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Pinafore Style Sewing Machine Cover with Renaissance Ribbons

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We've done a number of sewing machine covers in the past, all of which have been classic fitted designs. They're a great way to keep your machine protected from sun exposure and dust when it's not in use... wait a minute... not in use... how could that be?!?! A cover can also keep away prying little fingers if you have curious toddlers about. Today's cover is the free-spirited cousin of our previous covers. I like to think of it as a pinafore for your sewing machine. Three vibrant ribbons by Tula Pink for Renaissance Ribbons turn a plain burgundy twill into a designer statement. This cover drapes over your machine and sports handy pockets on both sides to keep a few tools, patterns and notions at the ready. Tula's striking jacquard ribbons create accents to finish the edges, side bands that hold front to back, and they top those handy pockets. We give you all the measuring formulas to adjust the size of the cover to fit your machine.

Beautiful ribbon is an excellent way to add instant flair to projects. Woven Jacquard ribbons, for which Renaissance Ribbons is famous, inject both pattern and texture. The majority of quilting cottons are produced by printing a design onto plain fabric. Although lovely, a printed design can never compete with weaving when it comes to design detail and vividness of color. 

Our thanks to Renaissance Ribbons for sponsoring today's sewing machine cover as well as many other projects here at Sew4Home. Did you see the recent Folklore Bolster Pillow with the brand new ribbons from Jane Sassaman

It's easy to shop from the Renaissance Ribbons online store, where you'll always find lots of fun ideas. Check out the new sewing motif ribbons, the adorable scallop-edged dainties, and the stunning metallic brocades from Amy Butler.

As with many of our projects using the colorful Renaissance Ribbons, we chose invisible thread for all our ribbon stitching. For best results, you may need to loosen your upper tension slightly. It's also a good idea to lengthen your stitch and sew at a slow and even pace. This type of thread does not stretch as well as regular thread and can break more easily under pressure, especially if it accidentally slides off the spool and wraps around the spool pin. Using a spool cap against the spool helps hold it in place on the pin, and again, going slowly and evenly helps the thread feed correctly off the spool. Finally, always sew in the same direction along both sides of the ribbon. This will help prevent any shifting and puckering. If you'd prefer not to use invisible thread, choose colors that very closely match your ribbon, and take the time to re-thread as often as needed to maintain a perfect match. 

You'll also notice we use pins to hold our ribbons in place. Another option would be to apply a little basting glue or strips of lightweight fusible web, such as Dritz® Stitch Witchery, to the wrong side of the ribbon. Read and follow the manufacturer’s instructions and test to make sure the ribbon can be easily stitched without the adhesive gumming up the needle. Some adhesives are not meant to be sewn through

Sewing Tools You Need

Fabric and Other Supplies

        

Getting Started

Measuring your machine

  1. Measurement A: Measure around the machine from the base of the front to the base of the back.
  2. Measurement B: Measure the widest part of the machine.
  3. Measurement C: Measure the depth of the machine.
  4. Our sample Janome machine measured as follows: A = 28½", B = 16", C= 7½".

Figuring the cut size for the main fabric piece

  1. To determine the length of the cover, the formula is: A + 13" for the two pockets +1" for the pocket hems. In our sample, this was: 28½" + 13" + 1" = 42½".
  2. To determine the width of the cover, the formula is: B + 1" for the hems. In our sample, this was: 16" + 1" = 17".
  3. We cut ONE 16" wide x 42½" high rectangle from our fabric.

Figuring the cut size for the side handles

  1. The width is 2½", which is sized to fit the ⅞" Tula Pink ribbon we selected (⅞" Birds & Bees on Gold). To determine the length, the formula is: C + 1" for the hems. In our sample, this was 7½" + 1" = 8½".
  2. We cut TWO 2½" x 8½" strips from our fabric.

