How to Sew: A Reversible Sewing Machine Cover

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Whew! April has been buuusy! There have been weekends away, best friends visiting, and lots of sewing lessons, classes, and dog walking to attend to. My poor baby Bernina has been a bit neglected, but that’s about to be made up for. The warm sun has been shining in Portland, and all I can think about are cute summer dresses and skirts, made of some lovely jersey and voile!

Until I can get to those dresses and skirts though, my machine will sit to the side and become a bit dusty, which isn’t good AT ALL! I don’t want extra dust in my machine (and you shouldn’t either), and I’m sure it agrees with that decision. A sewing machine collects enough lint from fabric and thread fibers that whir around as it works, so it doesn’t need any extra help getting gunked up from fur, dirt, and whatever else is in the air! A sewing machine cover will not only look nice in your sewing room- it’s a good stash buster and a quick project to make. Plus, if you make it reversible, you can flip it anytime you get tired of looking at the same ole’ print!

To begin, measure your machine in two ways. First, get the width of the machine from side to side. You can make your cover as wide as you’d like- I preferred to cover only the actual machine and not the whole extension table too. I made my cover 17″ wide so that I could just throw it on and not make it line up perfectly to cover the machine. I think that means I’m only half-way a Type A personality. At least that’s what I’m telling myself.

Then, measure the machine from the front to the back, making sure to measure over the widest part of the machine. I wanted my cover to go over the handle and part of the extension table so it touched on both sides, so I measured down to my sewing table. My end measurement was 30 1/4″ long.

You can now create an actual paper pattern for your machine cover, or you can cut fabric to fit the width and length. Don’t let me hold you back from gettin’ cah-razy!  Make sure you add 3″ to both the length and width measurements. This accounts for a bit of shifting later when you quilt the cover, and adds in your 1/4″ seam allowances.

Now you don’t HAVE to put batting in your cover and quilt it if you don’t want to. But if you don’t, it will probably look like a shirt was thrown over your machine in some kind of pre-sex flurry. Don’t look at me- you’re the one making this choice. I’m just letting you know what the rest of us will be thinking.




So you’ll need:

  • 2 pieces of fabric cut to your machine length (+3″) and width (+3″)
  • batting the same size as your fabric
  • clear elastic, twill tape, or fabric ties for each end to hold the cover in place
  • quilting thread
  • walking foot

It took  me quite a bit of time to decide what I wanted to have on my cover. I had chosen to piece three strips of fabric for one side, and I was messing with some flower appliqué for the other. I spent more time on this than I really want to admit, but I was finally able to settle on a doe and her bunny friend. I’ve been needing some happy Spring colors around here!

Usually if I’m going to appliqué, I will use a lightweight fusible to affix the design, and then I’ll stitch the edges of everything down in place. Since I’m 99% sure I’ll never throw this cover in the wash (let’s be real here), I didn’t want to use up time and thread on this project. So I took out some Heat n’ Bond and ironed everything down. The Heat n’ Bond has a better hold over time than lightweight appliqué fusibles, and the edges are less likely to fray than if I had done nothing. The one thing to watch out for with Heat n’ Bond is that you need to use a stronger needle when quilting, because the glue is thick.

The opposite side of Little Miss Prancing Deer Pants and Bunnykins are two fabrics from my stash, and a purplish/pinkish print from Bolt. I used the lines on the purple print to do some straight line quilting with my walking foot to keep things from getting too wonky.

You don’t have to use a guide bar to make perfectly parallel lines if you don’t want to. That’s just Miss Occasionally Type-A coming out. And apparently Miss Likes to Name Things is here to join her too.

Now that your cover is quilted, you can cut it down to your original measurements, plus 1/2″. The extra 1/2″ added to each measurement accounts for the 1/4″ seam allowance you’ll need to bind the edges. My quilt ended up being 17 1/2″ x 30 3/4″. When you’re cutting down the mini-quilt, stay at least 1/2″ away from any design you’re featuring on either side, or your binding may end up covering it up.

Once your cover is cut to size, drape it over your machine so that it lines up how you’d like it to. Put a pin in the end of the cover, marking the center of it. Then, put another pin in the cover, marking where your elastic, ties, or ribbons will be to hold the cover in place. When you take the cover off of your machine and fold it along the center pin location, you will probably see that one side is longer than the other, due to bulk on either the front or back of your machine.

Measure from the center fold down to the pin, and repeat that measurement on the back. Keep the same measurement for the front of your cover, and pin your elastic in place. Remember to think of how the elastic will have to act, and slightly twist it to keep it happy. Sew your binding on as you normally would for a quilt, allowing the elastic to pull and fold the cover as it wants to- don’t fight it! If you don’t use elastic, and do ties instead, it will be easier to sew, but I prefer to use clear elastic so I don’t even notice it’s there.

Finish off the rest of binding and you’re done!

Now get used to pushing your cat off of your sewing table constantly because they think you’ve just made them a tiny kitty tent.

  • That is such a great idea and cute fabric you chose – Thanks for sharing this!

  • Maree

    Yes, I can imagine my cat doing that – she already lies in the crook of my arm when I’m on my laptop, a habit learned as a tiny kitten but she now weighs 5kg. Thanks for the inspiration. I’ve signed on to your craftsy course on overlockers (what we call sergers here in Australia) and I’m looking forward to getting going on it.

    • Hi Maree! Yes, Duncan loves to eat/steal/spread out on anything I’m working on. It’s hard to piece the quilt I’m doing right now because he keeps taking over my table! I hope you make and enjoy the sewing machine cover. I’m also so glad to hear you’re in my Craftsy course! Thanks for signing up. 🙂