Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Muslin Hanger Cover tutorial

These hanger covers are a nice way to dress up an ugly plastic or wire hanger.  They also would help hold those slinky fabric tops on the hanger as well.
The sky is the limit fabric wise. You could make it as simple or as funky as your heart desires.
So let's begin with the supplies:
 Your sewing machine, needles and coordinating thread.
Scissors
Pins (if you're into that sort of thing)
an iron and ironing board
fabric--(6 yards of 45" wide fabric should make 25 covers)
For the Lily's Closet Project we have been asked to use unbleached muslin. Just in case you were curious, on the left is unbleached (and un-ironed, ha!) muslin, on the right is bleached muslin. See the difference?
The lovely folks at Lily's closet will take these simple blank slates and stamp them each with their logo for a consistent, sophisticated look through the whole store.

Your fabric for these does not need to be pre-washed.  Since I don't imagine these will be washed frequently you don't need to worry about them shrinking.  Also, if you don't pre-wash, you won't have to do as much ironing to get the fabric crisp enough for folding and cutting.  I am a big fan of ironing when it is necessary, but when it is not, I am not.

Print out your paper pattern.
You can find the PDF here . . .(edit: It seems the PDF is printing out small, if you go this route, add about 1/4" all around when you are cutting) or, e-mail me and I'll be happy to e-mail the PDF, or even snail mail a copy.
It will print on two sheets of 8 1/2 x 11 paper.  Make sure the box in the corner prints to the right scale and then cut out your pattern. You will have to piece the pattern together and tape it. It will need to overlap a bit. It should be easy enough if you match up the lines and the letters.
After you assembled the pattern, place it on your fabric.  I like to fold my fabric selvedge to selvedge in half and then in half once again.  This gives you four layers of fabric to cut through and will be about 11" wide if you are using 45" wide fabric. Place the long straight side of the pattern on the side of the fabric that has both folds.
I like to trace out lots of hanger covers on my muslin and cut them all at the same time. I use my disappearing ink marker, but you could use a pencil or even a sharpie.  These lines will be inside and won't be seen.
Cut around the pattern or on the lines you traced.  If you folded your fabric in quarters like I did, you will have two shapes like this one above once you open things up.
On the bottom of the hanger cover, turn under about 1/4 of an inch and press.  If you iron well, you won't need to pin this and that saves a ton of time.
Turn another 1/4" up to encase that raw fabric edge. Press that well and your bottom hem is ready to sew!
But wait!! Don't sew yet!
While your iron is hot and you are standing at the ironing board go ahead and iron down 1/4" on the top of the hanger cover.
. . . and another 1/4" to encase that raw edge.

Repeat the ironing of the bottom and top hems for the second piece of fabric.  If I am making a lot of these, I like to put one on top of another and iron two of them at once.  The folds aren't quite as crisp that way, but they are sufficient.

Now, you are ready to sew.
Start with your bottom hem.  Take a straight stitch along the top part of the hem.  This should be around 1/4" from the very bottom of your hem.
Once you've gotten to the end of the first one, grab the second.
I don't even waste time cutting my thread. I just keep my machine a humming and continue sewing the second hem.  It's a little trick I've learned from quilters who are sewing lots and lots of little pieces together at a time.  They call it chain piecing.

It may not seem like much, but if you are making, say one thousand hanger covers, these little time savers add up.

When you get to the end of that second hem you can clip your threads, including the line of thread in between them if you used my little time saving method above.
And move on to that top hem.  You can chain piece here too. Sew 'em both up.
You should now have two hanger cover halves that are nicely hemmed on top and bottom.  If your hems need it, you can iron them now, it's up to you.
Lay out your two pieces, right sides together. You are getting ready to sew around the curved portion, so if it helps you, you might want to pin these now.  I don't pin. I just live on the edge like that.
You want to sew around the edges of the hanger cover now, leaving the hemmed top and bottom edges open.  I use about a 1/4" seam allowance here.  That means your stitches should be about 1/4" from the edge of your fabric. Don't stress this, just find a line on your sewing machine to line the fabric up with and go for it.
This is what your seam should look like. One on the right from top to bottom and one on the left from top to bottom.  
You can see my stitching isn't perfectly 1/4" from the edge all around. No biggie. Just so you are close.
Again, the areas you hemmed (top and bottom) should not be sewn together. They are the opening to put the hanger in to. 
With your hanger cover still inside out, take your scissors and clip your curves. Be careful not to cut through your stitches here!
Clipping the extra fabric around the curves like this helps the finished product to lie flat and not wrinkle or bunch up.
There are four curves to be clipped, two at the "neck" and two at the "shoulder".
Once the curves are clipped, turn your cover right side out and press.
You're finished!
Only 999 more to go!

Again, if you are willing and able to help with the Lily's Closet hanger cover project, please e-mail me ASAP and let me know how many of these you think you can make and mail by the end of the month!
402CenterStreet at gmail dot com

Thanks!

~Lindsay

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