I love to make things, not just garments. There’s something very freeing about making a thing, primarily because you don’t need to worry about fit or if you’re going to have it finished for this season. These things often are made just to make yourself happy. I call them “No-Worries Projects” or “Low-Threat Projects” because they shouldn’t cause me to worry or feel threatened I’m going to do something wrong. It could be a pincushion, a coin purse, an edged hankerchief, a scarf or just about any accessory. For you or your home. This year’s National Sewing Month’s contest is titled“Accessorize Your Life!”so, it seems appropriate to share one of my favorite things to make — sewing machine covers.
A sewing machine cover is more than a thing, though. A sewing (or serger) machine cover has a job: to keep the dust out of your machine’s mechanics. If you’ve ever used the plastic ones, you know that those rip so easily. And, I don’t know about you, but the plastic ones that come with most machines from the manufacturer are GI-NOR-MOUUUS! So, why not make a cover of your own. From a fabric that will make you happy to uncover your machine and SEW!
You can use this pattern from Husqvarna as your baseline pattern and make adjustments to fit your machine. In doing so, you’ll also accomplish the following skills that can be applied to almost any garment or other sewing project:
- Pattern altering and adjusting– You will want to fit your machine. Your handle at the top may be in a different position. If you are making a cover for your serger, you will need to think if you want to make a cover with the bar for the threads in the up or down position. There is a curve on this pattern, so you’ll be adjusting that to your machine, too.
- Pattern drafting – You may decide that you want your pocket elsewhere, so you will need to draft your own pattern for the pocket. It may be simple, but you’ll be getting the practice to make it to fit the area you were aiming for.
- Applying bias tape – Bias tape offers a quick way to finish prettily finish the edge. However, if you’ve never applied bias tape, you could be confused if you should put it in one step or two-steps and how far should you sew from the edge.
Some extras that you can try on this project:
- How about adding a ruffle to the bottom and practice using your gathering foot?
- You could use ribbon trim to add a pleated bottom, the same that Susan G. did on the bottom of her dress. You can follow the detailed steps that she wrote in her post titled, “Embellish This 2.”
- You could use one of your decorative stitches to add a row of stitching on top of your bias tape for extra added interest and texture.
- Practice using your serger to finish your seams. If you goof slightly, no one will know except you and your sewing machine and serger.
- Use your serger toadd a serged wave finished edge to the bottom of the cover instead of using bias tape. Take a look at my country chicken serger cover below. I explain how to do this.
- Why add heirloom sewing techniques? It’s a great way to practice those lines of pintucks and attaching lace.
- Add beading or an appliqué to highlight part of the fabric design.
For the Lil’ Cowpokes sewing machine cover, I played with seam binding and used a double row of satin stitching down the middle of the pocket to make two separate pockets. For some reason, I’d never thought to do that on any of my other projects.
When I bought my new sewing machine, the Lil’ Cowpokes didn’t fit. It was way too small. So, back to draft myself up another cover. This time, I had a pretty daisy pattern in bright lime green and hot pink. Because the daisies are so pretty, I moved the pocket to the side. This machine has one end a bit wider than the other, so I allocated for that in my pattern. Maybe later, I’ll appliqué one of the daisies to give it more dimension.
By now, I’ve been using my serger quite a bit more and it stays out on a more permanent basis. So, the serger also needed a cover. Back to the stash pile. (See, Mom, I’m making progress on my pile of fabric!)
For the serger, I used this fun chicken print. Again, because it was fun and made me smile. For a serger cover, you’re going to have to think if you want to make it fit with the thread bar up or down. Even with it down, the serger is not a perfect square, at least my old Singer serger isn’t. Mine is more like a trapzoid shape when you look at it from the side. You also have to decide if your cover is going to include the space for the scrap bin. I never keep mine on, so it didn’t get included in the measurements.
I measured my serger (1) across the top; (2) front-to back on the bottom and (3) on the top; (4) the height of my serger in the front and in the back. You could either draft your pattern directly onto the fabric or a piece of paper. I drew it on paper to paper-fit my pattern.
Since this was for my serger, I decided to use a fun edging that I learned in my serger class to create a wave effect. Some sergers have a wave stitch programmed in, but my old Singer does not. So, Mac Berg teaches her classes to “sing a song” while pulling the upper looper to the song’s timing. Play with different tunes and you’ll see the waves change.
Howevvvverrrr, I made a boo-boo. As you can see, my wave looks pretty rough. The stitches are not even nor are they close together. After looking at my final product, I looked at my serger and realized that I threaded the upper looper half right, but finished it in the lower looper to exit; and did the same reverse-y to the lower looper. It’s a miracle that I didn’t jam my serger! I could have re-worked it, but I don’t mind it and it’s a reminder to me to check my threading.
You don’t have to make a cover for your sewing machine or serger. You can make one to cover the toaster, the mixer or your computer monitor. Husqvarna has a pattern for a computer keyboard cover, too. Just sew something this month! And enjoy yourself! If this inspires you to make a cover, post a picture and send us a link; we’d love to see them!