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Skirted Sewing Machine Cover

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In honor of National Sewing Month, maybe you should do something sweet for your trusty sewing machine, like make it a little outfit! Many sewing machines come with a cover; some are hard plastic, some are soft vinyl... none are particularly pretty. Since I believe all my sewing machines have their own personalities, I think they deserve their own personalized covers to keep them protected from dust and sun exposure when not in use. Besides, these hard-working machines make so much stuff for us, the least we can do is make a little something for them! Our sample cover was created for my Janome Memory Craft 5200, a very standard-sized machine. This Janome is my mid-range model and is a real sweetie-pie. She deserved a cover with a kicky bottom ruffle and a bright turquoise ribbon accent. The fabric is the cheery red and white brights of Moda's Half Moon Modern.

My machine measured 16½" wide x 13" high x 8½" deep. As I mentioned above, these are dimensions that are likely to similar for a number of manufacturers and models. I measured my height with the spool pin in place.

Measure your own machine to see if this pattern will be right for you; if not, you can adjust the measurements. The cover is designed to be approximately 1" larger all around than the dimensions of the machine; you don't want a super tight fit. You should be able to simply drop the cover into place over your machine.

Sewing Tools You Need

Fabric and Other Supplies

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Half Moon Modern from Moda Fabrics was introducted at the end of 2011 so it can be hard to find now, although a Google search revealed several options, including a number of prints at Fabric.com

  • 1 yard of 44-45" wide fabric for the main exterior fabric: we used Half Moon Modern by Moda Fabrics in Spots Dots Red
  • ¾ yard of 44-45" wide fabric for the accent ruffle and top strap: we used Half Moon Modern by Moda Fabrics in Scissors Red
  • 1 yard of 44-45" wide solid fabric for the lining: we used Moda Fabrics' 200 count muslin in Warm White
  • 1 yard of medium weight batting; such as Fairfield's Poly-Fil ® Traditional needlepunched polyester quilt batting 
    NOTE: Our cover has a soft structure; if you would prefer a more rigid structure, instead of batting, use a heavyweight fusible interfacing, like Pellon 71F single sided fusible extra-strong stabilizer; this product is only 20" wide, so you would need 1⅓ yards.
  • 1½ yards of ½" ribbon for ruffle accent: we used a simple turquoise grosgrain
  • Scrap or ¼ yard of heavy weight fusible interfacing for the handle; you need one 1½" X 20" strip
  • All purpose thread to match fabrics and ribbon
  • See-through ruler
  • Fabric pen or pencil
  • Iron and ironing board
  • Scissors or rotary cutter and mat
  • Straight pins

Getting Started

  1. From the fabric for the main exterior panels (Spots Dots Red in our sample), cut the following:
    ONE 17½" wide x 25½" high rectangle for the main center panel
    TWO 17½" wide x 6" high rectangles for the front and back bottom panels
    TWO 9½" wide x 9" high rectangles for the side top panels
    TWO 9½" wide x 6" high rectangles for the side bottom panels
  2. From the fabric for the accent ruffle and strap (Scissors Red in our sample), cut the following:
    TWO 37" wide x 10¾" high rectangles for the ruffle
    NOTE: If you are using a directional print as we did, make sure your motif is running horizontally across the width.
    ONE 20" wide x 4" high strip for the handle
    NOTE: If you are using a motif with a strong graphic, as we did with our scissor print, adjust the width to make sure you have a full row for your strap. In our sample, we adjusted the width and fussy cut so there was a perfect row of scissors.
  3. From the fabric for the lining (white muslin in our sample), cut the following:
    ONE 17½" wide x 35½" high rectangle for the main center panel
    TWO 9½" wide x 14" high rectangles for the side panels
  4. From the batting, cut the following:
    ONE 17½" wide x 25½" high rectangle for the main center panel
    TWO 17½" wide x 6" high rectangles for the front and back bottom panels
    TWO 9½" wide x 9" high rectangles for the side top panels
    TWO 9½" wide x 6" high rectangles for the side bottom panels
  5. From the heavyweight fusible interfacing, cut ONE 1½" x 20" strip

At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board

Construct the lining box

  1. Place the two 9½" x 14" side panel pieces flat on your work surface.
  2. Find a small juice glass or other small round object. Place the glass in each of the top corners (one of the 9½" sides) and trace the outside curve.
  3. Cut along the drawn line to round each corner. Round only the top two corners of each side panel piece. The bottom two corners of each piece remain square.
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  4. After rounding the corners, fold each side piece in half lengthwise and press a center crease or measure and mark the center point (4¾" from each side) with a pin.
  5. Find the 17½" x 35½" main center panel of the lining. Fold this piece in half widthwise and press a center crease or measure and mark the center point (17¾" from the top and bottom) with a pin.
  6. With right sides together, match the center mark at the top of one side panel and the center mark on main panel, aligning the raw edges. Pin in place.
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  7. Fold the main panel down, easing it around the rounded corner of the side panel, and continue pinning the two layers right sides together. The bottom of the main panel should match up perfectly with the bottom square corner of the side panel.
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  8. Repeat to align and pin the opposite side of the side panel to the main panel.
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  9. Stitch the layers together, using ½" seam allowance.
  10. Repeat to attach the remaining side panel to the main panel.
  11. As an option, and especially if your fabric is prone to raveling, consider finishing all the seam allowances with a finishing stitch on your sewing machine or a serger. We serged all the seams and around the bottom.
  12. Turn the lining box right side out. Press well. Set aside.

