Time to Give a Sewing Machine a Makeover

Painting an Old Metal Sewing Machine

When I received an old sewing machine cabinet for free, it also included the sewing machine. I love old sewing machines and use them regularly (yes, “them” meaning I have several). I gave the sewing machine cabinet a makeover so I thought I’d give one to the machine itself. Painting an old metal sewing machine is really quite easy!

Painting an Old Metal Sewing Machine - Completed

This is what it looked like before:

Painting an Old Metal Sewing Machine - Before

Once I removed the machine from the cabinet, I taped off the areas where I did not want paint – the throat plate, the needle and foot shaft, the presser foot lever, as well as the controls on the front. I also removed the belt from the handwheel and motor.

Painting an Old Metal Sewing Machine - Taped Off Controls

I applied a coat of rusty metal primer to the entire body of the machine, then applied two light coats of spray paint in a color I like to call “Obnoxious Pink”.

Painting an Old Metal Sewing Machine - Spray Primed

Painting an Old Metal Sewing Machine - Spray Painted

I also taped off the cord to the foot pedal and painted it as well.

I removed the tape then reinstalled the machine in the cabinet. This is not the original machine to the cabinet (even though I received it this way). Still, the color combo is fantastic!

Painting an Old Metal Sewing Machine - Finished Right View

Painting an Old Metal Sewing Machine - Finished Left View

Here are a few tips on painting an old metal sewing machine:

  • Cover up the parts you don’t want painted with painter’s tape
  • Use cotton balls to plug holes such as grease holes (for lubricating the inner parts in older machines) and the holes in the motor housing
  • Always use a spray primer, especially on metal
  • Apply the paint after priming according to the directions on the can – in my case, I could paint within an hour of priming and had to apply any subsequent coats of paint within an hour as well
  • Pick a color that suits you!

Painting an Old Metal Sewing Machine - Finished Front View

Using spray paint and primer, I gave a fabulous makeover to an old metal sewing machine (that still works!) and cannot wait to use it to sew something fabulous!

To me, painting this old metal sewing machine was a good choice… It came out great and I love it! Now I can’t wait to sew something fabulous with it!

Keep Your Power Tools Protected with Custom Covers

How to Make Custom Covers for Your Power Tools and Keep Them Safe from the Elements!

I’m sure I don’t need to state the fact that if power tools are exposed to the elements, they will rust. Keeping my tools covered and protected is a must – especially since I don’t have a shop so my power tools are stored under the carport. I’m not sure if there are any covers on the market that can be purchased to protect these investments. Today, I ‘ll share how to make custom covers for your power tools. This project does require minimal sewing skills so if you can sew a straight line, you are in business!

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My table saw and my miter saw (on the stand) sport waterproof grill covers and trust me, they work! The best part is that the tools are also concealed… I’m sure the neighbors are wondering what I am doing with three grills!

Before you start think that these covers will be flowery and girly, they won’t be but that doesn’t mean I won’t stencil a fancy letter “C” on them! I bought a nylon fabric with a rubberized back (similar to the grill cover fabric) a few years ago just for this task and it happens to be in my latest favorite color – grey! I purchased the fabric at Walmart but I did find a link for an online store with fabric very similar –Bonanza.com – the fabric is a steal at a little over $6 a yard and it comes in several colors!

The construction of these covers is suitable for even the novice of sewers with no fancy seams or stitches involved! Each cover will consist of a square (or rectangle) a little larger than the overall width and height of the tool – in my case, my scroll saw, band saw, and drill press – with a long strip the depth of the tool in between the two squares.

Start by measuring the tool… My bandsaw measures 36″ high at the highest point, 24″ wide at the widest point, and 16″ deep at the deepest point.

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I cut two pieces for the sides, and one long strip for the center. (Just because I can, I stenciled a giant letter “C” on the front!)