Figuring the ribbon cuts

NOTE: Cuts are given below for the specific ribbons we chose and we will refer to them by name throughout the instructions. Refer to the key above or use the links to click through to Renaissance Ribbons. If you choose ribbons of different widths, your final look may vary. You would need to measure each of your ribbons to insure the height and width.

  1. Fussy cut your ribbons to make best use of the pretty motifs.
  2. For the wide horizontal ribbon: 1½" Pink Full Moon Owls, the formula is B + 1" for the seam allowance. In our sample, this was 16" + 1" = 17". 
  3. We cut FOUR 17" lengths of the 1½" Pink Full Moon Owls
  4. For the narrow vertical side ribbons: ⅞" Birds & Bees on Gold and ⅝" Pink Ladybugs, the formula is: A - 13" for the pockets + 2" for an overlap (1" per end). In our sample, this was 28½" - 13" + 2" = 17½".
  5. We cut TWO 17½" lengths of the ⅞" Birds & Bees on Gold and TWO 17½" lengths of the ⅝" Pink Ladybugs.
  6. The vertical ribbons on either side of both pockets are all 6" based on our pocket depth design.
  7. We cut FOUR 6" lengths of ⅞" Birds & Bees on Gold and FOUR 6" lengths of the ⅝" Pink Ladybugs.
  8. For the side handles, the cut length should be the same as the cut figured above for the side handle backing fabric. In our sample, this was 8½".
  9. We cut TWO 8½" lengths of the ⅞" Birds & Bees on Gold.

Interfacing

  1. From the interfacing, cut two strips equal in length to the side handle strips, but 1" less in width. We cut TWO 1½" x 8½" strips.
  2. Okay... the math and the cutting is done. Let's get sewing.

At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board

Side handles

  1. Find the two side handle fabric strips and the two side handle interfacing strips.
  2. Following manufacturer's instructions, center one interfacing strip on the wrong side of each fabric strip. The ends are flush and there is ½" of fabric showing to each side. Fuse in place.
  3. Press back each long side of each strip ½", right along the edge of the interfacing strip. 
  4. Find the two lengths of ribbon for the side handle. In our sample, this was the two 8½" lengths of ⅞" Birds & Bees on Gold.
  5. Center one length of ribbon along each strip, bridging the gap between the raw, folded-back sides and covering the interfacing. Pin in place.

    NOTE: If you'd rather not use pins to hold your ribbons in place, you can keep them from shifting by applying a little basting glue or strips of lightweight fusible web to the wrong side of the ribbon lengths.
  6. Thread the machine with invisible thread in the top and bobbin or carefully select all-purpose thread to match each ribbon, re-threading as necessary as you move from ribbon to ribbon.
  7. Edgestitch in place along both sides of the ribbon. Repeat for the second side handle.
  8. Set the finished side handles aside.

Cover preparation and attaching side handles

  1. Mark the pocket fold. To do this, along the top and bottom (the 17" sides in our sample), measure 6½" up and draw a horizontal line parallel to the raw edge of the fabric. Do this at both the top and the bottom on the RIGHT side of the fabric and the WRONG side of the fabric. Make sure you are using a fabric pen or pencil that will easily wipe away or vanish with exposure to the air.
  2. Place the fabric panel right side up on your work surface. Along both long sides (the 42½" sides in our sample), fold in ½" and press well.
  3. From the bottom raw edge, measure up 12½". Place a pin in each folded edge on both sides at this point. Repeat at the top raw edge, measuring down 12½" and placing pins on both sides. These are markings for the side handle placement. 
  4. Find the side handles. Place one raw end at each pin point. The outside edge of the side handle should be aligned with each marked point. The raw end of the side handle should be flush with the raw edge of the folded side hem. The side handle is facing right side up. Pin in place.
  5. You'll need to fold the main panel slightly to pin each handle loop in place. This is correct; the handles are short in order to hold front to back when the cover is draped in place. Make sure the handle is always facing right side up and that the loop is not twisted. You can baste the handle ends in place for additional security against shifting while finishing the panel preparation. 
  6. Find the long side ribbons. In our sample, this was the TWO 17½" lengths of the ⅞" Birds & Bees on Gold and the TWO 17½" lengths of the ⅝" Pink Ladybugs.
  7. The narrower of the two ribbons (⅝" Pink Ladybugs in our sample) goes on the outside. Place one ribbon right along the folded edge at the center of each side. Each end of the ribbon should extend beyond the side handle by about ½". Pin in place. 
  8. Edgestitch in place along the outside edge of the ribbon. 
  9. This secures the handle in place.
  10. Edgestitch along the inner edge of the ribbon. Repeat to attach the narrow ribbon along the opposite side. 
  11. Butt the wider ribbon (⅞" Birds & Bees on Gold in our sample) next to the stitched ribbon. Pin in place. 

