remove your old pad so your are working with the plain metal top of the ironing board. Lay it upside down onto a thin piece of fabric or a lightweight paper. You want something you can see through so later you can easily fussy cut your final fabric. Trace around outer edge of ironing board.
  3. Cut out the shape along the traced line. Your pattern should be actual size and will look something like this:
  4. Now you need to figure out how much to add to your pattern in order to allow it to wrap around and under the ironing board, as well as to have enough for a casing for your ribbon.
  5. Start with the depth of your ironing board's lip (remember, ours was 1- 5/16" deep), add 1½ to make a casing, plus another 2½" to allow the cover to wrap under the board and give you a nice snug fit across the top. In our sample, these three figures add up to 5¼". We rounded up to 5½" just to be safe.
  6. You need to add this 5½" all the way around the outside edge of the pattern. To do this, use your see-through ruler or a seam gauge along with a fabric pen or pencil.
  7. We find it's best to work from the right side of the fabric to make sure you are keeping everything nice and straight. Place the pattern onto your main fabric. Adjust as needed so it lines up with any directional motifs on your fabric. This is particularly important if you used any kind of stripe, as we did with our Half Moon Modern Ovals Aqua .
  8. Measure and mark 5½" in small segments all around the patten piece, making little dots.
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  9. When you're done, connect the dots to give yourself a cutting line to follow.
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Accent stripe

  1. Our accent stripe in the Half Moon Modern Scissors Red needed to be fussy cut so one full row of scissors would show along the ironing board's end. We measured the width of one row of scissors; it was 1½". We drew a straight line across the end of the paper pattern at 1½" from the paper's edge. Use this same technique to determine the width for your fabric's motif.
  2. Slide the bottom raw edge of the accent fabric into place, right side up on top of the main fabric (which is also still right side up). The raw edge of the fabric should be ½" beyond the drawn line on the paper pattern (that's for your seam allowance). Pin the paper pattern in place.
  3. Using the same method as you did for the main body of the cover, measure and mark 5½" around just the end of the pattern onto the accent fabric. Connect the dots to create the curve of the accent fabric. Cut along this drawn line.
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  4. Lift up the paper pattern and place the edge of the see-through ruler exactly flush with the raw edge of the accent fabric's straight edge. Hold on to the ruler and slide out the accent fabric out from from underneath, leaving just the ruler on top of the main fabric. Measure and mark ½" beyond the ruler's edge to the left (toward what will be the square end of the ironing board cover). Draw a horizontal line. This is the cut line for the main fabric; we added ½" for the seam allowance of the horizontal seam that attaches the main fabric to the accent strip.
  5. Cut out the rest of the main fabric shape along the drawn line.

At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board

  1. Pin the accent panel to the main panel along the long straight end. Keep right sides together and match up your raw edges.
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  2. Stitch together, using a ½" seam allowance. Press the seam allowance towards the accent stripe.
  3. Flip the accent piece into place so it is right side up.
  4. Thread your machine with thread to match the accent strip.
  5. Topstitch approximately ¼" from the seam within the accent strip.
    NOTE: We like to increase stitch length (we went from 2.4 to 3.0) for topstitching. It looks a little nicer to have the longer stitch length, and since the topstitching isn't holding anything together (it just looks pretty and helps the cover stay flat), you don't need a super tight stitch length.
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  1. Finish the entire perimeter of the ironing board cover with a serger or a finishing stitch on your sewing machine. We used a serger. For more on machine finishing, read our tutorial: Finishing Raw Seams: Part 1 - Sewing Machine Finishes.
  2. Turn the outside edge under ½" all the way around and press.
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  3. Turn under another 1" all the way around and press again.
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  4. As you fold around the side angles and the top rounded point, you'll need to ease the fabric to create a proper curve, which means your fabric casing will have tiny folds in it as it makes the turns. This is what it is supposed to do. Press well and pin well to keep these small folds in place.
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  5. Leave a 2" opening un-pinned at the center of the square end - the flat end of the accent strip.
  6. Stitch all the way around, approximately ¼" from the inside folded edge to create the casing. Remember to leave that 2" opening at the center square end.
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    NOTE: As you can see in the photos above and below, we took the time to change out the thread color in our machine from one fabric to the next. We started with aqua thread in the top and bottom and stitched all around the main body of the cover, then we switched to red in the top and bottom to stitch around the accent stripe of the end, locking our stitch on either end of the 2" opening.
  7. Press well all around.
  8. Place a large safety pin on one end of your ribbon or cording. Feed this end through the casing.
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    NOTE: It's a good idea to put another large safety pin on the opposite end of the ribbon so you don't accidentally pull it through.
  9. Push the safety pin through the casing, gathering as you go.
  10. Once you've fed the ribbon/cording all the way through and out the opposite end, adjust the gathers to fit the cover on your ironing board. Pull the ends of the ribbon to draw the cover taut, and tie a simple knot or bow.
    NOTE: We recommend leaving the large safety pins on the ends of the ribbon until you are all done with your adjustments and have tied your final knot or bow. It's a real pain to have the ribbon disappear into the casing and try to wiggle it out again.
  11. You can finish the ends of your ribbon with a tiny hem or simply cut the ends and apply a seam sealant.
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Project Design: Alicia Thommas
Sample Creation: Debbie Guild

Other machines suitable for this project include the Singer 3323S Talent and the Baby Lock Elizabeth.



Comments (37)

rjrnshan said:
rjrnshan's picture

I just made my own beautiful ironing board cover using your wonderful tutorial.  I'm still somewhat of a beginner , and I thought it was a short and simple sewing project.  Plus, we are redoing our laundry/mud room and it looks great!!  Soo much better than my old, gross one!   

