Tuesday, July 29, 2008


I have been noticing that several sewing bloggers have been making new covers for their ironing boards. I have had my board for twenty years and had always bought covers for it, but lately I wanted something prettier than the ready-made ones. Since I had bought fabric last year specifically for a cover, I thought now was a good time to make a new one since I couldn't stand looking at the old one.

I first marked the edged of the surface on the old cover while still on the ironing board. This was so I could make my pattern from it. I then took the cover off the board and cut along the marked line. This line was only to indicate the shape of the board and not take any other dimensions into account.

I then made a pattern by first marking the center of the cover on a long piece of paper, and placed the old cut cover folded in half on the paper along the center line. I then marked reference lines along the edge of the cover to get the board shape on half the paper, removed the cover and then marked the surface lines and added 2.5 inches all around the pattern for lapping over the edge of the board. Then I folded the paper in half along the center line (which is also the grainline) and cut my pattern.

Since I was using a stripe for the new cover, it was easy to line up the center grainline with a stripe. I used 1 1/2 yards of fabric for the cover. Since the fabric was 54" wide, I have enough for another cover.

My board also needed new padding. I had some very old wool blankets which I have been saving and had hoped to use to make a large pressing surface. Since such a surface is not in my near future, I placed one of the blankets over my ironing board, marked the surface with a water soluble marking pen and cut around it leaving about 1 1/2 inches to cover over the edges of the board. I still have one whole blanket left plus half of the one I used, so someday a larger pressing surface will happen.

I had purchased two packages of double fold bias tape to finish the edges of the cover. Since one edge of the tape is wider than the other, I placed the wider edge underneath the cover fabric edge and the smaller edge on top and sewed in place using my top-stitching foot.

Past covers have had a tendency to move and one side the finished edge of the cover ended up at the edge of the board and not underneath the board where it belonged. I decided to add a couple ties to hold the cover in place underneath the board. I used the leftover bias tape, sewing the tape closed, cut four ties from it and attached them to the cover at the point just after where the curve of the narrower end of board ended and again about 10 inches from the square end of the board.

I marked the points where I wanted the ties, sewed them down, the folded them over and sewed them again, covering the unfinished edge and securing them in place.

I then took a bodkin and ran a cord through the casing created by the bias tape around the edge of the cover.
Then I adjusted the cording by tightening it around the board and tied the ties under the board.

Voila! Now I have a new cover and my only regret is that I didn't make one sooner.

By the way, the new SewStylish came today. I do like it and many of the clothes are based on Simplicity 2816. I think the styles are aimed at sewers in their 20's, but there is a lot of good, basic information in this issue. There are loads of ideas and inspiration along with a pull-out section on draping. Amber Eden also stated that this will be the last issue which she is editor, but there will be other issues. I just hope she stays with Threads since there has been so much improvement since she came to the magazine.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

One Pattern, Two Jackets

I am amazed at the people who are constantly sewing and reviewing their latest creations. I barely have time to sew, but envy those that churn out new pieces on a regular basis. Rather than dream about creating new clothes, I decided I just need to do it. One thing that holds me back is the fitting process. Once that is out of the way, things usually move along at a good pace. I guess I'm much more motived once I have a pattern I am comfortable sewing.

Last year I made Burda 8433 for the PR 2007 SWAP in black linen. I really liked the way this jacket looked and sewed up. My present wardrobe needed a casual jacket other than my denim one and this pattern was just what I needed to fill in the gap. This time I added the collar and cuffs which were not included on my jacket last year. In both cases, I left off the front faux pockets since I think the design is busy enough. Since I am not allowing myself to purchase any more fabric for now (we'll see if I stick with this plan) I shopped my stash and came up with a bottom weight cotton in burnt orange. This color is a great contrast to many of my tops and bottoms in my summer wardrobe. I decided to emphasize the top-stitching by using a white thread and adding white buttons from the button stash to give the jacket more of a summer feel. Since I had fitted this jacket last year, the construction time went much faster than if I had never used this pattern. I finished this jacket last week and have already worn it three times. Something tells me that I will be using this pattern again when the right fabric in my stash speaks to me again.