Quilt the exterior panels

  1. Match up each of the seven exterior panel pieces (Dots Spots Red in our sample) with a same size batting piece. Pin each pair together.
  2. Run parallel vertical rows of stitching to quilt each pair together. Our rows are 2" apart. We used a quilting bar to keep our rows equi-distant.
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Create the handle

  1. Following manufacturer's instructions, fuse the 1½" x 20" interfacing strip to the wrong side of the 20" x 4" handle strip. The interfacing strip should be positioned so it is directly behind the fussy cut row that will become the handle's top. In our sample, we fused the interfacing directly behind our center row of scissors.
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  2. With the interfacing fused in place, fold the strip right sides together lengthwise. Pin in place along the one long edge, leaving both ends open. Stitch along the long side, using a ½" seam allowance.
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  3. Press seam open and turn the strap right side out.
  4. Roll the seam so it is at the back and your fussy cut motif is along the top. Press flat.
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  5. Find the 17½" x 25½" quilted exterior piece. Fold it in half (17½" x 12¾") and mark the center point on each side.
  6. Pin the finished handle, right sides together, to this quilted exterior piece. Matching the back seam of the handle with the center pins on the exterior. Pin or machine baste the handle in place.
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    NOTE: The handle will 'bag' in the middle because it is (and should be) wider than the cover. You need that slack to form the arc of the handle.

Create the exterior box

  1. These steps are the same as the steps you used to create the lining box. Start by rounding the corners of the top side panels.
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  2. And finish by sewing the top side panels to the main exterior piece. In the photo below, you can see where the handle is secured in the seam.
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Create the bottom exterior 'ring'

  1. Find the remaining four quilted exterior pieces: the TWO 9½" x 6" side bottom panels and the TWO 17½" x 6" front and back bottom panels. You will sew these four pieces together end to end to form a 'ring' that will become the bottom of the exterior box.
  2. Using a ½" seam allowance, sew the panels together along the 6" sides in the following order: front bottom to side bottom one to back bottom to side bottom two. This will form a closed ring. Press the seams open and set aside.

Ruffle ring

  1. Find the two TWO 37" x 10¾" ruffle fabric strips (Scissors Red in our sample).
  2. Using a ½" seam allowance, sew the two pieces together end to end along the 10¾ sides to form a 'ring.' Press the seams open.
  3. Fold the ruffle ring in half lengthwise, wrong sides together, and press well.
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  4. Gather the top raw edges of the ruffle ring. To do this, run two lines of machine basting around the entire top edge. One line of stitching should be approximately ¼" from the raw edge, the other approximately ⅜" from the raw edge. Leave long thread tails at the beginning and end of each seam. If you are new to gathering, take a look at our tutorial: Gathering & Ruffles Made Easy. We also serged along the top of our raw edges prior to gathering to finish the edge and prevent raveling. This is optional.
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  5. Pull the gathering stitches until the ruffle ring is the same circumference as the bottom exterior ring.
  6. Slip the ruffle ring over the right side of the bottom exterior ring, alining the top raw edges. There are actually four layers of raw edges: the two layers of the ruffle ring, the exterior fabric and the batting. Pin in place all around the ring.
    Click to Enlarge
  7. Using a ⅜" seam allowance, stitch all the way around the ring through all the layers. If you stitch with the ruffles on top, you can follow the ⅜" machine basting line. Stitching with the ruffles on top also helps make sure your ruffles stay even and flat.

Assemble the top and bottom exterior sections

    1. Find the completed exterior top box. Align the bottom of this top box with the top of the bottom ruffle/ring. Use the side seams to align the two sections. The seams of the bottom ruffle/ring should match up perfectly with the seams of the exterior top box. Pin all the way around. Stitch all the way around, using a ½" seam allowance.


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  1. Press the seams up towards the top section. 
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  2. Turn the completed cover right side out and press again.