    NOTE: Take the time to carefully place your ribbons. It is very important that the ribbons butt together so there is no fabric showing between the ribbons. Yet, you don't want the ribbons to overlap.
  12. Edgestitch in place along the both sides of the ribbon. Repeat to attach the wider ribbon along the opposite side. 
  13. Press well.

Creating the pockets

  1. Flip the cover over so the ribbons you just stitched in place are now facing down with the plain side facing up.
  2. Find all the 6" lengths of ribbon. 
  3. Press up the top and bottom raw edges (the 18" edges) of the fabric panel ½". Press well to set a crease, then unfold so the crease line is visible.
  4. Place one length of the narrower ribbon along the folded side edge. The bottom end is flush with the crease line. The top end is flush with the 6½" horizontal drawn line, which you did at the very start. Pin in place.
  5. Edgestitch the ribbon in place along both sides. 
  6. Butt a wider ribbon length next to the stitched ribbon. Pin in place. Edgestitch in place along the both sides of the ribbon. 
  7. Repeat to attach the two matching ribbons along the opposite side. Then flip the cover and repeat to attach the remaining four matching ribbons along the opposite 17" end of the cover. 
  8. Fold up the bottom ½" hems into place again. Press to re-set.
  9. Find the four wide horizontal ribbons (1½" Pink Full Moon Owls in our sample). 
  10. Place one length of ribbon along the folded edge top and bottom. The outer edge of the ribbon should be flush with the folded edge and the ends of the ribbon should extend beyond the fabric by ½" at each side. This ribbon crosses over the top of the vertical ribbons. If you are using a directional ribbon as we are, the motif should be facing DOWN. Pin in place.
  11. Place another length of ribbon along the drawn 6½" line. As with the first ribbon, the ends of this ribbon should extend beyond the fabric by ½" at each side, the ribbon crosses over the top of the vertical ribbons, and the motif should be facing DOWN. 
  12. Pin in place.
  13. Edgestitch in place along both sides of both ribbons.
  14. Tuck the ends of ribbon to the back and pin or fuse in place.
  15. Flip the cover over to the front and fold up the pockets into position. The side ribbons of the pocket should align with the side ribbons of the main panel. The top edge of the pocket should sit just below the side handle. Pin both sides of both pockets in place.
  16. Edgestitch the outer edge of the side pocket, running the seam right on top of the vertical stitching of the ribbon. 
  17. To secure, run a second line of vertical stitching. This one should be in line with the innermost seam of the second (wider) ribbon. 
  18. Repeat to create the pocket on the opposite end of the cover.
  19. We left one pocket completely open for wider items, such as patterns. The other pocket we divided into three smaller pockets for notions and tools. We measured 4¼" in from the innermost side of the second (wider) ribbon. You can draw a vertical line at this point or mark with pins.   
  20. Re-thread the machine with thread to match the fabric in the top and bobbin. Stitch along the the two marked lines to create three pockets.

    NOTE: If possible, use a lock stitch to secure your seam lines at the start and finish. This is a neater look than backstitching. If you do not have this function, you can leave the thread tails long and hand knot them. 
     

Contributors

Project Design: Alicia Thommas      
Sample Creation and Instructional Outline: Debbie Guild

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