Monday, January 26, 2015

"Evie" in Wire Art!


When I was in the process of opening my Etsy shop many moons ago, I "met" a lovely lady from Australia (Tasmania, no less!) named Jane who makes enchanting fabric and wire art. She heard of the birth of my little Evie and sent a sweet rendering of her name which I have been wanting to share with you guys.
Isn't it delightful?  "Evie" in Jane's own handwriting.
Her choice of fabric couldn't have been more perfect because I immediately wanted to display it with a precious pic of my sleeping babe.  (It only took how many months to actually do it?)
While brainstorming on ways to mount both picture and name, I discovered today that weaving embroidery floss through burlap is my new favorite pastime!  Why didn't I think to scatter a few thread flowers around the border?
Do try embroidering burlap when you get the chance!
And see what Jane is up to at her Planet Joy facebook page and Etsy shop :o).  I love, love, love her happy ribbon wreaths.

Thank you Jane!
p.s.  My sleeping babe today:
Also known as "Queen Sticky Hair."

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Slipcovering! Part II

Sheeeeee's done!

Part I, if you missed it.

I prefer her photos in black and white.

So sleek.  So classy.  So...not brick red!  Improvement?  Yes.

The before and after:

I seem to have forgotten to take the exact same "after" pic as the "before" but I think you get the idea.

Turns out I didn't have to hit the fabric store for serger thread and was able to finish up the finishing sooner than I had anticipated.  (Plus, I told myself that I couldn't start painting the basement until I polished off the chair and I really want to start painting the basement. :o)

My poor serger.  It hasn't been in use for a while and here's how I found it...

I don't deserve to have nice things!

No fear, it cleaned up nicely -- which is good because it had a lot of work to do.

Pro tip:  The key to re-threading a serger is confidence.  They can smell fear. 
There were all sorts of options for putting the slit in the skirt for the recliner arm, but I ended up just doing this.

The fabric shows through and a flap is probably needed behind.  Or maybe I'll safety pin a piece of fabric there and call it good.

More angles of everything:

The original footrest skirt I made oh-so-long-ago is too short, but I can live with it.

In case you were wondering, this was the audience while I took pictures:
She's been so pleasant since she decided she can run on half hour naps.

Anyway, that's about it.  Oh, except that I put ties at the back of the seat cushion cover. 
I was happy to find an anchoring solution as that was the only part of the slipcover that had me worried.  Hopefully all of the pieces stay in place because reaching into the recesses of this recliner is terrifying.  You're apt to lose a finger.
She's not perfect, but we like her!
I'm on the hunt for a cute decorative throw pillow.  Maybe pink velvet.
Here's my next chair that needs slipcovering:
Ain't she a beaut????
The little kids like to pull off the cushions and turn it into a mini-trampoline.  It gets a lot of hard use but I don't want to spend much money on it so I'm having a hard time deciding what type of fabric to use.  Duck cloth is a popular choice for slipcovers and at $7-$8 per yard (for 60" width), it's certainly the most economical option when you need 8 yards, but I was hoping for a light gray fabric and I can't seem to find light gray duck cloth.  Medium gray sure.  Light gray?  Not so much!  Also, for stain hiding purposes, a patterned fabric would be preferable, even if it is tone-on-tone or part of the weave.
I thought I found something I wanted but it didn't work out.
The fabric search continues.  Any suggestions?

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Slipcovering! Part I

You know what they say.

"A poorly slipcovered recliner in the hand is worth two in the bush."

Or something like that.

Despite the challenges of sewing with little people in the house (click to the end of the last post and you'll see what I mean), suddenly I am into slipcovering in a big way friends.  Big.

I'm gonna slipcover EVERYTHING.  Okay, so maybe not everything, but *at least* two things and we don't have a lot of furniture which means -- most of the things!

Why? Well recently I had to swap out the back couch cushions in my living room and replace them with some mismatched cushions from a hand-me-down couch we had in the basement (ironically, those cushions weren't even original to that couch!).  After ten years, five moves, four kids, and a run-in or two with a bottle of Desitin, our living room couch was in rough shape to begin with.  Add some old floral cushions and yikes.  Not good!  I pulled out a hand-me-down cream slipcover (thanks Ang!) and put in on the couch and...kind of liked it.  The original cushions didn't fill it out right so it never quite worked in the past, but with the "new" cushions?  What an improvement!  A breath of fresh air in our cold-weather house arrest.

