Is that too long?
For you browsers/readers: This pattern is awesome, any issues I have with any part of the making of this cover are of my own doing. I felt I really should say that up front. ;)
This is my first sewing machine. Not the first one I ever sewed on, but the first one that I bought with my own money and could call only mine. It is funny how it is with sewing machines or brands of sewing machines and their people. My mother had a Bernina 830 and that was the only machine I had ever sewn on, so it didn't occur to me that I might shop around for a different brand of machine. In 1985 was a single mom who wanted to sew for her kid and herself, I saved up the money and bought a nearly bottom of the line (at the time) 801 Sport. It had what was important to me at the time, a free-arm, buttonhole stitch, zig-zag and was an all metal, heavy duty machine. It is very possible that I might have gotten a machine for considerably less than I paid for this one, but like I said, it just didn't occur to me to look around. I just got lucky that we were Bernina people. This little baby has sewn baby clothes, matching dresses and play clothes for my girls, heirloom First Communion dresses, pajamas, doll clothes, dressy clothes for me, costumes, crafts, window treatments, quilts and, and...... well, a LOT of stuff. Over the years I wanted to upgrade for a machine with more bells and whistles*, but we were broke most of the time so it wasn't until 2000 that I was able to buy another Bernina. My newer machine is great and I love it, but my attachment to my first machine is strong. I still take it out to use as a back up and it is small enough to carry to classes and workshops that don't require too much on the fancy stitch side.
For a while I have been planning on making this machine a new cover, one that would be sturdier and more attractive than the nylon, sorty flimsy one it came with (that pocket is nearly useless), I just couldn't decide what to make.
I have no problems with designing it myself and I had been thinking over different (complicated) plans, but just hadn't gotten to it. Then I came across a pattern at a quilt shop and thought that I should just get it and let someone else do the math and figure it all out for me. I mean, what I had in my head was me making things a lot more complicated with a lot of piecing and frankly, would be over-designed for what I needed. This was going to make my life easier. AND I would actually have a nice cover.
I was only changing it a little. (Surprise.... I'm changing things.) I wanted to add a pocket to the outside and an opening in the top for the handle on the machine. Make it all portable and stuff. That should be easy, right? Well, that actually was the easy part.
Following are the different ways I made this harder for myself: vision in my head, resizing the pieced panel, adding a pocket, directional fabric, forgetting to mirror image, re-cutting the mirror image wrong, directional fabric for the lining, forgetting a seam allowance when cutting the directional lining pieces and adding an opening for the handle. Those are all I can remember at the moment. Here we go.
Tula Pink Prince Charming, for those who need to know.
Don't you love the fabric!? I do, too! It is so cute, I've loved it since it was introduced, but it isn't something I would put in a quilt or carry as a bag, but a sewing machine cover? Perfect!
Things to know about the pattern: First, it has you cutting a piece of the main fabric to go over the top of the machine. If your fabric is directional you have to cut separate pieces (remembering to add a seam allowance-which I did) and seam them at the top. This is all so my little frogs wouldn't be upside down on the back side. Second, that pieced panel (which doesn't have to be pieced, that is an option which WE ALL KNOW! I am going to choose) finishes pretty wide. The pattern suggests that you decide if you want to center that panel or have it off-center, but if your machine is 15" wide or less centering is probably the best option. WHOMP! The Vision.In.My.HEAD! had it off center. Plus, if I centered that wide panel you would never see the frogs.
So. I decide to re-size the panel (remember that part about the math all having been done for me?) and I measure out my frog fabric and cut it so that you will be able to see frogs on each side of that panel. Good so far. Then I place my cut pieces for the fronts on the fabric and match them for the cut pieces on the back. Good. After that I decide on a size for my pocket and am careful to cut them to match the fabric repeat to the front pieces for continuity. Excellent. Then I piece the whole thing and press it, lay it out to take a look and it just seems not right.
If I had a fancy photo editor I could put little arrows along the seam line where things aren't matching up. See how my frogs don't line up? See how the seams on each side of the green rectangle don't line up? UGH! I should've mirror imaged the pieces for the back when I cut them so that when seamed they would mostly match up at the tops and sides. This is when the voices in my head go CRAZY!!!! The one voice is saying, "It is JUST a sewing machine cover! Who is ever going to look at it closely enough to notice that!?" Another voice is saying, "YOU WILL! And it will always drive you nuts!" A third voice is saying, "Go to bed already!" So I did. I went to bed. When it is late this is always the best plan. Sometimes I wake up and find out the problem is something I can live with, other times I am at least making the decision to rip things apart with a fresh mind. In the light of morning I knew it would just bother me for all of time. This is when I should have taken a photo, but the seam ripper came out fast. The photo above was taken after the first incision, but you get the idea.
At this point I had enough fabric to fix this. Until I cut it, and I made some mistake that is fuzzy in my memory, but it was big enough that I needed to get more fabric to make it work and you'll be happy to know that I got enough to make another cover to keep the dust off a machine that is left set up in my sewing room. Aren't you happy? I'm making another one of these. On purpose. And I almost needed more fabric to fix that one as well, even without resizing the panel and all that jazz. Excellent.
I thought I had taken an 'after' shot, but I can't find it. This shot from above shows everything lining up over the top. Some of you may be wondering why I didn't mirror image the motif on each side of the panel and I did go back and forth over that. On the wider side I did my best to center the motif between the panel and where I estimated the cover would turn the corner to the side. When I considered mirror imaging the motif on the other narrower side of the panel I could see that the frog would be off on the side of the cover and I kind of wanted the frog facing front, so I decided to cut it differently. For right or wrong, I did that ON PURPOSE, people!
At this point I finally have all of the cover together and quilt it. There were minimal issues with that, or at least I have blocked them out. I was little ambitious with the quilting, I was going for a firmer, stiffer fabric for a travel cover with a pocket than I would for a cover that is just a dust cover. (I know there is an 'I like my machine covers like I like my..... joke in there, don't tell me you didn't think it!) That just means it took me a long time for the size of it, but I am mostly pleased with it. Ignore my little mess ups, please.
Then the lining. My lining fabric is DIRECTIONAL! People! When will I learn? I didn't even notice it when I got it and I know that nobody is going to see the inside of my liner, but I just couldn't cut one piece, line the thing and leave it at that. I carefully measure my cover, divide it in two and cut. Then I was surprised to find there was a piece big enough to line the pocket without piecing, which made me happy for about a nano second, when I realized the only way that could have happened was if I forgot to include the seam allowance in the other pieces. Excellent. So! My 'make it work' mind, which is so good at fixing mistakes, figured I could cut a panel for the top of the inside and seam it in (more maths. yay.) And no, I did NOT match the repeat of the lining pieces. I don't think I had enough fabric to do it so I can't say if I would have or not. Or maybe I can say, but I won't.
In the end it all worked out, the only thing I may have changed was my measuring, I was generous and the cover could be about a half inch shorter so it doesn't touch the surface it is sitting on.
Worth every second. I have an irrational love for this sewing machine cover! I think it is the cutest thing and every time I walk by it I get a happy feeling in my chest. And to tell the truth, I loved all of the process. Now, did the other cover come out any easier........?
*More on this machine and others I dreamed or still dream of owning in future posts.
2012. Eight. I went and paid up for another year of maintaining Knitting the Blues. That was nearly three weeks ago and I haven't posted yet! I've meant to. I have lots of posts in my head. I think my goal will be to post one more time than last year. Hey, it is a goal, right? ;)