Make a Sewing Machine Cover
My machines have been covered by linen tea towels for years now, and while they are cute, they are not very functional: they slide off easily and since they are open on the sides they don’t really keep the dust away. So it’s time for new covers and I am here to share an easy tutorial with you. You only need three measurements (and you could really get away with two) and you can adapt it to any machine!
Basically we are going to make a un upside-down bag with box corners and an opening for the sewing machine handle. Easy as pie!
Tools and Materials
- Rotary cutter
- Non-slip ruler 6" X 24"
- Small scissors
- Gel pen
- Open-toe walking foot
- Edge joining foot- #27 in the 32 Presser Foot Set
- Adjustable bias binder foot- #32 in the 32 Presser Foot Set
- ½ yard of 60” fabric for the outside
- ½ yard of 60” fabric for the lining
- ½ yard batting (around 60” wide)
- 1½ yards double fold bias tape
Start by measuring the combined height and width of the machine at the widest and tallest point (some machines have only one height, but others have spindles for thread sticking out the top, so take them into account), for my machine this is 26½”.
Divide this number by 2 (13¼” for me) and add 2.5 to it. If desired, round up or down to the nearest ½” increment.
Combined Height and Width
26.5/2 = 13.25 + 2 = 15.25”
LENGTH: 15 ½”
Now measure the combined width and depth; basically you are measuring around the machine, just make sure you are going around the longest and widest points with your measuring tape. I find it easier to use adhesive tape to stick the beginning of my measuring tape to the machine, and then also tape rulers or pencils to the protruding parts of the machine (like the wheel) so that I can easily account for them. For me, this measurement is 45¾”.
Add 3” to this number. If desired, round up or down to the nearest ½” increment.
Combined Length and Depth
45.75 + 3 = 48.75”
The last measurement is the depth at the widest point. The number I came up with is 7¾”, which I rounded up to 8”.
The length and width numbers you came up with include ease and ½” seam allowances, so you can go ahead and cut a rectangle of the lining fabric to your measurements.
However, we are going to quilt the main fabric, so you want to add about 2” to both length and width, before you cut the fabric. For the batting, add 3” to each measurement. Once the quilting is done, you will cut the resulting fabric to your measurements.
I opted to quilt the main fabric and the batting without a backing fabric, if this makes you nervous , use a scrap of muslin as your backing.
*If you need help with the quilting, we have several tutorials, like this one or this one, plus more on Madam Sew’s blog.
Making the Bag
You probably still have your walking foot on your machine from quilting the top fabric… I would leave it there and use it for the construction part, it will keep everything aligned so that your lining and top remain the same size, saving you unnecessary trimming at the end.
Once you have trimmed it to your measurements. Fold your quilted fabric in two widthwise, right sides together, and stitch a ½” seam along the short sides.
Do the same for the lining.
Center the seam and sew another ½” seam on one of the long sides. If you are using fabric with a directional print, the seam needs to be at the top. Do this for both lining and outer fabric.
Clip corners and press all seams open.
Making the Box Corners
Grab the main fabric bag and insert your hand so that your fingers are against one of the corners.
Twist to bring the seam to face you and spread your fingers to create a right angle with the seam running down the middle.
We are going to mark a line perpendicular to the seam (creating a rectangle) using your depth measurement.
Align your ruler so that one corner touches one fold of the fabric and the number corresponding to your depth (8 for me) touches the other fold. The center line (4” for me) should be right over the seam)
Mark this line and pin so that you can try it on the machine and make sure it doesn’t need to be wider or narrower. Adjust if needed.
Sew right on the line, trim to ½” seam allowances, clip corners and press the seam open.
Repeat for the other corner and both lining corners.
Making the Handle Position
With the lining wrong side out, lay over the machine, making sure the seam is towards the back.
Use your fingers to feel the edges and bottom of the handle and mark with pins (the bottom of the handle coincided with my top seam, so I skipped that pin)
Measure the handle depth. For me it was ¾”.
Remove the lining from the machine and lay the top flat on your table. Align your ruler with one of your pins and mark a line as deep as your handle. Repeat on the other side. Now join these parallel lines to form a rectangle. This will be your sewing line.
Now we need to mark our cutting line. Find the widthwise center of your rectangle (for me it was at ⅜”) and mark it. End by drawing diagonal lines from each corner to that center line.
Making the Handle Opening
Place the lining over the main fabric, right sides together, aligning all corners. Pin layers together around the rectangle you just marked.
Switch to the edge joining foot.
Stitch right on the rectangle lines (not the center or the diagonals, those are your cutting lines).
Cut down the center line and on the diagonals all the way to the corners (don’t be a chicken!).
Flip the lining towards the inside and check that your corners lie flat. If they don’t, flip back and clip them all the way to the stitching line this time (I told you not to be a chicken).
Once everything looks good, press the opening edges, pulling the lining towards the inside (I find it easier to finger press from the front first, and then flip to the lining and pull it slightly while pressing.
Top stitch around the opening.
Finish the Bottom Edge
Turn the lining to the outside. Make sure corners are matched and lining lies flat against the main fabric. Pin both layers together around the bottom opening.
Switch to the adjustable bias binding foot and use bias tape to finish.
All done! Now you can take a break from sewing and your machine will be nice and clean waiting for you to come back.
You can make quite a few changes to this tutorial, like adding pockets, switching the lining for a small facing or adding pockets to the outside. Do you think have any ideas for other tweaks? Let us know in the comments!
For the people who want a printed copy of the instructions. If you have a Word program all you have to do is copy and paste it to the program. You can adjust the size of the pictures and reduce the amount of pages. Its not hard. You just have to remember to not share or make sure you give them the link to MadamSew so they can join and check it out them selves,
I did just save it to my sewing patterns but it looks like it will waste a lot of paper. If there’s a way to get to print the instructions please let me know. Thanks so much. I really like it.
I have a question. Is there a way to print it out? My sewing machine is in my basement. Our computer is upstairs. I’d love to have it printed out to take the instructions downstairs with me. I didn’t see a way to do that. I learn best with the pictures and written instructions. Thanks.
If you made the seam go up one side, across the top, and down the other side, you could leave the seam open where the handle goes. Just stitch the seam flaps down in a rectangle around the handle hole. That’s how I did my cover. Less work too.
Ana, thanks so much for this tutorial! I need to make a sewing machine cover, but wrapping my head around measuring, lining, turning and that sneaky handle problem was keeping me from getting started. I’m so very grateful that you posted your video—at last, everything makes sense. You are a terrific teacher (and I taught for 42 years before retiring—so I know what a good teacher looks like :) !