Where could I get more of this fresh air?

Sew slipcovers.  Yes, yes, yes.

Upon surveying the house for ideas of what to cover-up with fabric next, it occurred to me that I have been suppressing a certain venture I made into slipcovering about seven years ago.  Believe it or not, I had once tried to do this chair:

Lazyboy recliner bequeathed to us by my in-laws.

I got a very good start on it too.  And then I went into labor with my firstborn about twelve hours later and that was the end of that.

However, since then I have carted along all of the stuff to cover it in the hopes that one day I would be inspired to start anew.

Yesterday was that day!!! 

This is what I had to work with when I began again:


 The back comes off, in case you can't figure out the perspective in those pics!

Anyway, what was left to do was cover the removable back, figure out the logistics of finishing the seat portion, and make the skirting.

I finished everything but the skirting!

I know, I know -- my living room carpet kills me too!  New flooring definitely has priority over new furniture at this point.

FYI, the fabric is a lightly brushed cotton twill fabric from Calico Corners.
Very soft and much better in person.

Did I mention I have no living idea what I am doing?

In this next pic, I had finished the top and was trying to figure out how to do the back of the seat:

 I don't know if this was the best solution, but after looking at the bottom portion of the chair --

 I decided keep the arm portions detached from the seat cover -- but attached to each other.  Like this:

A recliner bolero.

I should interrupt this part of the recap to inform you that during one point of the construction process, I took a break to give my littler two kiddos a bath.  After the bath, my son (that's him, pictured above) ran out of the bathroom stark naked, climbed upon the chair, and tinkled on it!

Cuz, seriously, this is my life.

Moving on.

Here's the current state of things:

 I have a plan to slit the side skirt for the handle.

Another couple of hours to skirt and do the handle and maybe even serge (if I make it to the store for serger thread), and it should be done. *fingers crossed*
Stay tuned for Part II!

Why have I been afraid to do this for all of these years?  Am I the only one intimidated by sewing for furniture?

p.s. I have supplies for another chair in transit.  :o)

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Curtains and Drama

"I'm having an identity crisis!" I told my husband one night.  "I'm not sewing or blogging!"

The very next day I surveyed my sewing prospects and decided to finally tackle hemming those Ikea curtains I purchased for my living room two months ago.

Notice my ever-morphing sewing space.  The table I had for my machine was needed elsewhere and now I'm sewing standing up at an island counter pushed against the wall.  The set-up works pretty well.

I had four curtain panels that were all too long, as you know Ikea does not sell 84" curtains.  Anyway, things went along quite swimmingly for a while and I managed to hem three that day.

I sewed one panel at a time because I rarely ever do "assembly style" sewing.  The reason being, I almost always do something wrong right up front and there's nothing worse than replicating a mistake four times over.

For each panel, I measured down from the top and then folded the panel a couple of times and cut it while it was folded so that I didn't have to do any extensive marking:

Not how you are supposed to do it!  As I look at it though, the beauty of cheap sheers is that you can improve upon their craftsmanship even when you use sewing hacks because they are almost always shoddily made in the first place!

To put in the hem, I cut a five inch seam allowance (measuring 89 inches from the top of the tabs) and pressed that up:

Opened the fold and pressed the raw edge into the middle:

(I wonder how long I can keep *new ironing board cover" on my to-do list?)

Turned that raw edge back in, pinned, and sewed.

Since the sheers were cotton (I prefer cotton sheers myself!), the fabric cooperated nicely.
I had to laugh when I got to the third curtain panel.  Clearly it was the one from the "hiding spot" behind the couch in my living room because there were some interesting stains where my little people have been cocooning themselves in the curtain.  I confess I sewed clear through a patch of smeared toothpaste -- my poor machine!  I had to do it though. If I didn't sew first and wash later, would it ever have gotten done?
Word from the wise.  These type of curtains are best taken out of the dryer early and pressed damp. 
Much better!
My plan is to do more sewing and blogging here soon but I have to admit I've been rather demoralized by this latest attempt.  While I stepped away for fifteen minutes to finish up the last curtain panel (I told you things were going along swimmingly "for a while"), my darling two-year-old got into cough syrup and we ended up making a precautionary trip to the emergency room.
Don't worry, he was totally fine.  However, there is nothing quite like clearing six inches of snow off of a minivan with a toy hockey stick and then spending a couple of hours alone in a hospital room with four small children to make you wonder whether or not you really need a little bit more sewing in your life.