Togetherness, inspiration and creativity

Maz Makes… A Fitted Cover

Maz Makes… A Fitted Cover

Why is it that the minute you have cleared the decks, tidied the house, fed all creatures and humans who might look to you for feeding within the next three or so hours, called anyone expecting a call from you, and attended to all-important emails and anything else that might distract you, you settle yourself into your craft corner with all the materials for your next project at the ready… and then someone peeks around the corner and starts a conversation?

H: “Looks like you’re about to start a new project?”

M: “Yes,” I reply. “At last I’ve got a few hours clear to get on with making that dress for our trip to South Africa — it’s less than a month before we leave!”. Hoping that the hint will be taken that time is running out.

H: “Do you remember that you promised to run up a cover for the pool table if I could dig out the old snooker table cover with all my badges on? Look! I’ve found it! It will be so good to have the pool table properly covered while we are away. Shall I just leave the cloth here?” My heart sinks; it’s true, I did promise…

“The New Pool Table”

Oh well, dear reader. This week’s blog post is now NOT going to be about my first attempt at making a dress for myself in about five years. It’s about making a fitted cover; in this case, a cover for Husband’s new pool table. It could be a covering for anything — your sewing machine, a cake mixer, or anything you’d like to hide or protect. In this instance, to keep the dust off the pool table as it shares quarters with Husband’s hobby centre, which is often dusty!

The fabric of choice is actually a very large piece of unbleached calico, which in a previous life was a full-size snooker table cover that has many road race badges sewn onto it, reflecting a very long love affair Husband has with pounding pavements wherever he finds himself. Cloth badge hand-outs for those completing a race seem to have gone out of favour these days, so the ones he has are especially precious. Hence his request for a fitted cover made from the parts of the original cloth with the badges on.

“The Grubby Snooker Table Cover”

On inspection, I find that the cover is quite dirty (well it is nearly thirty years old!). It’s also stained in places but is otherwise more than fit for purpose. The badges seem okay but I’m not convinced that they will take a trip through the washing machine intact or without shedding some of their colour.

I began by cutting out all the badges and doing my best to keep the beautiful blanket edge stitching intact. This was to avoid having to redo any unnecessarily. I then ‘squared’ off as large a piece of the fabric as I could and put it into the machine for a good wash.

Next, I measured the full top surface of the table from edge-to-edge and consulted with Husband as to how deep he would like the side covering to be. I added 15mm (5/8th inch in old money) for each seam and 50mm (2 inches) for the hem. The fabric emerges from its launder beautiful but still with a number of stains. Fortunately, there is enough unmarked fabric for a single piece for the top of the cover and the four pieces for the ‘skirt’.

“Use The Same Principles”

Should you want to make a cover for anything, you would follow the same principles using fabric of your choice. Sometimes I make up covers using either patchwork or quilted fabric to give the cover extra strength and body.

It can be great fun designing covers like this using colours to complement your colour scheme and using designs and fabric reflecting the use of the item to be covered. Or perhaps personalising them with a name or initials! Covers like that can make wonderful gifts. It’s possible to buy pre-quilted fabric in a wide range of colours. I haven’t come across any premade patchwork as such but suspect there might well be some out there? Anyone know of any? Drop me an email if you do and I will share!

Having cut out the fabric, it was just a case of stitching it all together, beginning with the four seams attaching the side pieces to the top section.

“Top Seams Sewn Until Approx. 25mm Before Corner Point”

Over time I have found that to make beautifully sharp corners, it’s best to stitch all the seams up until about 25mm before the corner point on all three seams forming the corner. Then you should sew each seam carefully to the point where all three seams meet — BUT DO NOT CROSS — and reverse stitch for a few millimetres. Most times, I hand-stitch a double backstitch at the meeting point for extra strength and definition. After cutting away the excess fabric and neatening off the edges, it’s then possible to push out a neat sharp corner.

After sewing the two top seams to the corner point, turn it around and repeat where the side seam meets the corner.

This is the finished corner before pressing…

…And here are all seams and hem completed and ready to be pressed.

It was then time to check that the cover fitted well, which it did — hooray! Had this not been the case, this would have been the time to make any necessary adjustments. I then trimmed down the seams and finished them off with my favourite edging stitch on my Spanish sewing machine. Funny how stitches differ from machine to machine!

With the top and sides completed, I turned up the hem and stitched it into place. A good pressing with my trusty steam iron and I was ready to tackle the badges.

“Completed Cover with Those All-Important Badges”

First, I checked the edges of the badges and finished these off with a buttonhole edging stitch where necessary. I positioned the badges as requested by Husband and sewed them on using a straight stitch with the upper thread in the same colour as the edge stitching. The under thread is in a cream colour to match the fabric.

Husband was very happy with the result. However, you, dear reader, will need to wait until my next blog post to find out how I coped with my return to dressmaking. I wish I had had been able to order one of those superb Dress Forms being sold on Create & Craft — I would certainly have been feeling a great deal more confident of a good result. I’ve been suggesting to Husband that this would be a great way of saying thanks for his pool table cover! ‘Til next time!

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