Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Cleaning House

I own a perfectly serviceable plastic cover for my sewing machine. I never use it. Why? It is just plain ugly. And besides, what possible good does it do when the lint collecting in the bobbin area comes from sewing?

This winter, I have been floored by the amount of dust in my house. I dust and I swear- as soon as my back is turned - there it is again. Now I'm thinking, it must be invading my machine too.  So, I decided to do something about it.

my block
Once upon a time, my quilt guild scheduled Karen Kay Buckley to lecture and give a workshop.  Karen is an award winning quilter whose work has been featured on the cover of Quilters Newsletter. She is an extremely organized, personable and a gifted teacher. I signed up for her applique class, Heard it Through the Grapevine. She taught techniques and tricks I continue to use. When I finished my block, I put it away. It became an orphan waiting for a home. That is, until today, when in the battle against dust, I decided to make a cover for my sewing machine.
If you would like to wage your own war against dust and bobbin lint here's what to do.
Measure your machine. My measurements are in parentheses. Substitute yours.

Adding the strip to the block 
 a. For the main panel, measure your machine from the bottom front to the bottom back - that is, from the point where it sits on the table and up and over the top and back down to where it meets the table again. ( 20"). Then measure the machine's width.  (16.").  Add a 1/2" for the seam allowance. My main panel needs to be 20.5" by 16.5".

The block I wanted to use as the main panel was only 16.5" square, so I added a 4" by 16.5" strip to the top of the block. This lengthened the piece and offset the block so that the pretty part is the focal point.

Line up the panels using the creases as a guide

b. For the side panels, measure the height ( 7")  and depth  (6.5") of the machine.   Add a 1/2" for the seam allowance.  My side panels need to be 7.5"  by 7 ".  Cut two. Trim the top corners a bit to round them out.  To mark the middle of the side panel, fold it in half from left to right and finger press a crease. Do the same for the main panel but fold it from top to bottom. Then, matching crease marks, place the side and main panels right sides together.

Pin the curves

Pin the panels together and sew. I found it easiest to begin in the center at the top, sewing down to the back edge and then starting at the top again and sewing down to the front edge.  Repeat to complete the other side.

Hemming the skirt

At this point, I could have finished the cover by hemming the bottom. My machine usually sits in a 3" well inside the sewing cabinet for flatbed sewing. But because I am who I am, I added a little "skirt" for those times when the machine sits on the table top. To do this, I measured the perimeter of the cover (45 ") and cut another rectangle of fabric 3.5" by 45.5". I hemmed the long side and joined the ends together before sewing it to the bottom.

Side view

I think it turned out quite nicely.


  1. you are, as always, so creative!!! I am inspired to pull my 75% finished block out and find a good use for it - there are certainly a few things in my house that could use protection from dust.....

  2. What a great use of an orphan block (and a lovely block, too). It's pretty satisfying to make something useful from a formerly unused thing sitting going to waste, isn't it . . .

    I very much like the spotty batik on the side panels, as well.

    Regards, Sue