During National Sewing Month, doesn't your trusty machine deserve a brand new outfit?! A cover keeps your machine protected from dust and sun exposure when not in use, and a custom sewn cover in gorgeous fabric can be a very pretty alternative to what may have come with your machine. Decorative stitching in multiple colors plus button accents add a bit of flair to our design. Have fun with your fabric selections to best match your décor; we recommend coordinating two prints with one solid – a solid is the best background for the decorative stitching. Read on to see how we measured our Janome Skyline machine to determine our cuts. There's also a pattern download provided for the curved side panels.
This cover finishes at approximately 20" wide x 13" high x 8" - 10" deep (the sides are angled as explained below) and is sized to fit a Janome Skyline S5, which is approximately 19" wide x 12½" high x 6" - 9½" deep. The fit of the cover is designed to be comfortable, but not overly loose. The other measurement we used to determine our cuts was the distance up and over the machine from front to back which on the Skyline is 31".
Tab loops at each side as well as a traditional center handle make it easy to lift the cover up and off.
The Janome Skyline S5 has a wide base, so our downloadable side panel pattern is created to be narrower at the top and wider at the bottom. If your machine measures differently than ours, you can adjust the pieces for a more custom fit. We suggest first creating a paper or muslin prototype from our suggested measurements and the side panel pattern – don't forget the seam allowances; if you're making a paper pattern you can't just butt together the pieces. Try this paper sample on your machine, then adjust as needed. Focus first on the side panel; your machine may work better with a side panel that is even from top to bottom. Once your side panel fits, adjust the main center panel to wrap smoothly and sit flush along the bottom. Working with a prototype like this is how the majority of our patterns here at Sew4Home are created. This simple shape is a great way to start on your own DIY pattern-making adventure.
Piping accents add definition to the side panels and the top of each pocket. We used pre-made piping, but you could certainly make your own if you can't find a good coordinating color match. Check out our full, step-by-step tutorial on making and attaching piping.
Pellon Flex Foam™ between our exterior and lining layers is what allows this cover to hold its soft shape so well. Lift off the cover and simply set it off to the side to store; it stands up on its own. But it's also flexible enough to flatten to store, or hang it from a hook by one of the side tabs.
We used a variety of the decorative stitches available on the Skyline S5. It's like a mini stitch sampler, and a nice way to feature some favorite stitches right where you'll see them each time you get ready to sew, reminding you of these and dozens more that may be just the right embellishment for your next project.
We originally used fabrics from the Utopia collection by Art Gallery Fabrics. This is an older collection that is no longer readily available. Below are a few newer alternatives we love. Click on a swatch to learn more.
From Fat Quarter Shop:
Want to make sure your entire sewing room is on the Best Dressed List? We have four other sewing machine covers and a serger cover. Check out:
- Skirted Sewing Machine cover
- Pinafore Style Sewing Machine Cover with Renaissance Ribbons
- Bari J. Paris Apartment Sewing Machine Cover
- Sleepytime Sewing Machine Cover
- Serger Cover
Sewing Tools You Need
- Sewing Machine and standard presser foot
- Zipper foot
- Satin Stitch foot; optional, but great for decorative stitching
- Walking or Even Feed foot; optional but helpful when working with the multiple layers - we use the Janome built-in AcuFeed™ Flex fabric feeding system
Fabric and Other Supplies
Yardage shown below for the prints allows a bit extra for fussy cutting.
- 2 yards of 44"+ wide quilting weight cotton in a solid color for the main front panel, the lining, and the binding
- ¾ yard of 44"+ wide quilting weight cotton in one coordinating print for the front accent panel, one side panel exterior, and two pocket exteriors
- ½ yard of 44"+ wide quilting weight cotton in a second coordinating print for one side panel exterior and one pocket exterior
- 1½ yards of 20"+ wide flexible foam interfacing; we used Pellon Flex Foam - the non-fusible option, although the one-sided fusible Flex Foam would also work
- ½ yard of 45" wide medium-weight fusible interfacing; we used Pellon Décor Bond
- 3 yards (two packages) of ½" piping in a contrasting color; we used Wrights Maxi Piping
- ¾ yard of 1" wide webbing/belting in a coordinating color; we recommend Dritz 1" Belting
- TEN-TWELVE ¾" - 1" buttons; we recommend a variety of styles and textures but all in the same or a very similar color - we used 10 white buttons
- All purpose thread to match fabrics
- All purpose thread in FOUR+ coordinating colors for the decorative stitching; we used Ivory, Charcoal, Dark Red, and Minty Aqua
- Tear-away stabilizer or similar, as recommended for your machine, for the decorative stitching (we simply used the Décor Bond as our stabilizer); you need three strips at 4" x 22½"
- See-through ruler
- Measuring tape
- Fabric pen or pencil
- Seam gauge
- Seam ripper
- Rotary cutter and mat
- Iron and ironing board
- Straight pins
- Hand sewing needle
Getting Started and Pattern Download
- DOWNLOAD AND PRINT: TWO copies of our TWO pattern sheets: Machine Cover Side Base and Machine Cover Side Top. These two sheets have been bundled into one PDF file to make the download easier.
