Decorating · Sewing · Slipcovers

From Drab to Fab

I have to admit when I was asked if I could slipcover over these Arhaus chairs, I wasn’t sure it would work. With the attached pillow-type curved back, I knew it would be a challenge.  I took that challenge and was determined to find a solution so that my friend could get updated chairs to put in her room.

I decided to make a partial under-slip for the top part of the chair to smooth out the back first.  Then I could treat the back as normal. It ended up looking similar to a wingback.  Easy-peasy.

My client decided on a Robert Allen print that would work well with her floor rug, compliment her brown leather couch and give the chair a fresh updated current look.  The print would also work well with the décor and fabrics in the adjoining rooms so if she wanted to move things around they would look great no matter where they landed.  IMG_0257

So with my scissors, pins, and bobbins all loaded I began the transformation.  I was antsy to see the end result.   But slipcovers are a patient and methodical process….there would be no races on these.  There was a lot to match and think through.  Because of the directional print with a repeat, I had my client order extra fabric. I had to be very careful in cutting my pieces and matching.  I wanted to match as much as I could not only on each chair singly but in relationship to each other and from the back view to give the chairs a professional clean and upholstered look. I think I achieved that.

Things were coming together great when we had a tornado warning and a two-hour power outage in the last couple hours of work.  So the dogs and I hunkered down in the basement, with the slipcovers, trimming and clipping seams. 

Initially we thought we would do a Velcro closure on the back, but with the extra tuck in and small “wings”, I was able to make a solid back for a cleaner very fitted look.  You just slip it on, position it, tuck, smooth and wallah! You can hardly tell it is a slipcover.  I am so happy with it and hope my client is too.

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Creative Things · Decorating · Organization · Sewing · Slipcovers

March Home Projects

March felt more like winter than February, but nonetheless, spring is officially here!  But with spring comes the urgency to get things done before the lazy hazy days of summer are upon us. I get motivated to clean, organize, sew, and decorate. Check out what’s been happening in my happy place.

Cushions, Pillows and Chairs….oh my!  My porch cushions were in desperate need of new cushions.  Not only were they dirty, but the fabric had started to tear.  I figured I could get a few more years out of the cushions before actually replacing them so I found a pretty cherry red fabric that would feed my soul for my red obsession.   Since I’m so willy-nilly with commitment to fabric and upholstery, I wanted a solid color so I could change it up at will with throw pillows.  I accented the chairs with lumbar pillows made with a Solarium outdoor fabric in a boat house print.

Homage to Cows      The SML area is surround by the most beautiful farmland I have seen in a while with lots of cows.  It reminds me so much of growing up on a farm (minus the hills). I wanted something fun to redo the cushion on this antique rocker I found at an estate sale so  I found this fun 100% polyester fabric in a brown cow print from Fabrics.com.  It’s unexpected and I think goes with any decor in moderation.cow chair edited

Garden Decor Sprucing Up      A few pieces of garden decor were chipped and needed a bit of a sprucing up. Nothing a little spray paint couldn’t handle.  To achieve an aged patina look, I first sprayed the little boy with a black/bronze color.  I then took a cloth sprayed with a wee bit of green paint and rubbed it on areas of the boy to give him a whole new look.   I hot glued a little butterfly on his hand and it looks good as new!  I was so happy with the results, that I started looking around for more things that might need a quick touch up.

Bippity-Bobbity-Boo       In just a few weeks I will be heading to the happiest place on earth with my daughter’s family.  I wanted to make something special for my little princess, Addy.  She loves to dress up and the colors will be beautiful with her long curly blond locks and bright blue eyes. So, while visiting my grandkids and while they were napping I whipped up this cute little sundress full of Cinderellas.

