• Barbara Marrs

DIY Custom Sewing Machine Cover

This project was inspired by two wonderful recent events: first, the opportunity to FINALLY begin work on my own fully-dedicated sewing, designing, and office room, and secondly, the receiving of a lovely gift from a dear friend and colleague that included some delightful and inspirational fabrics and creative sewing items. Up to this point, I have always had to take my Pfaff sewing machine out of storage and then put it back for every sewing project because I lacked a dedicated sewing space. But now that I will soon enjoy a room of my own, my machine will always be out, calling for a dust/sun cover. Among the gifts mentioned above, were two yards of a JOANN Simplicity Vintage Fabric and a matching calico print (Fig. 1), perfect for sewing this fun project.

Figure 1

JOANN’s website offers several Simplicity Vintage Fabric prints. At this time, I did not see the specific print I used being offered, but some JOANN stores might still carry this one.

Now there are multiple DIY Sewing Machine Cover tutorials out there—it all depends on your sewing machine and your requirements. My Pfaff Quilt Ambition 2.0 is a long machine, with a very long top handle, so I did not want a cover with an opening on top.

I also wanted a cover that I did not have to quilt, had custom front pockets, and included a top handle. And, I wanted to finish the bottom edges with bias tape. Whatever particulars you want for your cover, the machine measurements you should take are still basically the same. Measure your machine as follows:

  • The width and height of the back (these will be the same measurements used for the front; it’s simply easier to measure the back of the machine).

  • The machine depth, or width of the side, and the length of the machine, from the bottom center of one side, up and across the top, down to the bottom center of the other side.

All sewing seam allowances are 1/2”, so the final measurements for the front/back pattern and the center pattern are as follows:

For the front/back pattern, add 1/2” to the height and 1” to the width measurements.

For the center pattern, add 1” to the width measurement.

(We’re not adding any more to the bottom of either pattern because these raw edges will be finished with bias tape.)

For my Pfaff Quilt Ambition 2.0, my front/back measured 11 1/2” x 17 3/4”, so my front/back pattern was 12” x 18 3/4”. The center measured 7” x 40”, so my center pattern was 8” x 40”.

There are so many pocket options for this project—front, sides, back. You really have to decide what best suits your needs, or perhaps you don’t even want a pocket(s). I always like to have my scissors, measuring tape, and sewing glasses easily available whenever I sew, so for me, one long pocket in the front with three compartments was perfect. Since my Pfaff is a long machine, my pocket pattern measured 13” x 7 1/2”; extra additions for seams are not necessary.

Finally, I wanted a nice size handle for easily removing the cover, and the pattern for this measured 2” X 14”.

The supplies and materials needed for this cover are as follows:

  • 1 yard outer cover fabric (any quilting cotton fabric is fine)

  • 1 yard lining fabric to match (any quilting cotton fabric is fine) NOTE: if you are making your own bias tape, go with the 1 1/2 - 2 yards of the lining fabric.

  • 1 yard Pellon Fusible Fleece (Fig. 2)

  • 2 yards double fold 1/2” wide bias tape to match (unless you are making your own)

  • Thread to match

  • Novelty buttons (optional)

Figure 2

DIY Sewing Machine Cover Instructions

NOTE: I strongly suggest making a simple “muslin” of the cover first, which does not have to be lined or reinforced with Pellon. This way you will see if your pattern measurements give you the right fit for your machine. There are a lot of protruding parts on a sewing machine, and you may have to adjust your initial pattern measurements to secure a snug fit. I definitely sewed a muslin cover first, and I had to make adjustments to acquire the final measurements for my Pfaff that I posted above.

Cut the following for each section:

  • Front & back: 2 of cover fabric, 2 of lining fabric, 2 of Pellon

  • Center: 1 of cover fabric, 1 of lining fabric, 1 of Pellon

  • Pocket: 1 of cover fabric, 1 of lining fabric, 1 of Pellon

  • Handle: 2 of lining fabric, 2 of Pellon

NOTE: Because my cover fabric was one-directional, I cut two separate center pieces adding an extra 1/2” to each. These were then stitched together at the top center seam to make a piece 40” long that matched the center lining and center Pellon sections (Fig. 3)

Figure 3

NOTE: I wanted my handle to be in the contrasting lining fabric. Choose whichever fabric you prefer for this piece.

NOTE: If you are going to make your own bias tape with the contrasting lining fabric, now is the time to do it! There are multiple excellent tutorials online on how to make your own double fold bias tape. Your bias pieces should be 1 1/2” wide to create a double fold 1/2” tape with 1/4” pressed seams. Your total bias tape length should be about 2 yards.

Here is a link to a great bias tape tutorial from Grainline Studio. And, you don’t need a rotary cutter. I used a straight edge to mark the bias strip lines and cut my strips with a regular sewing scissors.