IMPORTANT: Each page within the PDF is ONE 8½" x 11" sheet. You must print the PDF file at 100%. DO NOT SCALE to fit the page. There is a guide rule on each page so you can confirm your final printout is to scale.
- Cut out each pattern piece along the solid line.
- Flip over one copy of each set and butt together (do not overlap), aligning the horizontal arrows printed on the pattern. Tape together. Then, aligning the vertical arrows of the top and bottom, butt together the top and bottom halves and tape together to create the full pattern piece.
- From the solid fabric, cut the following:
ONE 21" wide x 22½" high rectangle for the main exterior panel
ONE 21" wide x 33" high rectangle for the main lining
ONE 12" wide x 7½" high rectangle for the front pocket lining
TWO 3½" x 31" strips for the bottom binding
- Using the full pattern, fussy cut the following for the side panels:
From the solid, cut TWO
From accent fabric one, cut ONE
From accent fabric two, cut ONE
From the foam interfacing, cut TWO
- The remaining foam panel will be cut during construction.
- Cut away the top of the pattern, and use the bottom half to fussy cut the following for the pockets:
From the solid fabric, cut TWO
From accent fabric one, cut ONE
From accent fabric two, cut ONE
NOTE: We took extra time to pattern match the motif from each side panel to its pocket.
Finally, cut along the dashed line to remove the seam allowance, and use this smaller, bottom half of the pattern to cut TWO from the mid-weight interfacing.
- From the remaining main accent fabric, fussy cut the following:
ONE 21" wide x 11½" high rectangle for the main exterior accent panel
ONE 12" wide x 7½" high rectangle for the front pocket
- From the tear-away stabilizer or fusible interfacing, cut THREE 4" x 22½" strips.
- From the remaining fusible interfacing, cut ONE 12" x 7" rectangle for the front pocket.
- From the webbing/belting, cut ONE 8" length and TWO 6" lengths.
- The piping will be cut during construction.
At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board
Create the three pockets
- Find the three pocket fronts, the three pocket linings, and the three pocket interfacing panels (two side pockets and one front pocket).
- Cut a length of piping to fit across the top of each pocket panel.
- Using a Zipper foot, machine baste the piping along the top edge on the right side of each pocket panel. The seam line on piping's insertion tape should sit ½" in from the raw edge of the fabric panel, which means the edge of the insertion tape will not be flush with the fabric panel as shown in the photo below.
- On the two side panel pockets, place a lining panel right side together with each exterior panel, sandwiching the piping between the layers. Pin along the top edge only.
- Following the basting seam line of the piping, stitch through all the layers across the top edge only.
- With the pocket exterior and lining flat, place an interfacing panel against the wrong side of the exterior panel, aligning the top edge of the interfacing with the exterior/lining seam line. Following manufacturer's instructions, fuse the interfacing in place.
- Fold the exterior and lining wrong sides together. All the raw edges should be flush and the piping should be evenly visible across the top. Press flat.
- The front pocket is assembled in a similar manner as the two side panels, except you will fuse the interfacing in place first onto the exterior panel, then stitch the top AND both side edges, leaving just the bottom open to turn the panel right side out.
Assemble the side panels
- Find the two exterior side panels, the two foam side panels, the two finished side pockets, and the two 6" lengths of webbing/belting.
- Place an exterior side panel right side up on each foam panel. Lightly pin around the outer edge. If using a fusible foam, simply fuse in place, following manufacturer's instructions.
- Place a pocket right side up on each side panel, adjusting as necessary for a good motif match. This may mean the bottom edges of the pocket and panel are slightly off. This is fine as long as it's not more than about ½"; you will trim the bottom edge flush all around prior to binding. Pin the pocket in place.
- Draw a dividing line down the exact center of each pocket panel.
- If necessary, re-thread the machine with thread to best match the fabric in the top and bobbin. Re-attach a standard presser foot.
- Stitch around the entire outer perimeter of the panel through all the layers, using a ¼" seam allowance. This allows you to work with the multiple layers as one unit.
- Stitch along the drawn center guideline, through all layers, to divide the pocket panel. For the neatest look, use a lock stitch at the top of the pocket. Or, leave the thread tails long and knot off at the back.
- Fold each 6" length of webbing in half to create a loop and place the raw edges of a loop at the top center of each panel. Machine baste in place to secure.