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Because this fabric is rubberized on the back, a Teflon foot must be used in the sewing machine so that it doesn’t get stuck on the rubber. Regular thread with a long stitch is suitable. Sew the strip the pieces for the center strip together at one short end of each pieces. Flatten the seam, then topstitch for a professional look.

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Pin the strip around three sides of one of the squares. As you are pinning when you get to a corner, cut a notch in the center strip so the corner will be square. Sew the strip to the square. Pin the other edge of the strip to the other square and sew.

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how to make custom covers for your power tools SANY1952 copyFor a professional look, the bottom can be turned up and hemmed. I used a 1″ hem.

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Doesn’t that look better than the plastic wrapping from the pellets for my pellet stove??

how to make custom covers for your power tools SANY1954 copyhow to make custom covers for your power tools SANY1956 copy   Now that I’ve shared how to make your own power tools, get creative and protect your investments!! Got a project you’ve completed using my plans? Share photos with me at cher {at} designsbystudioc {dot} com or designsbystudioc {at} gmail {dot} com. I would love to feature your work on DbSC!

How to Update a Sewing Machine Case

I have several sewing machines. I have been a seamstress since I was a teenager. One of my machines is a vintage Kenmore machine. That sucker is heavy (being an all metal machine) and they certainly don’t make them like this any more. The only problem is that the hard case has yellowed with age. While this is still a fabulous machine, the cover makes it look unattractive.


Enter my handy can of spray paint… I know, I know, why on earth would I paint my sewing machine case bright turquoise blue? Because I can. I love it and I have always done things that are considered out of the realm of “normal”. (Honestly, my family doesn’t even ask anymore!) Plus, it looks pretty!! I may paint the covers for my other machines (yes, machines = plural) and then I’ll have a rainbow of prettiness!

Anyhoo, I wiped the case down with vinegar to clean it up a bit and taped off the locking clips on the sides with masking tape.


I used Rust-Oleum’s Ultra Cover 2x spray paint in Satin Lagoon. I am a huge fan of Rust-Oleum paints and wood stains! I sprayed the first coat, let it dry, the sprayed a second coat letting it dry overnight.


I used my Cameo to cut out a couple of vinyl decals for the front and back.

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What do you think?  A little too bold? Naaahh, not for me!


Until next time,

Happy Creating!!

Sharing with Rain on a Tin Roof

Another T-shirt Makeover…

Another T-shirt Makeover…

I love t-shirts! They are so comfy, have no special laundering instructions, and look great for any occasion! I do get bored with a plain t-shirt. Sometimes I like to add just a little touch of something to dress them up a bit.

I bought two plain t-shirts on clearance for $3 each. I cut one in half with the intention of using the cut off portion to dress up the other shirt. I almost felt guilty about cutting one in half… What should I do with the upper portion?

Another T-shirt Makeover 1

I have been sewing more than half of my life. I have a large “collection” of fabric and decided to use a piece of knit fabric to create a bottom half for the t-shirt I cut up. Does that make sense? Let me explain…

I started by cutting my shirt in half.

Another T-shirt Makeover 2

I used the bottom portion as a pattern to cut out a new bottom from a piece of knit fabric I already had.

Another T-shirt Makeover 3

I sewed the side seams, and gave it a hem. Then, I pinned the new bottom to the top of the cut up shirt.

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I cut a strip from a contrasting fabric and sewed a seam down the center to gather the strip. I pinned it at the side seam of the shirt then gathered it all the way around. I used a zig-zag to stitch the ruffle in place, then removed the basting stitches.

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I sewed a small bow made from a strip of knit fabric to the front and washed the shirt to make the ruffle curl.

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Cute, huh? Now I don’t feel so guilty about cutting it apart. So now for the original reason I bought the shirts…

I took the lower portion of the first shirt and cut two 2″ strips. I cut the strips apart at the seam and stitched a seam down the center of three of the strips to gather them.

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I pinned the edge of one strip at the shoulder seam and the other edge at the center of the neckline, then pulled the thread to gather the strip. I repeated the process for the other side of the neckline. I stitched them in place with a zig-zag.

