Denim Sewing Machine Cover; or how foolish musings lead to an unplanned project


Sitting at my Table of Solitude in the exercise/homework/craft room, I was supposed to be working, on a Saturday no less, when I started looking at my sewing machine and thinking, you are dusty and you need a cover.  That’s really all I needed to say before the imagination was off and running like a hyperactive child — brightly colored!  Appliques!  Quilting!  Wait do I have any material?  As the holiday season nears the fabric store becomes less and less enjoyable.  Choosing fabric is fun.  The actual process of buying it when everybody and their grandmother is out there buying endless yards of fleece for blankets can be . . . frustrating.  As this was my mom’s machine, which I sometimes take to calling Valerie in my head, I wanted to incorporate a tribute to her in here somehow, after all the hours she spent sewing a creating at this machine.  None of the scraps of fabric she had left one way or another did not work or were not big enough or the right texture, so I figured I’d tackle that part later.  I looked in my stash and found an abandoned denim wrap skirt project that might work.  If I were on Project Runway, the frequent comment from my competitors and Nina Garcia would be that I have “construction issues.”  It’s true, and that is why I rarely sew clothing.   However, I figured with the right angling, I could work around the trapezoidal fabric cuts and make this happen.

I measured the machine in a box-style, remembering the clearance for the spool of thread that is usually at the top.  Having seen a few basic patterns online, I knew I needed to cut a cross shape and then “just sew it together.”  Famous last words, I always think “it’s only going to take an hour,” and it never does.  I usually realize this at the point I’m channeling my mom, slamming the foot up, and cursing at the machine.

What threw me off were the seam lines from that damn skirt.  I figured if I made the seam straight, all I would have to do is cut a rectangle around it, right?  After about an hour of cutting and measuring and trying to get this thing squared up, I finally got it pretty close.  Now in full disclosure I was watching X-men on the laptop and may have been distracted by Hugh Jackman, but still, cutting  rectangle should not take that long.  Because of the shape of the fabric, I had to sew the two little rectangles to the sides of the big rectangle form the cross.  I admit, I did brave the fabric store for a yard of muslin to line the cover (I waited 35 minutes in the cutting line, that is WRONG).  After I sewed the denim rectangle together and sewed a piece of interfacing across the top/middle of the cross to help stiffen up the shape and keep it boxy, I laid the denim shape on top of the piece of muslin and cut the muslin to match.


Now it was time for the embellishment.  As mentioned before, this is my mother’s machine, and I was trying to find a way to represent her in this project.    I came up with the idea of superimposing a V for Valerie over the M for Melody, and just played around with some colors I thought complimented the denim.

The other element I had to contend with is that this cover had to look good against the bright yellow curtains in the room, or when the windows are open, look nice as I sit there and look at the lavender and honeybees in the front yard (Good Lord, I sound like Katharine Hepburn “The calla lilies ah in bloom agayn, reahlly they ah.”  You have to imagine the Bryn Mawr accent on that one).  Once I decided on some colors, I cut out the M and the V (the v just a tad smaller and offset so you could still see the M, and then cut some corduroy and calico to make basically a big patch to go on front.  I also cut some heart appliques from felt, too.  I didn’t plan it this way, but I liked the multi-textures that I ended up with (mixed media, as “they” call it sometimes).


It was at this point I realized I had to work backwards, that is I had to sew the V onto the M onto the corduroy, then onto the calico, and then sew on the felt hearts, before I could even THINK about sewing the cover together.  Again, once that craft monster rears his obsessive compulsive head, he is very hard to ignore — once I got mired in that colorful little mixed media patch, there was no way I could abandon it.  Anyhoo, I layered all my textures onto one patch, and sewed it on to the front panel of the cross, since I figured it was easier to sew it on a flat piece of fabric than a completed cover, you dig? (It was).

With that done I quickly sewed up the sides of the muslin and denim cross separately to form boxes.  The denim was a nice stiff denim that is hopefully going to hold its shape well.  It took a few tries, but I finally was able to imagine the cover was a 3-D pillow and figure out how to pin the denim and muslin together to form a lining (right sides together, basically).  I left a little hole open to turn it right side out, and then sewed up the opening.  Cover done.

DSC01843    DSC01848

One thing I would like to have done would have been to quilt it, but I didn’t have any batting or the inclination to buy batting, and I couldn’t figure out if I should sew it together first as I did and then quilt it, which would be a pain in the ass, or quilt it first but then how would I turn it right side out or have no raw edges showing?  I could have looked online but I’m sure the answer would have taken me too long to have completed this in a weekend.  Need I remind you it took me nearly all of X-men to cut a simple rectangle?  Another thing I would have liked, which I may still do, would be to tack down the lining so that it doesn’t drop/droop down every time I pull the cover off.  I just hate wrangling 2D or 3D things on the sewing machine.  I think I just figured out why I only like to sew blankets with right angles.

As it was, with a few imperfections, this is one of the few projects I have thought up, cut with no pattern, sat down and sewed that came out close to what I originally envisioned.  I like the monogram most, though, because it is colorful and meaningful and just very me.  Also, this project cost me all of 3 bucks for the muslin — everything else I already had.  Just the right kind of project for a cheap-ass fool like myself.



2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Kathyann
    Nov 28, 2014 @ 01:51:20

    I did not notice the “V” until you mentioned it. But I have one question…how big was that denim skirt? LOL



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