- Cut a length of piping to fit along the sides and around the top of each side panel. There is no piping along the bottom straight edge of the panel.
- Re-attach the Zipper foot.
- The thickness of the foam will add dimension to the seams, so the seam allowance needs to be a bit larger than normal. To account for this, place the raw edge of the piping's insertion tape ¼" in from the cut edge of the side panel. As a guide, you can use the stitching line you made above when stitching the fabric layers to the foam. If using fusible foam, you will need to measure or use a guideline on your machine's throat plate.
- In addition, make sure your bobbin thread is one that will stand out against the white of the foam interfacing. This is important as you'll use this bobbin seam line as a guide line later when stitching the side panels to the center panel.
- Set the side panels aside.
Create the main panel with its decorative stitching
- Decorative stitching forms best when it has some backing to help stabilize a thinner fabric, such as the quilting cotton we are using. You can use a tear-away stabilizer or a mid-weight fusible, which was our choice. You don't want to interface the entire center panel because that would destroy the overall softness and ruin the look of the quilting stitches that finish the cover.
- Working on the wrong side of the fabric panel and using a measuring tape, measure and mark along both 21" sides of the 21" x 22½" main panel. Place the first mark ½" in from the outer raw edge to account for the seam allowance, then measure in 2" increments across the entire 21" width.
- If you measure accurately, you should end up with your final mark ½" in from the opposite raw edge.
- Using a long straight edge, connect the top marks with the bottom marks with continuous vertical lines. You are working on what will be the wrong side of the panel, but it is still a good idea to use a fabric pen or pencil that will easily wipe away or disappear with exposure to the air or the heat of the iron.
- Place the three 4" stabilizing strips against the wrong side of the panel, using the lines as your guide. The outer edges of the right and left strips should be aligned with the ½" lines at either side of the panel. The center strip should sit between the 8" and 12" marks at the center of the panel. Following manufacturer's instructions, fuse the strips in place. Pin in place at the outer edges if using tear-away
- Flip the panel to the right side and draw in three guidelines: one down the center of each stabilizing strip. You can re-measure and re-draw the same marks on the front as you did on the back, or simply lift up the edge of the panel and transfer the center marks from the back to the front.
- Using a long straight edge, connect the top marks with the bottom marks to create three continuous vertical lines. You are now working on the right side of your fabric, so confirm your making tool is correct.
- Re-attach a standard presser foot or a Satin Stitch foot.
- Before doing the final decorativing stitching on the panel, do some test stitching to determine the stitch patterns, stitch width, distance apart, and thread color. We used seven lines of stitching in each of our three stitch areas (on top of our three strips of stabilizer). All our stitches were formed at a 9mm width. We used four thread colors in three pairs of two plus a more dominant accent color (dark red in our sample) for each center stitch line. The stitch lines are approximately ¼" apart; we used the edge of our presser foot as a guide.
NOTE: On the Skyline S5, we used the following stitches: from Mode 1: #68; from Mode 2: #45, #46, #56, #67, #68, Below are close-up illustrations of our stitch patterns with their corresponding thread colors.
- Start with the center line of each stitch group. For the best and most consistent stitching, always stitch in the same direction on the panel. We also recommend using a Start/Stop button control rather than your foot pedal if you have this feature on your machine. This guides the fabric evenly and at a steady pace, which gives you a beautiful finish. Although you may think you are delivering even pressure with your foot pedal, it's very easy to drift into a sporadic slow-fast-slow pace, which can put stress on the fabric and thread and cause the stitches to form less perfectly.
- The number of times you need to re-thread and change the stitch pattern will depend on your customized design.
- We did each set of seven stitch lines independently, changing color as we worked from the center to the outside (first working to the left of center, then to the right of center).
- Using a pressing cloth, press the final panel flat.
Complete the main panel and add the quilting lines
- Find the 21" x 11½" front accent panel. Place the panel right sides together across the bottom of the main panel. If you have directional elements in the decorative stitches and/or the accent fabric, as we did, make sure you are aligning the top of the accent panel with the bottom of the main panel. Pin in place.
- Using a ½" seam allowance, stitch the panels together. Press the seam allowance down towards the accent panel.
- Use this completed main panel as a pattern to cut a foam panel.
- Place the fabric panel right side up on the foam panel and lightly pin around the outer edge. Or, if using a fusible foam, fuse in place now.
- Again using your original 2" increment guidelines, re-draw the quilting lines as necessary. There is a quilting line to either side of the center decorative stitching block, one line at the inner edge of both the left and right stitching blocks, and one line down the center of each blank section between the decorative stitching blocks. That's six quilting lines total as shown in the drawing below.
- Your guidelines should extend through both the main panel and the accent panel.
- If possible, attach a Walking or Even feed foot or engage your machine's built-in fabric feeding system, such as the Janome AcuFeed™ Flex system.
