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Wednesday, March 16, 2011

CopyCat Sewing Machine Cover

After doing a little organizing in my craft space last week, I decided it was time to make a cover for my sewing machine.  I've had it out of the carry bag and set up for work since....early January?  I use it almost daily now, so I don't bother packing it up into the zipper bag anymore.  Now I have a sewing table set up and the machine has a more permanent home there.  Time to cover that baby up and protect it from dust!

I saw this sewing machine cover at Bloom and Blossom and fell.  in.  love.  I was drooling over the beautiful details!
I dug around in my fabric cupboard and bags of scrap pieces and came up with enough to make a copycat version of this deliciousness.  I will share the size of the pieces, but be aware that I was going without a pattern.  I studied various other tutorials for sewing machine covers and went off their finished dimensions, but in the end I needed to make some adjustments to fit my own sewing machine better.  This is how I started out though.

A light blue chambray-type fabric for the main pieces...
and an array of red, blue, and yellow scraps to make the patchwork part.  My inspiration piece was the vintage-looking huge paisley with the red background.  I found all the other fabrics for this project to go with that particular scrap.  
All pieces cut.  I started sewing with the patchwork section.  I arranged the strips in the order I wanted and then started by sewing the first two, right sides together, at 1/4".  I had several sets of strips, so I ran them through assembly style, not clipping the threads yet.  Like sausage links...
Then, one at a time, I opened them up and sewed on the next in line.  Keep on going this way, adding one strip at a time.  It will get wider and wider.
 Now trim them apart.
Then you sew these sections together, end to end, to make a long strip.  And iron it nice and flat on all the seams, pressing the edges on the backside toward the darker fabric so they don't show through the front.  I had planned on having these horizontal strips as my patchwork piece on the front and top.
But I couldn't get past how great the rows of little squares were in the original, so I changed my mind.  To change this length of strips into squares, I used my rotary cutter to trim it into 2" strips lengthwise.  And then before you start sewing them together, make sure you flip every other strip so that the fabrics on the ends are opposite.
The trickiest part about this is making sure, when you are sewing these together, that all the seams match up.  That way when it is done and pressed flat, you'll have pretty corners where all the squares are meeting up with each other.  I sewed slowly and kept checking how things matched up.  A few times I had to try to stretch it a tad.  Add one row at a time and you'll have a patchworked strip when you're done!

So this is the section for the front and top, and I just trimmed it to size like any other solid piece of fabric and sewed it into the front/top sections like so...
**A note here - by the time this thing was finished, I had taken this from four rows of squares down to three.  However, I then had to slit the side pieces and insert a triangle to make the base wide enough.  First it was too big, and then it was too small.  An enigma.  And a hassle.  So I don't know...maybe just keep these proportions, or if you prefer the row of three, then add enough to that solid left side front piece to make up for it.  
I pieced the front and top sections together, then sewed on the back and sides.  The corners were tricky.  I think maybe making the side pieces have a curve at the top would have been easier.

Then to the details!  I added a red grosgrain ribbon down the left side of the patchworked section.  And cut some fabric circles out of my scraps and leftover patchworked pieces to make a fabric flower.

As a template for the stitched word, I chose a script font on my word processor and made it large.  Then I "selected" it so that it was in a black box.
Then I slipped my sewing machine cover over the top of my laptop screen and traced the word lightly onto the fabric.  This probably isn't how the pros do it, but it worked for me.  I used a ball point pen so I could press as lightly as possible and still have it show hindsight, a pen is maybe not a good choice, because some of the lines were hard to get covered up with stitching.  But, you don't want to have to push hard while tracing, because, well, you shouldn't be using your laptop screen as a writing surface, right?  Ha!
 I didn't have any red embroidery thread, so instead of hand stitching these letters, I used the machine.  Let's just say - it's much harder to control that way!  But it can be done.  If you are slooooow and careful, and pivot your needle 4,572,983 times in the process ; )

To make the fabric flower, I folded all the circle layers in half together and sewed a few stitches through the backside. Then folded it in half the other direction and did the same.  Then sewed it onto the cover with a button in the center (you can see my finished machine stitched word in this pic, too, with a big loopy tail coming off the end).
I added a few more buttons later, that you'll see in the finished pics.  But now I'm moving on to the lining.  I had this piece of bright yellow, vinyl tablecloth material.  Plastic-y on top, fuzzy on the bottom.  The size, color, and weight of this mysterious fabric scrap was absolutely perfect for the lining of my sewing machine cover!
I cut pieces to match the size of front/back, sides and top.
I sewed this together and tried it out with my cover.  This is when I started getting just a tad edgy with any small person who dared approach my work area with requests for juice.  It didn't fit right.  I don't know why.  I had to slit and insert triangles into the sides of both the lining and cover.  It worked out that I could use the trimmed-out section of patchwork (because I had previously been under the impression that the machine was swimming in the cover, and narrowed the patchwork down to three rows instead of four, as mentioned above).  Well now I had to make the thing bigger again.  I don't know exactly what went on here, but that's what I had to do.  After much trial and error, sewing, taking out, restitching, nearly having smoke come out my ears, I managed to get it right.  Is this thing done yet??

To sew the lining on, I slipped the lining inside the cover, right sides together, and pinned around the edge.
Sew around this, but mark a place with pins to leave open.  Maybe three inches?  You will have to turn the whole thing right side out through this hole.  Then it will look like this, lining and cover attached at the bottom edges.
Then you push the lining up inside the cover, and fuss with it till it's nice and straight and fitting together well.  Then topstitch around the bottom edge, folding under and sewing the open part shut.  *phew*  That.  is it.  And good golly I'm glad it's done!
 The sides have a triangle strip of patchwork, too (not in the plan).  And it wraps from the front up over the top of the machine.
 I think I need to switch the placement of the buttons and flower so that the flower is on top, with two buttons in a row underneath.  It's bugging me.  Other than that, I'm pleased with how it came out.  And it's a great addition to my newly set up craft space in the front room : )  I added a lamp from the basement so I could see better (moved the clipboard over).  And I restacked the big books on the bottom shelf under my bins so they didn't look so messy.  And I stole my son's garbage can and swivel chair shh!
 I feel like I have a great space to work now!
Wonder Woman came to visit.  She was feeling a little underappreciated in the bin of Lincoln Logs, even though Batman was there to keep her company.  She looks a little mad....but maybe that's just determination.  I think she'll be happier at my sewing table ; )

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