Every now and then I get bitten by the desire to go ahead and improve the heck out of something that doesn’t necessarily need it, but it looks tons better for the effort. After dealing with a few skirts with falling hems last week and figuring out my sewing machine has a blind hem stitch built in, I taught myself to use the stitch and got very excited by the results. Spending a few hours with my sewing machine always renews my enthusiasm for it (not that I am unenthusiastic about it ever, but I hate that the first step of basically any sewing project is measuring and cutting things, which I tend to have little patience for).
Patting myself on the back for such a professional mending job, I was all set to pack up my sewing machine and stow it back on the darling little sewing table Tim’s mom got me for Christmas last year, when it struck me how boring the white vinyl cover for the machine is. Honestly, it’s such a pretty little machine, robin’s-egg blue, a gift from Tim a few years ago after I’d repeatedly said that I wouldn’t buy one for myself, as I’d always feel guilty if I didn’t use it a particular amount. (This is not me planting a gift idea, this is literally how I weigh what I’ll purchase for myself. The algebra of whether I’m cool with the asking price vs the quality of the item vs how much use I expect to get out of it, it is some very complicated mathematics up in my head.) If I could let it sit out on display (and to entice me to use it more often), I would, but I know that ordinary dust can wreak havoc on the inner workings, so I dutifully pack it up each time I’m finished.
This time, however, the white vinyl cover just seemed so blah. I thought to myself how many lovely fabrics I have that are left over from projects and from the remnant bin at Joanns (my complex buying mathematics somehow don’t seem to apply to craft materials, when I will buy anything that strikes me, whether I can think of an applicable project or not) and eyed up the cover. It was basically a white box. Surely I could recreate it.
Down came several options of fabric in a few color combinations. Since making the fabric runner for Erin’s shower, I’d been toying with the idea of doing more piecework, but the idea of cutting shapes for a full on quilt situation seemed daunting. This seemed like a fun project to try it on again, especially since I was leaning towards some leftover scraps that weren’t quite big enough to cover the whole machine alone. I finally chose an aqua pattern and some solid navy fabric.
I had less of the aqua, so I started with that, folding it in half, finding the center point, and cutting it so I ended up with two equal-width strips to go on either side of a center stripe of navy. I measured the width of the cover, and the two aqua pieces, and then added an inch for seam allowances and determined the width of my center piece of navy. I carefully pinned them together, lining all pieces up at the same end (the navy fabric was just a touch shorter than the aqua fabric), and sewed them together with a straight stitch.
I ironed the fabric out, and ironed the seams flat. (Why is this step so satisfying? This is why I think I might like quilting.) At that point I started to realize that I would probably need to stiffen the fabric a little so it didn’t just drape over the top of the machine and had a little body. Luckily I also had some fusible webbing left over from a previous project. Since the strips sewn together were going to go up the front of the machine, over the top, and down the back, I measured these panels of the cover, added another two inches for hemming, and trimmed my sewn-together strips to this length. I cut a piece of webbing to the width (minus seam allowances) and length (minus hemming allowances) and centered this in the fabric, ironing it into place.
I measured (adding 1/2″ for the sides and top, and a full inch for the bottom for a hem) and cut the two side panels from the navy fabric. I cut some fusible webbing for structure on these pieces too and ironed them into place. Now came the tricky part. Working from the bottom corner of the side panel, I lined it up with the bottom corner of the aqua strip (with the right sides of the fabric facing each other) and pinned the height of the panel. When I got to the corner, I twisted the panel so the top part of it continued to line up with the aqua fabric and pinned across. At the next corner, I repeated this, until the main part of the cover was pinned to three sides of the navy side panel. I sewed the side panel into place, picking the foot of my sewing machine up when I reached a corner, so I could turn the fabric 90 degrees and sew the next side. I repeated this process with the other side panel. Finally, I turned the fabric up an inch at the bottom and sewed two lines of straight stitches (one would do, but I wanted a nice sturdy hem and the decorative touch of two parallel lines) around the bottom of the whole cover.
I was really pleased with how the cover came out. I made a few mis-measurements (wasn’t quite conservative enough with the measurement across the width of the cover, so it’s a touch snug, but it fits nicely and probably traps the dust outside better because of that), but I don’t think it’s super obvious. It’s nicer to have the pretty cover on my machine, now that it lives out on the sewing table. It makes my fingers itch to make other things, too! It’s also super-satisfying to have an idea about something and instead of putting it off for ages or second guessing why you shouldn’t do it, to just plunge in and figure it out. If only there were enough hours in the day for all of the things I wanted to do!