- Re-thread the machine with thread to best match the solid color of the main panel in the top and bobbin. Lengthen the stitch.
- Stitch along each drawn quilting guideline through the fabric and the foam. As with the decorative stitching above, always start at the same edge and stitch each line in the same direction to avoid any weird diagonal wrinkles.
- When all the quilting lines are finished, baste around the entire perimeter of the panel, staying within the standard ½" seam allowance.
Front pocket and top handle
- Find the completed front pocket.
- Place the main panel right side up and flat on your work surface.
- Place the pocket right side up at the solid color edge of the panel. It should sit approximately 12½" in from the raw side edge of the panel. You want the edgestitching along the left edge of the pocket to align with the quilting line to the left of the center decorative stitching block. Use this as a guide. The bottom raw edge of the pocket should be flush with the raw edges of the panel. Pin in place.
- The machine should still be threaded with thread to best match the solid fabric in the top and bobbin. Re-set the stitch length to normal. Re-attach a standard presser foot.
- Edgestitch the pocket in place along both sides. Remember, the left seam should be in line with the quilting stitch line.
- Create a pocket dividing line, using the quilting stitch line to the right of the center decorative stitching block as your guide line.
- Find the 8" length of webbing/belting. Fold under each end 1".
- Pin the webbing in place at the middle of the panel. It should sit over the center decorative stitching block and be centered side to side. Pin in place at each end.
- Secure each end with an approximate 1" X-box of stitching, lining up the inner edge of each box with a quilting line on the panel.
Attach the side panels
- Fold the main panel in half widthwise and mark the center point at each side edge. These should be in line with the handle you just attached.
- Place the side panel right sides together with the main panel, aligning the center marks of the main panel with the tabs at the top of each side panel. Pin in place.
- Fold the main panel down, wrapping and easing it around the rounded top corner of the side panel. Move down the side, pinning the two layers right sides together. The bottom of the main panel should match up with the bottom square corner of the side panel.
- Repeat to align, wrap, and pin the opposite raw edge of the side panel to the opposite raw edge of the main panel.
- Repeat to pin the remaining side panel in place.
- Attach a Zipper foot to stitch the layers together. Remember above when we told you to make sure your piping basting seams on the panels had a contrasting color in the bobbin? You can now use this visible stitching line as a guide line to stitch the panels in place, guaranteeing you will be stitching right along the piping cord.
- Stitch both side panels to the main panel.
- Turn the cover right side out. Trim any unevenness from the bottom edge, and stitch around the entire bottom edge with a zig zag to flatten and secure all the layers.
- Find the main lining panel and the two lining side panels. Fold each piece in half and mark its center top with a little snip.
- Following the same steps as above for the exterior of the cover, pin the side panels to the main panel.
- Re-attach the standard presser foot.
- Since the thickness of the foam will make the inside of the cover a bit smaller, use a ⅝" seam allowance for the majority of the panel seams, but ease back in to ½" when you get to the bottom edges so that it will match the exterior at the base.
- Leave the lining wrong side out. Find the exterior cover, which should be right side out. Place the lining inside the exterior so the two are now wrong sides together.
- Align the seams, trim away any unevenness along the raw edges, and pin the layers together.
- Machine baste the layers together together all around.
- Thread a hand sewing needle. Unlike a lined bag where the force of gravity helps keep the lining in place, the lining of this sewing machine cover will want to drop out when you lift the cover off the machine. To help hold it in place, hand stitch through all the layers at either end of the handle and at the top of each side panel seam.
Binding and buttons
- Find the two 31" x 3½" strips. Place the strips right sides together and pin along the two 3½" ends.
- Using a ½" seam allowance, stitch both ends to create a loop.
- Press open the seam allowances, then fold the loop in half, wrong sides together. Make sure the raw edges of the loop are flush. Press well.
- Turn the cover wrong side out. Place the binding strip right sides together with the exterior of the cover. The raw edges of the binding strip should be flush with the bottom raw edges of the cover. Pin in place all around.
- If possible, attach a Walking or Even feed foot or engage your machine's built-in fabric feeding system, such as the Janome AcuFeed™ Flex system.
- Using a ½" seam allowance, stitch all around the bottom edge through all the layers.
- Bring the folded edge of the binding strip up and around the seam allowance to the lining side of the cover. The folded edge should cover the seam line that attached the binding. Hand stitch in place all around. This is similar to how a quilt binding is attached.
- Find the buttons. Space them evenly along the quilting line between the left and center decorative stitching blocks. We used ten ¾" - 1" buttons, spaced approximately 2" apart on center.
- Using a variety of thread colors from the decorative stitching lines, stitch each button in place through all the layers.
Project Design: Alicia Thommas
Sample Creation: Kathy Andrews, What Sew Ever