Introduction: DIY Sewing Machine Cover From an Old Pillowcase | Fun Recycling Project
A short while ago I bought a serger/interlocker and it's been sitting there looking sad in a cover literally stapled together from the packaging foam, so I thought it was time for a proper cover to be made :)
I've had a 90's McDonalds pillowcase lying around for a while waiting for a project, so I thought I would repurpose it as the front and back panels of the cover. It's a nostalgic for me because I remember having a lot of birthday parties as a kid in McDonalds (and in the party bus!) I don't remember the Hamburglar looking that creepy though :o
The rest is made from leftovers from another project plus a vintage duvet cover.
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Step 1: What You Will Need
- Fabric: I used an old pillowcase and an even older duvet cover, which are both made from lightweight woven cotton, and also some blue flanelette I had left over from a previous project. The amount of fabric you require depends on the size of your sewing machine and if you want to add a lining. I would recommend woven fabrics, not stretchy.
- Rotary cutter & cutting mat; Although you could just use scissors instead.
- Disappearing/'magic' fabric pen/pencil
- Iron & ironing board
- Iron-on interfacing; I used heavy weight iron-on interfacing because the pillowcase I'm using is very light and floppy but I wanted the finished cover to have structure and basically be able to stand up on its own. If you don't want as much structure or you're using stiffer fabrics (calico for instance) then you may want a lighter weight interfacing or none at all.
- Metal ruler (& tape measure)
- Sewing machine & thread
- Sewing pins
- Hand sewing needle & thread (optional)
Step 2: Work Out the Measurements
The cover will go together in 5 parts (not including the lining). These are the top, the 2 sides, the front and the back panels.
First, you will need to imagine your sewing machine as a box shape, and measure the machine at the widest/longest/highest points when you take the following measurements.
1) Width of the machine
2) Height of the machine
3) Depth of the machine
Then calculate the size of each panel you will need, making sure to add the following amount to each measurement: 2 x the seam allowance you are going to use, plus a tiny bit extra for 'give' (as you don't want the cover to be super tight).
I personally added 3 cm to each of the 3 machine measurements as I work in metric units usually and will be using a seam allowance of 1 cm or so. The seam allowance you use is up to you, so calculate accordingly.
As an example, my machine is 30 cm high and 35 cm wide, so my front and back panels will measure (30+3=33 cm) high and (35+3=38 cm) wide.
Plan out your panel sizes before continuing...
Step 3: Cut Out All the Fabric Pieces
I used my ruler and 'magic' fabric pen to draw out the size of the front/back panels onto my pillowcase fabric. I left the pillowcase intact because then I can cut through both layers at once to make the front and back panels in one go.
Once I had drawn the outline (33 x 38 cm in my case) I used my ruler and rotary cutter on top of a cutting mat to cut out the 2 pieces.
I then drew around these pieces onto a folded duvet cover (so again, I'm cutting 2 layers at once) and cut along this line to give me 2 matching pieces of lining fabric.
So that gives me the front and back panels in the pillowcase fabric & 2 identically sized pieces in the lining fabric.
Then do the same for the sides and the top to give you 2 side panels with identical panels in lining fabric, and 1 top panel with matching lining.
Step 4: Attach the Interfacing
Next, we need to attach a rectangle of interfacing onto the back of every piece of outer fabric (not the lining) - so in my case this is the pillowcase pieces and dark blue flannel pieces.
These interfacing pieces need to be smaller than the fabric pieces by at least the seam allowance amount all the way around. In my case, I made the interfacing pieces smaller by just over 1 cm all around the edges.
The easiest way to do this is to draw around each fabric piece onto the interfacing and cut along this line. Then cut the seam allowance amount off each edge (or a tiny a bit more).
Then place the interfacing glue-side-down (the glue side is the shiny/rough side) onto the centre of the back of the fabric piece and iron all over to attach it. The iron needs to be pressed down onto the interfacing for several seconds for the glue to melt and attach it to the fabric. The corners are the most important part to be stuck down firmly.
Do this for all of the outer fabric pieces (5 in total).
Step 5: Sew the Top & 2 Side Panels Together
Place the 'top' fabric piece on your work surface right-side-up.
Then place one of the side panel pieces right-side-down on top, and line up a side edge with a side edge of the 'top' panel. These 2 edges should be the same length.
Pin and then sew along this edge (using the seam allowance you have previously chosen). I just used the default straight stitch on my sewing machine. The stitches should lie next to the interfacing rather than go through it.
NOTE: You should start and end your line of sewing stitches a short distance away from the edge of the fabric piece. This short distance should be the same as the seam allowance, so in my case this would be 1 cm. See photos above.
Then attach the other side panel in the same way by placing it right-side-down on top, and then lining up a side edge with the remaining shorter edge of the 'top' panel underneath.
Pin and sew these 2 edges together as before.
You should now have a side panel attached to each short edge of the top panel.
Step 6: Attach the Front & Back Panels
You will now need to add the front and back panels to the 'top' panel in the same way as you just attached the side panels.
So take the piece of fabric you now have which consists of 2 side panels and the top panel and open it out (right side up).
Then place the front panel face down on top of the 'top' panel. Line up 1 edge of the front panel with a long edge on the 'top' panel.
Pin & sew these edges together, again starting and ending a seam allowance distance away from the fabric edge.
* If these panels have an image on them, make sure you attach them in the correct orientation *
Do the same with the back panel to attach it to the remaining long edge of the 'top' panel.
You should now have all 5 fabric pieces sewn together in a cross shape.
Step 7: Sew Up the Sides
To complete the box shape you will now need to sew the sides of the fabric pieces together.
So line up 2 adjacent side edges and pin them together. Then sew the edges together, but stop a seam allowance distance from the bottom edge.
Do the same 3 more times to form the 4 corners of the box.
Step 8: Make & Attach the Lining
Next, take the lining pieces and repeat steps 5-7 to make exactly the same shape as you did from the outer fabrics.
Then turn the 'box' made from outer fabrics right-side-out and insert it into the 'box' made from lining fabric. So in other words, you put the outer cover into the inner cover right-sides together.
Make sure the lining is pulled up as far as it will go and the corners all line up. Then pin the 2 layers together all around the edge.
Then sew all around the edge except along one of the short edges; leave this open.
Step 9: Topstitching
Turn everything right-sides-out by pulling the fabric through the opening you left in the previous step.
Then push the lining back into the outer cover.
Along the open short edge, fold the edges inwards and then pin them together. I also placed a few pins around the rest of the edge too, to hold the 2 layers in place.
Then topstitch all around the bottom edge of the cover. I did this around 5 mm from the edge (so half of what I was using for the seam allowance). This will close up the opening in the fabric as well as finish off the cover.
Press with an iron to make it look extra crisp.
If you want to, you can also use a hand sewing needle and matching thread to do a few small stitches in each corner just to join the lining to the outer shell.
Step 10: Finished!
You should now have a sewing machine cover to be proud of!
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