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I gathered the third strip tightly and wound it into a circle to make a flower, hand stitching the bottom as I went. I sewed it by hand to the front of the shirt, then washed it to make the edges curl.

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Voila! A little bit girly but still way comfy – just the way I like it!

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Until next time,

Happy Creating!

Hanging Accessories Holder Knock-Off

How to Make a Hanging Accessories Holder

Once again, I have hacked another design from Pottery Barn Teen, this one being the Hanging Accessories Holder. This is so cute for organizing accessories such as scarves, sunglasses, necklaces, gloves, etc. It could be hung on a hanger or a hook plus it is very easy, quick, and inexpensive to make! It can be made to match any decor and is another great gift!!

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  • 1/2 yd. Fabric
  • 1/2 yd. Fusible double-sided heavy interfacing (like the kind used for purses)
  • Contrasting bias tape
  • 8 snap sets
  • Medium grommet

I started by making a pattern for the holder. I made the pattern 4″ wide x 36″ long. I also drew a 1″ radius at each corner for the curve…

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I cut two pieces of the fabric and one piece of the interfacing, then fused them together with the iron. I cut two strips of fabric measuring 2-1/2″ wide and two strips of the interfacing measuring 1″ wide to make the loops. I pressed one long edge of the fabric under at about 1/4″. I repeated this for the other long edge, then brought the edges together to press a crease in the strips. I inserted the interfacing then fused it to the fabric.

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I stitched close to the open edge, as well as the fold edge, to create the loops. I also added pink bias tape to the edges of the main piece.

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I cut the strips into eight equal pieces and applied a snap to each piece.

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I marked the base piece in eight  evenly spaced places, then sewed the loops to each space.

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I added a grommet to the top of the organizer for hanging on a hook.

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That’s it! The hanging accessories holder is super-cute, customizeable storage for those hard to organize things! have any questions? Leave a comment below!


Add Feminine Style to a Comfy Man’s T-Shirt

How to Girl Up a Man’s T-Shirt

I really love those oversized “Flashdance” type of shirts… If you grew up in the 80s you totally know what I mean. If not, well, nevermind! Anyway, today, I’ll show you how to girl up a man’s t-shirt, and put your own design spin on a comfy garment!

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  • A Man’s T-Shirt (mine is an XL)
  • Fabric Paint
  • A Stencil & Stencil Adhesive
  • Scissors
  • Pins
  • Sewing Machine

The sewing part of this project is super-easy so if you’re a beginner, don’t fret! You CAN do this!!

Pre-wash your t-shirt.

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Pin the shoulder seams together. Make a semi-circle with your pins about where you want to cut the neckband out as shown in the picture.


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Cut away the neckband.



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Using your sewing machine, sew a straight stitch or decorative stitch around the neck. This will keep it from stretching out too much! You can use matching or contrasting thread – its up to you!


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I used Plaid Simply Stencils and metallic foil for the screen print on my shirt. They have an adhesive back so the stencil won’t slip. If you are using a regular stencil, spray stencil adhesive on the back following the manufacturer’s instructions. You could probably tape the stencil to the shirt but it may still slip a little…


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I applied the foil glue to the stencil and let it dry overnight. Wash your stencil immediately after painting or using glue!


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After the glue is dry, the foil is applied and covered with a piece of paper, then ironed. This heats up the glue and the foil sticks to it. If you are using paint, use sponge “daubers” (little round sponge brushes) to apply the paint. Use and up-and-down motion rather than a side-to-side motion. This keeps the paint in the cut-outs of the stencil and not where you don’t want it!!



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Here is another example of a shirt, this time with a pocket!


How to Girl Up a Man's T-Shirt SANY0164And that, my friends, is how to girl up a man’s t-shirt… No need to raid his closet because men’s t-shirts come in a rainbow of colors and are so inexpensive!