This evening I’ll be packing up the car for my yearly visit to the Pioneer Village Museum Heritage Days weekend in Barron, Wisconsin. This year is the 50th anniversary of the museum. If you’re in the area, join me. It is a wonderful place and this weekend there will be many demonstrations and living history to enjoy. Check out the website at https://www.barroncountymuseum.com/heritage-days.
Well, my eldest son turned 23 last month and for his birthday he wanted me to make him an amplifier cover for his new guitar amp. I was skeptical but at the same time thought, “How hard can it be?” Once he began giving me his specifications I thought, “Oh boy, what have I gotten myself into?” He wanted it quilted and he wanted an outside pocket as well as some sort of inner protective barrier (he suggested cardboard but I had a better idea). I took careful measurements of his amp.
I purchased some navy blue duck cloth (or canvas). For an inner liner I used a dark green sheet (the elastic had worn out), cotton batting and “midnight” double fold bias tape to finish off the bottom edge as well as the handle hole.
The first thing I did was to take my measurements and make the front, back and top of the cover one complete piece. I had measured each side of the amp, so I just added my measurements together. I would have 3 main pieces, the two sides and the one big piece for the front, back and top. Then I added 3/4 inch seam allowance around the sides as well as the large piece. I began by cutting out the inside fabric (sheet). I then cut the canvas to match, and finally cut the cotton batting the same size.
I pinned the 3 pieces together and quilted them with diagonal straight line quilting 1.5 inches apart with matching thread (navy blue). I used my 1880’s Domestic treadle for all sewing and quilting as it can handle very thick layers. My next step was to make the handle hole at the center of the top. First I sewed a straight line on each side of the big piece to mark exactly where the top was and did my measurements from those lines for sake of precision.
You can see the chalk lines from the quilting and the measurement for the lines defining the top of the amp cover. I had initially thought “midnight” binding would be black, but it was not. Pinned the binding on and applied.
My son wanted some kind of protective barrier on the inside front and back of the cover. I thought quilting template might work better than cardboard. I didn’t want to use something that might deteriorate if moist. However, the only pieces of quilting template I could find were not big enough for the measurements of the front and back of the amp. I did some searching on the internet and found “2 Thick Flexible Lightweight 25x23x1/16 Translucent Polyethylene Plastic Stencil Template Sheet” on Amazon. I liked that it was thicker and I could cut each piece down to fit.
Before sewing the sides on, I cut two pockets to slide the plastic into. I used the measurements for the front and back but only went up about 2/3 of the total height of the piece, finished the top of each pocket piece (rolled 1/4 inch down twice and stitched) and pinned each pocket into place on the insides of the large quilted piece. I wanted the plastic to be removable so the cover could be washed if needed.
My son wanted a pocket on one side of the cover to carry the amp cable in. I wasn’t sure about it due to all the thicknesses. But I thought I’d try. I cut a piece of inside fabric and then the canvas to match (6.5 x 10.5 inches). I stitched them together almost all the way around. Trimmed the corners, then turned them right side out and tucked in the open (unsewn) part. Pinned it on and sewed it twice for stability. I did some extra sewing along the top of each side for strength.
Next, I pinned one side in place, wrong sides out. To do this, I matched the top corners of the sides with the horizontal lines I had sewn in to mark the top, pinned each. Then I pinned the sides, matching the bottoms. I stitched the side piece in place, carefully pivoting and easing at the corners so I wouldn’t get any puckers. Stitched again to strengthen the seam. Clip corners. Repeat the process on the second side. (Sorry I don’t have more pictures, I didn’t think of posting this until finished.)
I trimmed down the seams to within 1/4 inch and used double fold bias tape and sewed it over the seams so the cotton batting wouldn’t get fuzzies on the amp and it would look nicer. I trimmed up the bottom to make it even and sewed the double fold bias tape to finish the bottom. I then machine washed it to get rid of the chalk lines and let it air dry. I cut each plastic piece to fit and tucked them inside each front and back pocket.
Now to take it to the son’s and see if it fits well and he likes it 🙂
Perfect fit and he thinks it “cool.” YAY!
I’m looking forward to the upcoming Moon Lake Threshing Bee on August 20 & 21st. It’s very enjoyable demonstrating how to use a treadle sewing machine for those who attend and make their way to our building. The threshing Bee is a great place to experience a bit of history in Turtle Lake, Wisconsin.
Today I was finally squeezing in some time for working on my scrappy hexagon block quilt. I opened a machine I hadn’t used in awhile, my Domestic ~ boy she really sews like a dream.
As I was sewing the strips together my pitman fell off! If you don’t know what a pitman is on a treadle, it’s the rod that connects the foot pedal to the large flywheel underneath the machine. No pitman, no sewing.
There was 1 nut on the floor but to my surprise both nuts were missing. The top part of the pittman wasn’t going to fall off because the “skirt catcher” (fancy metal semicircular part that kept ladies skirts from becoming caught in the wheel) was in the way, but there was a lot of play in it. I took the bolt to my husband’s work area.
Unfortunately the old bolts have a different threading pattern and do not work with new nuts. Sitting there on his bench was a black plastic wire nut that fit perfectly. Upon trying it on the top part of the pitman, it was too long to fit in the space. I didnt want to use it at the bottom because that part takes a lot of torque when treadling. I got the bright idea to cut it in half, partly with the hacksaw and partly wih snips, and…whalla, it works.
Feeling accomplished and now back to sewing 😀
A number of years ago I came upon a Singer 31-15 at a garage sale. This machine is industrial size and was used in dressmaker factories with a motor that was able to stitch 2200 stitches per minute. Since all I had and used were treadles, that motor had to go. I found the parts I needed and excitedly converted it to a treadle. Because it is an industrial size machine the arm on it is extra long so it has more room to fit a quilt under it while quilting.
I was, however, having some trouble with the tension after awhile. I finally figured out that the bobbin casing tension screw would back out on its own and the tension would be really messed up. Now that I know that I can check and tighten it each time I change a bobbin. I wanted to tear my hair out about it before I finally realized what was happening.
Nice even stitches again 🙂
I’ve added 2 great free motion quilting products to my Etsy shop. I have used them both and find them very good products for free motion quilting on any sewing machine, although I’ve only tried them on my treadle sewing machines 🙂
The first are Grip & Stitch quilting disks.
These work great and are a great alternative to wearing quilting gloves. I find it cumbersome sometimes to take the gloves off and on to do things that require my bear fingers, like clipping threads and such. There are 2 sizes of disks in the package and the smaller one is for your right hand (under the arm of the machine) and the larger one is for the left hand. These disks grip the quilt nicely and you use them to move the item you are quilting around. I have made a demonstration video of these here.
The other new item is Machingers quilting gloves.
Of the different types of quilting gloves these are my favorite. They are very lightweight and fit your hand very well. The tips of each finger have a rubber grip for moving the item you are free motion quilting around.
You can find either of these on my Shop page of this blog or at my Etsy Shop.