Friday, April 16, 2010

Sewing Machine Cover

For someone who sews, you would think that I would have made a sewing machine cover a long time ago. Instead, I put it off until my machine started to look really dusty and I knew it had to be done. (which is more than a year after getting my present machine)

So, I made a very simple cover that is basically a big rectangle that lays over the machine and ties on the sides, and it's reversible.

It was really simple to make, and I should have done a tutorial, but totally didn't think of it. I'll explain what I did anyway. I think it will make sense even without pictures.

1. Measure your machine. You measure from the bottom back, over the top, to the front bottom. Do this at the thickest part of the machine, usually on the right where the dials/buttons/etc. are. Then measure from side to side. Add about 1 inch to that measurement so the cover will not fit too tight, and then also add seam allowance. Here's an example using a 5/8in (standard) seam allowance and the measurements from my machine. You, of course, would use your own measurements and your preferred seam allowance.
first measurement = 27in
second measurement = 15in

27in + 1in = 28in 15in + 1in = 16in

5/8in seam allowance x 2 = 1 1/4in

28in + 1 1/4in = 29 1/4in 16in + 1 1/4in = 17 1/4in

The underlined numbers are the measurements you will be using.

2. Cut two rectangles from your fabric that are the dimensions you came up with above. (Ex: 29 1/4in x 17 1/4in) You can use two different fabrics so that you can alternate the look.

3. Lay the rectangles one on top of the other with the right sides together and pin all around.

4. Now we have to mark where the ties go. For this, I just laid the "cover" on my machine and marked where I wanted the ties to go. There will be four ties, so your marks should look something like this.
5. Now we need to make the ties. You can use whatever you like for this, ribbon, yarn, sewn fabric strips, etc. I used bias tape that I sewed closed. You can make the ties any length you want as long as there is enough length to tie them. I made mine about three times as long as the width of my machine (front to back). If your ties are thick, you may need them a little longer, and don't forget to account for seam allowance! (If you decide to use yarn, cord, or something that may pull out of the stitches, be sure to tie a knot on the end that will be on the inside.)

6. To attach the ties you need to sandwich them between your two pieces of fabric where you made the marks. Get them straight, and pin them where your stitch line will be so they don't shift around.

7. Now it's time to sew! You will sew all the way around leaving an opening so you can turn it all right side out. Also, back stitch over the ties to make sure they're secured well. Then clip your corners. It should look something like this.

8. Turn your cover right side out and get the corners pushed out right. Now you can either press the seams, or do what I did. I just press the seam with my hands and pin it in place. It isn't really any faster, but I don't have to pull out the iron!

9. Now top-stitch all the way around, making sure the opening is closed, and your done!

I guess this ended up being a tutorial after all. Hope it made sense, and if I made a mistake somewhere let me know so I can fix it. Hope everyone has a good weekend!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

The Ugly Fabric

Whenever I get fabric for cheap (or free) I keep it. Usually, I have no idea what to do with it and sometimes it's just plain ugly. I just can't let it go though. I know that one day I will find the perfect use for it. That is exactly what happened with this blue and white stripe fabric that I've had for several years.

I knew that it was good fabric. It's denim, so it's strong, but the blue and white stripes reminded me of some terrible Bermuda shorts from the early 90's. Yeah, it's THAT kind of denim. I kept it anyway figuring that one day I'd find some useful purpose for it. (preferably something that would never be seen lol)

Well, not only did I finally find a use for it, but I now love this fabric and wish I had more! My girls needed a laundry hamper in their bathroom and ,to save space, I decided to make a bag to hang on the back of the door. The fabric is perfect. It is strong enough to hold a lot of clothes, and the stripes go great with the beach themed bathroom. Now I wish I had enough for a new shower mat and curtain too. It turns out that the fabric wasn't ugly, it's just the way I was looking at it!

(Sorry for the not-so-great pic, there is practically no natural light in this bathroom.)

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Shorts Pattern: Part Two

I decided to work on getting some shorts made before I start the romper/play-suit. I just need shorts more, and the 90 degree (Fahrenheit) weather around here reminded me just how much!

*Note: If you're wanting to make shorts for yourself, I included a link in my last post that has instructions for drafting a pattern. It would probably be best to draft the pattern using the waistline you plan to wear your shorts at instead of lowering the waist after drafting the pattern. I only did this because I plan to use my pattern for several different styles of shorts, and like to cut corners. lol

So, I started by tracing the pattern from my last post onto a new piece of paper. (I'm using freezer paper.) The freezer paper is transparent enough that I was able to put the original pattern under the paper for tracing. Here is what the original pattern looks like:

A 1 1/2 in hem is probably a little much, but with hems I'd rather have too much than not enough. Anyway, I lowered the waist on the new pattern. To do that, I measured down from my natural waist to where I want my shorts to sit. I then measured down from the waist on my traced pattern the same amount and marked that as my new waist line. Since the top of the original pattern is not straight, I decided to measure from the topmost point and square a straight line across. You could also measure down from both points and connect the points with a line. I'm not really sure why I did it the way I did. (hope I didn't mess it up! lol) Here's a pic of my finished pattern:

The front is on the left and the back is the right. I also added a fly to the pattern. That was a pretty lengthy process to explain, so I'm not gonna do it in this post. If you'd like me to make a post about it, leave a comment. If enough people are interested, then I'll post how I did it.

*Update* I finally got around to making this pair of shorts with some lightweight dark colored denim.  I can never remember to get a picture of them, but they are the best fitting shorts I have ever had.  I will definitely be using this pattern a lot.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Shorts Pattern

Yesterday I actually got motivated to start working on one of my projects. I drafted a pattern that I will be using for both shorts and hopefully a romper/play-suit. I have a great book on pattern drafting, but I actually used instructions I got offline for this. It was a google preview of a Caribbean home ec. book that you can see here. The instructions are in both metric and standard measurements, so anybody can use it. I also like that you start off by drafting a skirt and then use that to draft the shorts, so I actually ended up with two patterns. Here are the shorts.

I made them to be at my natural waistline, because that's how I want the romper to fit. When I make the shorts I will trace this pattern, lower the waist and add a fly to the front. If I want elastic waist shorts, I'll just add some width by cutting down the middle and spreading it out with extra paper under the cut. I can even use it to make pants by lengthening the legs. I will make a waistband too, and there are instructions in the link on how to do that.

I made a muslin with the pattern, and was surprised how well it came out. I expected to be making a lot of adjustments, but none were needed. What a relief! lol

On my pattern I free-handed the crotchline, but it was tricky. I have a french curve, but it just wasn't right. After I finally got it the way I wanted, I remembered a trick I've used to make the girls pants. It didn't help me this time, but it will hopefully help you. Just use a pair of shorts or pants that already fit you well. Fold them in half down the middle and line the curve of the crotch up on your pattern and trace. It won't be perfect, but it will give you a good guideline to trace.

It also has you curve the upper outside seam. The french curve failed me here too, so again I free handed it. One thing I can tell you here, is to get one side right, and use that one to trace the curve for the other side. I didn't do this, and the sides didn't match up as well as I'd have liked. I'm actually gonna go back and fix that part before using the pattern again. Of course, if you have a flexible ruler then you could just use that. (mental note: buy flexible ruler!!) ;)

Hopefully I'll have a finished product to share soon!

*Edit* I tried matching up the outside seam curves, and it doesn't work. So free-handing it is apparently the only option. It didn't make the pattern too hard to work with though. When I tested the pattern it came out fine.