After the success of the 880 Plus dust cover, it was time to do one for the Q20 longarm. I thought about the design a bit and two hours after starting to sew it, I decided to check the internet for ideas that others may have come up with. It’s then I saw Bernina made one. Just my luck. Then I saw that it wasn’t on the Bernina Australia website yet so I kept going, plus I wanted it to match the 880 one. The Bernina one is black and grey.
I’ve only found about 5 other longarm dust covers online but their design are very different to mine. Because the table is against the wall, I wanted to be able to easily put it on from the front. I didn’t want have to take the top of the thread stand off either. So it matched the other cover, I also wanted to use the 1/8th inch felt instead of batting inside. On top of the machine (above the screen) is a little tray with thread snips, quick unpick and other notions and I didn’t want to remove that each time the cover went on. As far as I could see on the Bernina cover, the foam pads on the thread stand weren’t covered (I may be wrong about that as I’ve only seen the one photo) and I wanted mine covered. While I didn’t make a plan, I’ve included rough measurements and an idea of the general construction toward the end.
With these goals in mind, the main cover had to be in two pieces and accommodate the thread stands. The back half was easy enough to make and extended past the back of the machine to go around the cord. Velcro was added along the front vertical sides so it could attach to the front half. That was easy enough to do. I didn’t put the felt in the back panel covering the cord and switch plate but it did have three thicknesses of fabric in there to give it a bit of substance.
The front had to be a bit taller and overlap the back half enough to cover the Velcro. There was a cutout for the horizontal thread stand and one for the vertical stands. This is where I could have done it a little differently so I’ve put that idea later in the post.
Having thought about it today, I didn’t have to cut out that main section, I could have just popped two eyelets in the fabric where the spool stands are and created a U shaped slit around the large pole. Here’s what I did instead. This insert has a lot of excess around the edges to be hand sewn to the cutout area. I had to make it in two parts as there’s a flap at the back that tucks under the back slit. The piece of felt inside is one piece so it was a little tricky to insert but works perfectly.
A couple of important tips. To make the felt snug between the two layers of cheap white fabric and the feature fabric, I sewed a basting line along the edges with the zipper foot.
And now for the finished result. The felt hasn’t quite flattened out from being on the bolt at the fabric shop. I also made up covers for the thread stands. I even fussy cut the flower on the horizontal one.
This cover has taken about 10 days to do minus mowing the large yard and looking after the goat, etc. It has been a great challenge, more fiddly than anything and I’m so proud of it. I always think the hardest thing is to trust that you can do it. I highly recommend the design. I don’t think I’ll leave the thread stand covers on at all times as the main cover does a great job. My advice is not to read all of this at once. Just read one section at a time or it’ll be an information overload.
As requested, here are the rough measurements. I have measured seam to seam. These measurements do not include the seam allowances. Measure your machine to make sure you’re happy with the measurements. Some of the measurements are better in centimetres than inches. This is because I’m an Aussie and a quilter and I use both imperial and metric and I don’t have a soft tape measure in inches.
My cover fits really well but it doesn’t have to. Don’t let the amount of measurements overwhelm you or put you off. It’s not 5 sides of a cube. I hope these diagrams make sense, you do not want to see my original scribblings! I’ll add more tips along with the photos.
If I say left or right side, it’s referencing when I’m facing the machine, for example, the bobbin winder is on the right side.
Because my felt is grey and I had a white background on the feature fabric, there are 4 layers to each piece so the grey wouldn’t show through the feature fabric. The layers are: feature fabric, a cheap piece of white fabric, the felt and another piece of cheap fabric underneath. I sewed the fabric pieces together to make a pocket and inserted the felt afterwards, then sewed up the last seam. You may wish to look at the Bernina 880 cover post to see more photos of the pockets. If you use white felt or a darker feature fabric, you may not have to use a layer of fabric between the feature and the felt.
The back cover
The left and right sides along with the top is one piece.
I sewed the back panel on to the main piece first and didn’t sew the seams that kiss the desktop by machine until I had fitted it to the machine so I could hem it at the correct height. These were hand sewn as shown in the pictures. I’ve got the cover sitting just above the table top. As previously stated, there is no felt in the back panel.
In the picture above, there are two rows of top stitching going to the top corners of the back panel. These were done to help crease the felt so it would form a sharper corner. There are two in case one was in the wrong spot (they weren’t) and they are 1/4″ apart. The top stitching on the lower sides (1/2″ from the bottom) was there to straighten the felt as it was still used to being wound around a bolt at the shop. These lines are optional.
The front cover
This is the more challenging part but is doable. Obviously if you don’t have the horizontal spool holder, you may not wish to do the cut out for it. I recommend doing even just a slot for it as you may discover the pleasure of using #100 silk thread that is best on the horizontal spool.
Like I said earlier, I’d probably go with doing some eyelets for the two upright spool holders as it would look neater if that top piece was one piece only. In that case, make up a paper template to get the right positioning for the eyelets. If you wanted to do a third eyelet for the larger pole, that’s doable, you’d just need to take off the thread guide section at the top each time to put the front cover on. The whole cover goes on in seconds so it’s not going to be an issue. I’ll try to explain that better with a diagram when we get to it.
The front panel is (15″) 38.2cm tall x (6.89″) 17.5cm wide. Like the back cover, I hand-stitched the hems that kiss the desktop so they were at the right height then top stitched 1/2″ from the bottom.
Now comes the tricky cut outs and you can do these anyway you like. Cut the felt only first.
With the cutout for the horizontal spool on the left side, I did it this way because I was going to make that separate cover like a President Lincoln (Stove pipe) hat and shove the brim into the circular cut out. As I didn’t do that, I should have just cut thin U shape out of the felt to go around the pole.
Measure how far back the spool holder is from the back of the front cover as shown below. I’d make the slot width about 1/2″ so there’s a chance for a narrow seam allowance.
To sew this pocket (made up of the feature fabric and two layers of cheap fabric) accurately around the cut out, I used quilters clips to hold the felt on top of the pocket pieces and sewed an ~1/8″ line away from the felt leaving enough of a gap on one side to turn the pocket right side out and insert the felt. This was done with the zipper foot. Alternatively, mark the outline of the felt onto the pocket fabric and sew ~1/8″ away from the outline.
Earlier you saw a photo of the top cut outs for the main spool/thread guide. I probably wouldn’t cut out that rectangle, instead I’d do this where that cut out was:
This area will be the bit that needs to be the most precise so make up a paper template before cutting the felt and sewing the pocket. Any way you do it, it should look something like this.
The horizontal spool cover
This can be made square or cylindrical. The circle on the end was 2″ or 5cm in diameter so it fits over the thread disc. The circumference about 7.25″ or 18.4cm. I’d just put batting in the pocket instead of the felt as that was a bit bulky in there. The length of the cylinder is 4″ or 10.3cm. A little flap with some Velcro was added on to the end that kisses the cover and a corresponding piece of Velcro was added to the cover so it doesn’t get knocked off.
The main spool cover
Congratulations if you’ve made it to the end of this post. I rarely write instructions or measurements for things. If you have any other questions, feel free to contact me and I’ll add the answers onto this post.
If you’ve come up with a cover design, please let me know, I’m interested in seeing how other people have made one.
Happy quarantine quilting,