Step 1. Iron the Pellon to the wrong side of both front and back cover fabric sections, the center cover fabric section, the pocket, and both handle sections. (Fig. 4). Take your time with this, and be careful not to move your iron around. Just place it down firmly, one small section at a time.

NOTE: If you cut two separate center pieces for the cover fabric, make sure these are sewn together first, and the seam pressed open before ironing on the Pellon.

Figure 4

Step 2. Place front and back cover fabric sections to front and back lining sections, wrong sides together. Pin together at each upper corner. Using a curve ruler or rim of a glass, round off top edges of upper corners by tracing a gentle curve on the lining side, and then cutting along the line (Fig. 5).

Figure 5

Step 3. Pin all sides of front and back cover fabric sections to front and back lining sections, wrong sides together, and baste with a 1/4” seam allowance. To control fabric bunching, start at top center, sew down one side, and across to bottom center. Then go back to the top and sew down other side, and across to bottom center. Repeat Step 3 for center and pocket pieces (Fig. 6).

Figure 6

Step 4. On front and back pieces, clip to basting line around each upper curve every 3/8” (Fig. 7). Then fold each section in half vertically, and clip to basting at top center (Fig. 8). This is to mark the middle of each side, making it easier to match to the middle of the center section.

Figure 7

Figure 8

Step 5. Next, we are going to add the pocket to the front. For this pocket with sections, using your pocket length, decide on the number of sections you want, and how wide each will be. For me, it was three equal sections. Then, with a ruler, on the lining side mark each dividing line in chalk or other fabric marker (Fig. 9). Stitch along the dividing lines (Fig. 10). Pin bias tape to sides and top of pocket. Miter corners, and stitch in place (Fig. 11). Steam press to smooth out any bunching.

Figure 9

Figure 10

Figure 11

Here is a tutorial from Pretty Prudent on how to sew bias tape and miter corners.

Step 6. Place pocket on center of front section, matching bottom seams. Pin center of each pocket section to front first, then pin the sides. This helps to keep the pocket even and centered. Stitch pocket to front at each side along bias tape stitches, stitching up into mitered corners. Baste pocket bottom to front bottom. With each pocket section still pinned to the front, stitch over the pocket dividing lines up to the bias tape. I used a decorative honeycomb stitch for this (Fig. 12).

Figure 12

Step 7. Now we are going to add the handle to the top center. Pin handle sections right sides together and stitch top, sides, and bottom, leaving a 5" opening on the bottom side. Trim seams and corners. Turn right side out. (I use the pointy end of a chopstick to push out the corners.) Press. Then fold in bottom edges 1/2” and press. Pin together (Fig. 13) and topstitch both all around. Again, I used a decorative honeycomb stitch for this (Fig. 14).

Figure 13

Figure 14

Step 8. Place the handle on the top center of the center section. Line up one end in the middle or at the center seam, pin in place (Fig. 15), and stitch across the top. Stitch again to reinforce. Pin the other end to center seam, overlapping 1/8” and stitch in place. Stitch again to reinforce (Fig. 16). Flatten handle down evenly. Pin entire handle bottom to center section and stitch in place on all sides (Fig. 17). You have to work with getting the handle top out of your way as you stitch, but it is doable.

Figure 15

Figure 16

Figure 17

Step 9. Now we can put our three cover pieces together! Pin back section to center section right sides together, with back section facing you, as follows: match top centers (back section has the clip at its top center); pin sections together along top, stopping at curved edges. Next, match side seams starting at the bottom, and pin in place up to top curved edges (Fig. 18). Then carefully spread each clipped curve so it aligns with the center’s straight seam (just as you would for a princess seam), pin in place, and hand baste in place to assure a smooth seam with no folds. Stitch sections together starting at top center and down each side (Fig. 19). Trim seam by grading seam allowances, and clip curves. Press seam towards back section.

Repeat Step 8 for front section.

Figure 18

Figure 19

Optional: I chose to understitch these seams to the front and back sections. You have to work with moving the cover around the machine to get this done, but it is doable and it keeps the seams down and it place.

Step 9. At this point, you should place your almost-completed-cover over your machine to check for the fit and the length. The cover bottom should meet the surface your machine sits on. If you need to, cut to shorten the length. To finish the raw bottom edge, pin bias tape all along the bottom, starting with a raw end on one cover side, then overlapping with an end that is finished (raw edges turned in 1/4”) (Fig. 20).

Figure 20

Step 10. Now Get Creative! Since I received them as gifts, I decided to add decorative “sewing notion buttons” to my pocket and handle (Fig. 21 and 22). There are so many cute ideas online for added touches on sewing machine covers. Sky’s the limit!

Figure 21

Figure 22

This project was so much fun! And these are great gifts to make for all the sewists in your circle of family and friends. So enjoy, and...

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