Accent ribbon

  1. With the cover sitting in front of you, measure 3½" to the left from the right front side seam. Mark this point with it pin as the position of the accent ribbon bow.
  2. Using this pin as your starting point, lay the accent ribbon over the ruffle seam so the bottom of the accent ribbon falls into the seam. This gives you a kind of 'groove' to follow to help keep the ribbon straight. Pin the ribbon in place all the way around, trimming off the end as necessary to just overlap your starting point.
  3. Stitch the bottom of the ribbon in place all the way around.
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  4. Then stitch the top of the ribbon in place all the way around.
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  5. Using the 'fork method' we introduced in our Cocktails At Eight Hostess Apron tutorial, make a tiny bow from the ribbon and hand stitch it in place, concealing the ribbon overlap.
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Attaching the lining

  1. Find the completed lining box. It should be right side out.
  2. Turn the completed exterior box wrong side out.
  3. Slip the lining inside the exterior. Match up the lining seams and the exterior seams all around.
  4. Pin together the bottom raw edges of the lining and the exterior.
    NOTE: Remember, we serged the bottom raw edge of our lining box way back when, which is why this edge is finished in the photo below.
    Click to Enlarge
  5. Using a ½" seam allowance, stitch all around this bottom edge, leaving a 5-6" opening for turning.
  6. Turn the cover right side out through the opening.
  7. Press well, turning in the raw edges of the opening ½" so they are flush with the sewn seam.
  8. Topstitch all around the bottom to reinforce the bottom edge and close opening. You'll need to flip the ruffle up out of the way for this seam.
    Click to Enlarge
  9. Your ruffle should sit just above the bottom of the cover.
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Hints and Tips

Unlike a lined bag where the force of gravity helps keep the lining in place, the lining of this sewing machine cover will want to drop out when you lift the cover off the machine. To help hold it in place, hand stitch through all the layers at either end of the handle. From the front, you can hide your stitches within the seam top side panel seam, right along the base of the handle.

Contributors

Project Design: Alicia Thommas  
Sample Creation: Debbie Guild

Section: 

Comments (10)

Andrea Reed said:
Andrea Reed's picture

Thanks for a great idea i cant wait to make this cover  thanks for taking the time to teach  to people like me that dont have time to go to an expensive class  Thank you

Sewamii said:
Sewamii's picture

All machine should come with a free sewing machine cover pattern instead of the flimsy ones they give you haha lol. I'm so making this when I get my fabric in assay or two. Love the skirt bit. I plan on making the candy thing to match. I'll be putting a skirt on this to x

Sewamii said:
Sewamii's picture

All machine should come with a free sewing machine cover pattern instead of the flimsy ones they give you haha lol. I'm so making this when I get my fabric in assay or two. Love the skirt bit. I plan on making the candy thing to match. I'll be putting a skirt on this to x

kkbryant said:
kkbryant's picture

This is such a cute pattern!  I am somewhat new to sewing and have my fabric all ready for cutting and I'm confused on how the measurements were figured for each panel.  My machine is smaller (Bernina 350) and measures 14 1/2 wide x 12 high x 6 1/2 deep.  Do you happen to have the cutting measurements for that size machine?  I tried to adjust the measurements based on my machine size but I'm having trouble.

kkbryant said:
kkbryant's picture

If you are unable to give the measurements, can you tell me how you got the height of 25 1/2 for the height in the first panel listed?

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

@ kkbryant - I'm sorry, but I can't figure out the dimensions for your particular model - I would hate to be responsible for something not being 100% accurate based on long-distance measurements. As we mentioned in the directions, you need about an inch greater all over than your machine dimensions. For the main panel, remember that you need to figure the height x2 plus the depth x1, because the panel is going up, across and back down. In our sample, that meant 13" + 8.5" + 13" = 34.5". The "skirt" on either side is a 5" drop, so you substract 10" total to bring you to 24.5". Then add 1" for the seam allowance with each "skirt" for a total of 25.5".Your lining is one piece, which is why it is the total 35.5" (34.5" measurement plus 1" for hems).

Anna B said:
Anna B's picture

Two improvements I would suggest: 1) Put a "lining" over the batting so the entire cover is machine washable. After all, it will collect dust and eventually need washing. 2) Leave a "slot" where the electrical cords connect to the machine so that you don't have to unplug the machine each time you cover it. Unplugged cords tend to drop behind the desk and after fishing them out a couple of times, you tend not to cover the machine very often. Constantly bending the cords under the cover eventually breaks the wires inside. Two of my machines came with hard plastic covers and after fighting these problems for years, I finally had my husband use a rotary tool to cut a slot for the cords in the side. Now I cover the machines when not in use!

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

@ Anna B - thank you for your suggestions. We did use a lining and the cover can be laundered on gentle. I like the idea of the slot... you might even be able to do that with a large buttonhole, although on our sample machine, the skirted bottom was generous enough to allow the machine to remain plugged in. 

Anna B said:
Anna B's picture

Absolutely adorable!  I never thought of the ruffled bottom.  I have always laughed at the vinyl "sewing machine covers" sold in the stores.  It is a sewing machine!  You MAKE things with it.  If you sew, you have scraps or pieces of fabric you bought just because you liked it and will make something someday.  My Serger is the only machine that came without a cover and the first thing I made was a cover to learn to use the serger. 

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