Welcome to our latest series with Moda Fabrics, celebrating the new Simply Color collection by Vanessa Christenson. I was excited to get to meet Vanessa at Spring Quilt Market in Kansas City, and talk with her about our plans for this series. Even though she was getting over a bad head cold, she was just delightful. I would caption her photo, "Bundle o' Creative Energy." As the doting mama to four little darlings, Vanessa somehow also finds time to be a designer, author, quilter, sewer... oh for goodness sakes, let's just say: doer of many things. One of Vanessa's passions is organizing. She admits she doesn't always win the clutter war, but she loves to do battle. So, we decided our Simply Color series would have an organizational theme. We kick off two weeks of colorful inspiration today with our easy Garment Covers. These are a great way to keep clothes clean and dust-free in your closet. Many folks leave dry cleaning bags on garments, but watch out... these plastic bags can cause fabrics to yellow and many emit unhealthy chemical fumes. Plus, they've long been known to be a hazard to children and pets. Our covers are reusable and washable. They finish at approximately 32", but you could certainly extend or shorten the length of the skirt to best match the items in your wardrobe.
We made two matching garment covers in different colorways. The colors you choose can simply be your favorites or they can have an organizational component in and of themselves. Use color coding to indicate what's inside (slacks, blouses, skirts, etc), or each color could belong to a certain person in a shared closet. They'd also make a great gift for weddings or the holidays (which are just around the corner!).
We loved working with Simply Color (and Vanessa Christenson) and think you will too. This Moda Fabrics collection is due to hit your favorite online and brick and mortar locations in October, but you may be able to find some of the pre-cut bundles out there already.
Make sure you come back each day for more project ideas, great technique tutorials, a Guest Article from Vanessa, and a Great Giveaway from Moda.
Sewing Tools You Need
Any Sewing Machine (we recommend the Janome New Home 2030DC)
Fabric and Other Supplies
Ingredients and instructions shown below are for ONE garment cover
- ¾ yard of 44-45" wide cotton fabric for the shoulders of the garment bag; we used Simply Color Metro Leafy Stripe in Aquatic Blue (Moda #10805-19) and Metro Leafy Stripe in Lime Green (Moda #10805-18) by Vanessa Christenson for Moda Fabrics
- ¾ yard of 44-45" wide cotton fabric for the skirt of the garment bag; we used Simply Color Metro Dots Double Border in White & Aquatic Blue (Moda #10802-19) and Metro Dots Double Border in White & Lime Green (Moda #10802-18) by Vanessa Christenson for Moda Fabrics
- ¾ yard of 44-45" wide coordinating solid fabric for the lining; we used Bella Solids by Moda in Off White
- 2 yards of ⅝" coordinating ribbon; we used a satin ribbon in lime green
- All purpose thread to match fabric and ribbon
- See-through ruler
- Fabric pen or pencil
- Iron and ironing board
- Scissors or rotary cutter and mat
- Tape measure
- Seam gauge
- Seam ripper
- Straight pins
- Hand sewing needle
- Download and print the four pattern pieces: Garment Cover Piece 1, Garment Cover Piece 2, Garment Cover Piece 3, Garment Cover Piece 4.
IMPORTANT: This pattern consists of FOUR 8½" x 11" sheets. You must print the PDF files at 100%. DO NOT SCALE to fit the page.
- Cut out each of the pattern pieces along the solid lines.
- Butt together the pattern pieces as shown on the templates to make one pattern piece. Do NOT overlap. Tape in place. This creates one half of the pattern, which is designed to be cut on the fold of the fabric.
NOTE: If it is easier for you or if you have chosen a design that requires very precise fussy cutting, you can print out, cut and assemble a second set of pieces in order to create one full pattern.
- Using your pattern, cut TWO pieces from the shoulder fabric (Simply Color Leafy Stripe in Aquatic Blue and Lime Green in our samples) and TWO pieces from the lining fabric (Bella Off White in our samples).
- On all the pieces, snip into the seam allowance, through all the layers, at the dots shown on the pattern: both sides of the center fold on each piece.
- From the skirt fabric (Simply Color Metro Dots Double Border in Aquatic Blue and Lime Green in our samples), cut the fabric length from 27" (your ¾ yard) down to 23".
- Fold this cut piece in half lengthwise, in our case, this meant border to border.
- Using a ruler and rotary cutter, trim off the fold to create two individual pieces. Trim just a tiny bit, about ⅛".
At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board
Create the shoulder unit
- Press all your cut pieces so they are nice and flat.
- Place the two lining pieces right sides together.
- Place the two exterior pieces right sides together.
- Pin both sets in place around the curve only; leave the bottoms open.
- Using the little snips you made above as your guide, mark the opening at the top of the curve for the hanger on both sets.
- Using a ½" seam allowance, stitch the exterior set and the lining set. Remember to lock your seam on either side of the opening for the hanger.
- Clip the curves, being careful to not cut through your seam. If you are new to this technique, clipping a curved seam allows it to stretch slightly so when you turn the piece right side out you have a smooth curve. Check out our tutorials for more tips about working with curves and corners.
- Press the seam open. At the hanger opening, press under the raw edges so they are flush with the sewn seam.
- With the exterior right side out and the lining wrong side out, insert the lining into the exterior. The two pieces are now wrong sides together. Line up the side seams and the hanger openings. Aligning these two openings is especially important. Re-press one or both if need be to make sure the folded edges match up nicely.
- Topstitch the exterior and lining together through all the layers, staying as close to the fold as possible, along both sides of the opening. Then stitch forward and backward across each end of the opening to secure it, about three to four stitches should be enough. It's like you are making a big buttonhole.
- Set the shoulder unit aside.
Create the skirt unit
- Find the two skirt panels.
- Pin them right sides together along both sides (the 23" sides).
- Using a ½" seam allowance, stitch both sides together. Press the seams open.
- Along the bottom edge, make a ½" double turn hem. Do do this, fold up the raw edge ½" and press. Fold up an additional ½" and press again, encasing the raw edge in the fold. On our sample we folded up the selvedge first, which was slightly less than ½" and then folded an additional ½".
NOTE: If you are new to hemming, we have a step-by-step tutorial.
- Stitch in place close to the inside fold.
Attach the skirt to the shoulders
- Unfold the shoulder unit so you are working with just the exterior layer.
- Slip the shoulder unit inside the skirt unit so the two pieces are right sides together. Align the upper edge of the skirt with the lower edge of the shoulder exterior layer. Pin in place, matching the side seams.
- Stitch in place all around, using a ½" seam allowance.
- Press the seam allowance together and up toward the shoulder unit.
- Fold the lining back into place.
- Fold under the lower raw edge of the lining ½" and press in place.
- Pin the lining over the seam, matching side seams.
- Hand baste the lining in place and remove the pins.
NOTE:This is one of the occasions when hand basting is the easiest way to go. It ensures the lining will stay smoothly in place covering the seam when you stitch the final ribbon in place.
- Turn the garment bag right side out and press.
- On the right side of the garment bag, pin the accent ribbon in place all the way around the bag with the edge of the ribbon just covering the seam. Start and stop at a side seam.
- To finish, simply turn under each end and butt the folded ends together at the seam line.
- Edge stitch in place along each side of the ribbon. Remove the hand basting stitches.
- Make a 4" bow with the leftover ribbon and hand stitch it in place at the center front of the ribbon. You could also use a small safety pin to attach the bow.
Project Design: Alicia Thommas
Sample Creation and Instructional Outline: Michele Mishler