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Vintage Shoulder Dust Covers

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During a recent clean-up, my sister came across a hand-embroidered shoulder dust cover our grandmother had made for our mother. I think that officially qualifies as 'vintage'! We both thought it was not only beautiful, but a great idea. We all have special clothing in our closet we may not wear often, but certainly don't want to give away. A whole garment bag seems like overkill if you need easy access to the outfit, yet still would like to protect it between wearings. Our Vintage Shoulder Dust Cover is just right to keep dust and debris from settling along the shoulders of your special garments. Thanks, Grandma! I always knew you were super cool and ahead of your time.

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We originally used Delighted by The Quilted Fish for Riley Blake Designs and London by Dena Designs for FreeSpirit Fabrics. Both of these are older collections, which can be hard to find. 

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Tanya Whelan's latest collected for FreeSpirit Fabrics: Rosey, has some beautiful new options that offer the same sweet floral softness. We thought these two were lovely.

Sewing Tools You Need

Fabric and Other Supplies

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Ingredients and instructions shown below are for ONE dust cover

  • 1 yard of 44-45" wide printed fabric for the exterior;
    NOTE: You might be able to get away with ¾ of a yard, but a full yard will allow you more flexibility for fussy cutting.
  • ¾ yard of 44-45" wide coordinating solid fabric for the lining
  • 2 yards of ½" coordinating ribbon; we used velvet 
  • 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

Getting Started

  1. Download and print the four pattern pieces: Shoulder Dust Cover Piece 1, Shoulder Dust Cover Piece 2, Shoulder Dust Cover Piece 3 and Shoulder Dust 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. There is a guide line on each page to confirm you printout is the correct size. 
  2. Cut out each of the pattern pieces along the solid lines.
  3. 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.
  4. Using your pattern, fussy cut TWO pieces from the main exterior fabric and cut TWO pieces from the lining fabric.
  5. On all the pieces, snip into the seam allowance, through all the layers, at the dot shown on the pattern. Remember to make a snip on both sides of the center fold on each piece.
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At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board

  1. Press all your cut pieces so they are nice and flat.
  2. Place one lining piece right sides together with each exterior piece. Pin together along the long, straight bottom edge.
  3. Using a ½" seam allowance, stitch both pairs together along the long, straight bottom edge. Press the seam allowance towards the lining on each pair.
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  4. Flip up the lining so the pieces are now wrong sides together. Roll the lining slightly until the exterior fabric just peeks out along the seamed edge. Press well.
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  5. This will insure that only the exterior fabric shows along the bottom of the dust cover.
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  6. Open back out both seamed pairs so they are flat. Place the flat pairs right sides together, exterior to exterior and lining to lining, and with the seams precisely aligned.
  7. On each side, pin and then stitch, using a ½" seam allowance, from the snip on the lining side to the snip on the print side, leaving the space between the snips open.
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  8. Clip the corners, 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 finished curve. Find out more about in our Curves Tutorial
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  9. Carefully pull the cover right side out through the opening in the lining.
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  10. You now have a 'bag' with a small opening on both the exterior side and the lining side.
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  11. Press under the raw edges of both the openings so they are flush with the sewn seams.
  12. Push the lining up inside the exterior and align the two openings. Re-press if need be to make sure the folded edges match up nicely.
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  13. 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.
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  14. Use the nose of your ironing board to get a nice flat press all around the bottom edge.
    NOTE: Don't worry about the lining being 100% flat at the top of the dust cover, just keep the bottom edge smooth and even. You want to make sure the lining is not peeking out below the exterior fabric anywhere along the bottom. That would be like a slip hanging below your skirt... oh-no!
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  15. Measure up approximately 2½" from the bottom hemmed edge and draw a line with your fabric pen or pencil along both the front and the back of the dust cover.
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  16. Using this line as your guide, pin the accent ribbon in place all around the cover. Start and stop the ribbon approximately 3" from the right side of what will be the front of your dust cover; this is where the bow will go, so you can hide your starting and ending point under the bow.
  17. Topstitch the ribbon in place with a single line of stitching down the center of the ribbon.
    NOTE: With ½" ribbon, a single line of stitching is sufficient to hold it in place and is a easier seam, however, if you'd like to be extra fancy, you could use two lines of edgestitching instead.
  18. Make a small bow with the leftover ribbon and hand stitch it in place over the seam of the ribbon. You could also use a small safety pin to attach the bow.
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Contributors

Project Design: Alicia Thommas  
Sample Creation and Instructional Outline: Kathy Andrews, What Sew Ever

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Comments (6)

Sewandsewon said:
Sewandsewon's picture

Another project that is getting made for my closet.  Great gift idea for my aunts and sister.  Thanks Sew4Home

Sandy Heller said:
Sandy Heller's picture

Thank you I have to make these!! Great tutorial

Laurie A said:
Laurie A's picture

Have made a few of these as gifts - easy & quick project.  I've found that if I cut the lining pieces about 1/2" shorter than the main fabric pieces, it alleviates some of the thickness at the top when all the layers are finally sewn together.  (The need to press the bottom so the lining doesn't show creates the problem of extra lining fabric inside at the top with no place to go so it wasn't very smooth.) 

Danette001 said:
Danette001's picture

So cute and useful! Thanks, as always, for the great tutorial. I will be making these in the future.

tpillepich said:
tpillepich's picture

I loved these the first time around and love them even more now! I never got around to making any, but will definitely get to it soon. With 2 young adult daughters, we could all use a few of these covers.

Linda Southworth said:
Linda Southworth's picture

Oh I see these as gifts!  It really is something you don't realize you need until you (see the pattern) have them!  Thank you for a great presentation.

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