Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Skulls for School: Sewing with Alfred

“When you come to visit, will you help me with a sewing project?” Alfred asked during one of our excited phone calls leading up to my visit.  “Of course.”  Alfred’s a pretty simple person, so I figured whatever she wanted couldn’t be too complicated.  I was sort of right.

Alfred explained that at her work – she works at a dental school – there’s a lot of old xrays that she’s helping to catalogue.  The school has a special scanner for digitizing these xrays, and dust was getting into the scanner. Dust in the scanner is not a good thing.  She heard of another group who had a cover for their xray machine and thought her school should have one, too. 

Mommy had just made a plethora of really cute sewing machine covers for her hoards of sewing machines.  “Ok,” I thought, “I can just modify Mommy’s sewing machine cover pattern a little bit.”  That general idea worked, but it turned out to be more than “just” and way more than “a little bit.”  The xray scanner is rather huge.


It’s deep; you can see here it’s as deep as the counter, which is deeper than the computer tall.  It’s tall, almost two-computer towers tall.  And it’s wide.  It’s also not as nicely rectangular as Mommy’s sewing machines.

Alfred and I went to her work and took measurements of the scanner, every dimension.  Then we headed off to her local JoAnn’s to find the perfect fabric.

And boy did we ever find the perfect fabric!  Luckily, JoAnn still had some old Halloween fabric on clearance.  It took us about a half hour and two sweeps of the whole store to find it, but once we did, Bingo!  Dancing skeletons for the main body and teethy skulls for the ruffle trim.  Perfect for the scanning dental xrays.

fabric sample 1fabric sample 2


The machine cover pattern Mommy had used had a few odd errors in it, which were compounded when I multiplied fabric-piece measurements to match the behemoth machine.  I found myself trimming off extra inches on the main piece after it was assembled.  And somehow, I didn’t multiply enough for the trim fabric, so the ruffle couldn’t go all the way around and still be a ruffle.  That turned out to actually be a good think as there wasn’t enough room behind the machine for a ruffle anyway.

Alfred’s machine was not a fan of stitching on the heavy batting and I repeatedly had to pull tangled masses of thread out of the bobbin feeder.   Alfred shrugged; she had no idea how to make it work better and neither did I.  In a final fit of frustration, I called Mommy.  She waved her magic Mommy wand and the machine started behaving.  I don’t know how she does it, but that always seems to work.

By the time I finished sewing the lining into our giant, quilted box, I wanted to hide inside of it and scare Nathy-Boo.  It seemed the perfect size.  I was wrong; I’m bigger than I think.

When it was all done, we took the new machine cover to Alfred’s work and put it on the machine.  It fit nicely, yay!  I hope they have been getting good use out of it.

Wendy and cover

Pattern: Moda's Half Moon Modern Sewing Room: Sewing Machine Cover

1 comment:

Jeannie said...

I'm surprised the machine had trouble with the batting - it is designed for quilting, according to the machine name - Quilt & Sew. But the cover does look nice, and it should do it's job of keeping the dust out of the machine, as long as they use it.