New Accent Pillows      With warmer weather coming, I lean towards lighter fabrics that look fresh, clean and natural.  I found a remnant of this pretty blue linen-like textured fabric that was just enough for two throw pillows.  A little burlap trim and it’s done.IMG_0435

Spring Cleaning & Springifying      House chores and cleaning are always a bit easier to swallow if you can break them down by season and in manageable chunks so you don’t feel like you are spending your life cleaning.  After being shut in all winter, it is so nice to open the windows and doors before the pollen and heat come. I noticed some yellow film on outside furniture already so my time is running out.  So we opened the windows, cleaned the blinds, washed the rugs, dusted, cleaned windows, switched out front door wreath, cleaned filters, changed batteries, put out my spring decor, switched out pillows and throws, uncovered the lawn furniture, planted my rosemary and sprang forward.  The list is long and some things will just have to wait until next month because it is just too dang nice outside to work all the time. Happy spring y’all.

 

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Decorating · family · Sewing · Slipcovers

Shades of Gray

This busy mom and teacher had a beautiful unique couch that she had purchased before two kids and two pets came along. It has a wood frame with a  neutral colored linen cushions and back.  Thankfully slipcovering the cushions would be a perfect solution to breath new life into the couch, give it a whole new look and be removable to easily wash as necessary.  She was looking for a simple solid color that would work with the original color of the couch so that she did not have to slipcover the back.

I found the perfect linen rayon blend at Jo-Ann’s that hit all the criteria.  It was washable, charcoal gray, and had coordinating fabrics that we could incorporate to transform the whole ensemble and room.    The linen shrank quite a bit after the initial prewash so I washed it again to be safe.  The original fabric had a nice sheen to it, so be aware, that even if it says it is washable, you will loose that nice stiff feeling and pretty sheen….but you have a nice durable washable fabric.

With the six cushions behind me, I was anxious to redo the wood side chair and accent pillows that would pull it all together.  The chair’s seat was removable so I would just recover the seat with the gray patterned fabric adding some the matching gray piping to tie it into the couch cushions.  The back however, had a wood trim and arms that we didn’t necessarily want to completely cover.  I simply made a piping-trimmed cut-around on the arm to give it a clean line and added a Velcro closure on both sides for easy removal.

A few accent pillows in a steel blue linen and matching print and wallah!   What do you think?

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Gray is such a wonderful backdrop color that goes well with so many different accent colors.  It she decides she wants to change it up in a few years, it’s no big deal to change out the fabric on the chair and pillows. I love the versatility of slipcovers.

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Creative Things · Decorating · family · Sewing

February Home Projects

What’s not to love about February?  It’s the reward of a short month after what seems like the longest month of the year. And right in the middle of the month is Valentine’s day which just happens to be my birthday.  So yeah, I love February.  It also gets me anxious and thinking about spring next month.  This year  it wasn’t hard to think about that because of the incredibly unseasonably warm weather.  Even with it being a short month, I managed to squeeze in a few of home projects.

Potting Table     Ok, I can’t take credit for this, but it was my idea and my wonderful husband made it happen.  I love the idea of having a green thumb and I’m sure having this potting table will inspire me.   I already see evidence of the bulbs I planted in December and January well on their way to blooms.   With a lake house the focus tends to be on the back yard, the dock and the area around the water.  We have such potential in our front yard and I wanted to be sure to utilize and enjoy that as well.

Master  Bedroom Window Toppers       Even though we have faux wood blinds on all our master bedroom windows, the sun shines through on a summer morning and on rare occasions our dogs actually allow us to sleep past 5 am.  I was looking for something natural looking that didn’t look heavy or distracting.  I decided on a mounted bleached drop cloth faux roman shade.  I made my own burlap ties out of leftover burlap which saved me a ton on money.  I needed fifteen yards and at $6 a yard for store-bought I knew I had to be creative and resourceful. I added a nonfunctional covered button strictly for the detail finish.IMG_9875

Master Bathroom Window Covering     Originally we had some wicker style roll shades on our bathroom windows.   But in order to maintain privacy we had to keep them down most of the day which then led to a very dark bathroom.   I love the airy country feel of café curtains and these windows would work perfectly for that.  It would allow us to let the light and view of our front yard in on the top half of the windows while still providing the privacy needed in a bathroom.  I actually found the curtains ready-made at Homegoods, hemmed them to fit into the window casing and then folded, pressed and clipped the pleats to give me the finished look.