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture

@ rjrnshan - That's great news! So glad we could we could help. I hope you'll come back often for more inspiration.

daph24ne said:
daph24ne's picture

Hi!  Love all your sewing tutorials - have made so many of your projects, and they've all turned out really great.  I plan on making this little cover.  I did have a question.  Often, I've found that the ironing board covers you buy have a little bit of batting sewn into them.  My ironing board is probably circa 1965 or earlier (it belonged to a grandparent), so it's all metal.  I was just wondering if anyone has added batting to their cover?  If so, how did you do it?  I'm thinking of maybe making some type of removable batting pad (so I can wash the cover without having to worry about the batting bunching up in the wash), but that seems like a lot of work.  How necessary is batting to ironing board covers anyway?  Any thoughts?

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture

@daph24ne - What I think is easier, and is actually what I do, is to buy a plain, white (inexpensive) ironing board cover that is padded. I used this for my base. Put it on, and then do your measurements with the padded cover in place. Your new pretty one then becomes an overlay. It doesn't shift because it is surely tied in place. It is best to have the metal board covered with some sort of padding.

daph24ne said:
daph24ne's picture

Thanks - that's a great insight!  I will do that.   Thanks for the help!

Happy in Red said:
Happy in Red's picture
Fabulous tuto! My ironingboard desperately needs a new cover... I had an iron on-fusable interfacing accident, uh oh!! ;-)
MathTeacherQuilter said:
MathTeacherQuilter's picture
Just finished my cover and it looks great! Thanks for the tutorial smilies/smiley.gif. One thing that I adjusted slightly from yours though was sewing the raw edges of the two fabrics together and top stitching them BEFORE cutting. This made it easier to figure out where I wanted the joined edge to end up on the final product and less "fussy" cutting needed! Thanks again!
Janna Hatch said:
Janna Hatch's picture
Love your Half-Moon color palette and designs. A sewing room like this would make me sooo happy!
javadiva said:
javadiva's picture
I'm really excited to make my own personalized iron board cover!! I laughed at your hate for the Target striped ones!! So funny.
vickit said:
vickit's picture
Beautiful project. I just love this fabric. It's such a pretty color of red and the other fabrics in this line are awesome. Great tutorial as well. Thank you.
Kellie @ My So Called Green Life said:
Kellie @ My So Called Green Life's picture
Thanks for the great tutorial. I've been needing / wanting to make a new cover for some time now. Looks easy enough!
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture
@ Jill B - Half Moon Modern is a quilting weight collection
Jill B said:
Jill B's picture
Love the fabric and tutorial. Is the fabric a home dec weight or just regular quilting fabric?
AnnieOrts said:
AnnieOrts's picture
Wonderful fabrics on this delightful ironing board cover. Mine is a scorched disaster at present smilies/shocked.gif
winterwrens said:
winterwrens's picture
I've been wanting to make a new ironing board cover for a long time. Thanks for doing the brain-work for me! said:'s picture
Thanks for the tutorial, I was just looking at my ironing board cover and thinking...boy I need to fix this up!
Beth D said:
Beth D's picture
I need a new cover and have been looking at my yucky one trying to figure out what to do. Well, Moda to the rescue. Now all I need is the cute fabric. Thank you.
crescentcity said:
crescentcity's picture
Thanks for the instructions and the HISTORY!!!....This is what you would never hear in your history bookssmilies/wink.gif
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture
@ Brenda 1652 -- we always recommend pre-washing your fabric, but I don't always list is as a bulleted point in the steps. It's a good reminder, especially when working with vibrant colors, like this pretty red. smilies/wink.gif
bairdmtn said:
bairdmtn's picture
Thank you so much for sharing!!!! Love the colors!! I have a sleeve board I use in my craft room to press quilt pieces and it needs a new cover!!!
Sharrieboberry said:
Sharrieboberry's picture
It looks fabulous and doable! Thanks for the instructions!smilies/smiley.gif
tairyland said:
tairyland's picture
I, too, was thinking that I would need a pocket for my little mini iron and starch bottle. How much batting do all of you think is good?
eileensideways said:
eileensideways's picture
can someone make it for me in these fabrics. i will pay ya
Connie Riley said:
Connie Riley's picture
Love this idea and I especially love the fabric. This is going on my to-do list for sure!
Connie Riley said:
Connie Riley's picture
Love this idea and the fabrics too! I will put this on my to-do list for sure! Thank you!
BethG28 said:
BethG28's picture
Love the Half Moon Modern. This looks like a project for me!! Seems very clear how to make it and it would sure make ironing more enjoyable. smilies/wink.gif
Caroline in Missouri said:
Caroline in Missouri's picture
Thank you for this posting. I never thought about making my own ironing board cover. What a great idea.
gmitchel said:
gmitchel's picture
Love it! One thing I would add is some pockets (at the cheery cherry red end) to hold starch, water spritzer, scissors etc. These items always accumulate on the cheery cherry end where I rest the iron - eating up space - when I am pressing larger items or yardage prior to cutting. And so, ANOTHER item for my "To Do" list! smilies/cheesy.gif
Hovis1971 said:
Hovis1971's picture
I definitely need a new ironing board cover! Thanks for the tutsmilies/smiley.gif
Brenda 1652 said:
Brenda 1652's picture
I love these fabrics and handy pattern. One concern: before using any fabric with a red dye I would prewash it first, probably two washes anyway.. I would hate to ruin an expensive piece of fabric if the red bled at all when using steam to press.
LIssa said:
LIssa's picture
I certainly can use a new ironing board cover and this may have to be the one! Thanks for the inspiration.