Pillow Bed        This was a fun project I wanted to do to give my granddaughter the option to sleep on the floor if she needed to be in the same room as my daughter when she came to visit in February.  I got a super deal on this fun animal print flannel from JoAnn’s and found the pattern on Pinterest.

Teepee     Who doesn’t love a fort?   This was such a fun project that my husband and I worked on together.  I did the sewing and he took care of the hardware. It’s lightweight, easy to assemble and to take down. You can easily store it under a bed or in a closet.  Addy slept in it a couple of nights during her visit.  I see Addy and Ben having fun with this for some time to come.IMG_9910

I’m still finishing up my patio cushions.  They are almost done but will slide the completed project into March.  Other projects on my agenda include slipcovering a wing back chair at the lake and recovering the seat on a beautiful antique rocking chair I found.

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Decorating · Sewing · Slipcovers

A Sunny Little Chair

This slipper chair looked great before the slipcover but because it sits in a sunroom with lots of sun, the once bright yellow fabric had turned more of a mustard color.

My client loves yellow and found a beautiful fabric from Fabrics.com that is rated to withstand 1000 hours of sunlight.  Since it is an indoor/outdoor fabric I didn’t prewash it to preserve the protective features of this fabric.

To avoid the original fabric from showing through,  I made a snug white slip for the chair.img_9783  I decided on a separate slip as opposed to a lined slipcover so if she decides to make another slipcover the chair she will not have to worry about any fabric showing through and won’t have to go through the expense of a new lining.

She wanted a short box pleat and covered buttons on the back to change-up the style. I also made a matching rectangular pillow for her to use either on the chair or to coordinate in her room.  It features an envelope style back for easy on and off.

I think it turned out great and dresses up the chair just enough.

Coming Up:  After ordering many samples of outdoor fabric for my own patio set I finally  decided on a beautiful red fabric (Solarium Rave Cherry to be exact) from JoAnn’s at 60% off!   img_9835With ten cushions to redo, that’s quite a savings! I’m really looking forward to the fresh clean cushions for our front porch at the lake house.  I am also working on a cool couch and chair redo for a client who has two small kids and two small dogs.  Slipcovers are a necessity!

The warm weather tease we’ve had over the last few weeks has us all antsy and thinking about spring.  Now is the perfect time to update your patio furniture cushions. Email or call me for an estimate.

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Crafty Things · Creative Things · Decorating · Sewing · Slipcovers

Unusual Useful Upscale

I’ve slipcovered ottomans, parson chairs, loveseats, arm chairs, side chairs, wingback chairs, benches, and bar stools but never a piece like this!  This was a fun little project that included a little arts and crafts as well.

My client brought me this unique piece to recover.  She was envisioning a laundry cart or possibly a cart for towels on a boat dock.  We decided a nautical look would be a good fit.  Keeping with the repurposing theme, she brought me some salvaged duck cloth.

The arts and craft portion of this project included painting nautical stripes on the fabric.  I simply taped off the stripes and used a sponge brush to dab acrylic paint within the taped off areas. I carefully removed the tape to reveal the stripes.  After letting the paint set for at least 12 hours, I heat-set the fabric.   This process allows the piece to be washable should it need to be removed and laundered.

A side zipper for easy removal, silver grommets on each side for either fabric or rope handles and a simple hem to reveal the wood base and wheels,  finished off this unique piece.

What a transformation! This project should make you look at your old furniture pieces a little differently and imagine the possibilities.  What can I do for you?

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Decorating · Sewing · Slipcovers

Coral Cuteness

My client brought me a couple of interesting and challenging projects to work on to kick-start the new year.  She inherited these two great chairs from her grandmother.  Chairs like this are worth the time and effort to update, giving them a new purpose and a fresh look.  They were solidly built and held up well over the years, but were definitely in need of some attention, as you can tell by the fabric wearing through on the arms. 

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Her plan was to anchor the ends of her farm table with the chairs.  She wanted to find a fabric that would coordinate with her Pottery Barn pillows and table runner and compliment the area rug; something fun and whimsical with a little pizzazz.  She decided on a  coral geometric print for the chairs and a dark rosy color for the piping and trim that matched the back of the pillows and complimented the table runner. I think the chairs will be a nice accent pop of color to her room.  

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This chair was not without its challenges, though.   In order for the fabric to lay smoother on the curved interior tufted back of the chair, I decided to piece the back in three sections with contrasting piping to help with the matching of the pattern as best I could.  I like the vertical lines it gave the piece, breaking up the pattern just enough.

The other feature we needed to consider was the beautiful wood arms and legs.  A peak-a-boo arm and sassy short pleated skirt would ensure that we would let them show off.   Instead of a zipper, she opted for a contrast panel opening in the back with a covered button closure. 

Do you have an old chair that is hiding in the basement, attic or corner, or storage unit covered with stuff just begging for a second act?   If you have small children or pets, if you want a new look without buying new furniture, if you want to change your color scheme, if the piece is solid and has good bones, and if you like repurposing the old and making it new again for a new space, then slipcovering may be a good option.

I get such joy seeing the transformation from the old discarded pieces of furniture to something that is joyfully placed back into the rest of the house to use and show off. I would love to do a piece for you. 

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Decorating · Sewing · Slipcovers

Cottage Chair Facelift

This cute little cottage upholstered wingback chair came to me with a desperate need for an update.   It was a chair my client had in her stall at the store “Reclaimed” at Smith Mountain Lake.  It just wasn’t selling in its current state.  It was a little dated and very definitely a Victorian shabby chic cottage style.  She provided me with a large drop cloth for the job. img_8274

Not all drop clothes are created equal.  This one (Sibiu brand) was a blend of cotton and polyester. It did shrink a little but not near as much as the 100% cotton drop clothes I had worked with in the past.  It also did not ravel or wrinkle as much, didn’t have as much stretch, ironed beautifully and was easy to work with. 

Normally a wingback would take about 9 yards of fabric, give or take, but this chair did not have a separate seat cushion, thankfully.  I was a little worried I wouldn’t have enough fabric to do the job especially since she wanted to have a gathered skirt.  I decided to be very methodical about this before doing any ripping or cutting of fabric to be sure I would have enough and if not, that I could get this same drop cloth somewhere.   The large drop cloth had a seam down the middle, which I proceeded to rip out, essentially giving me two  69×100 pieces, which was just easier to handle.   I graphed out the two pieces and measured all the pieces of the chair in rectangles that I would need to complete the chair to include a gathered skirt.  img_8634I then started to draw out the rectangle pieces on the graph paper, using up every space in the most efficient manner.  I am so grateful I did this, as it saved me a lot of time, guessing, 2nd guessing and most importantly, I had enough fabric….barely.  If I made a mistake, I would be screwed.  I was not going to make a mistake.

Once I had all the rectangle pieces cut, I was on to structuring of the chair cover. 

I finished most of the chair the first day and spent the next day on the gathered skirt and finishing details of trimming and finishing seams, clipping corners, clipping threads and adding a tie detail to the back skirt. I always feel like I am giving my slipcovers a hair trim at this point.

Here are the before and after pictures.

What a transformation!  It’s like it went to a salon and got a whole new makeover.  If it could talk it probably would say it feels ten years younger and ready to take on anything. The creamy drop cloth fabric worked beautifully for this chair and now this chair can be the perfect accent in any room regardless of the color scheme.   The best part is it is completely removable so it can be thrown in the wash if need be.

I think Kathy loved the chair so much she decided to keep the chair for herself. Until next time, do something creative!

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Crafty Things · Decorating · Sewing · Slipcovers

Room Transformation

(Follow-up from “Inspiration” blog post)

Boy have I been a sewing maniac. Once I decided on the colors, fabric and layout of my repurposed dining room, I was off to the races. Initially, I was planning of using the plaid fabric to slipcover the chair, but for $25 a yard and needing at least nine yards for the directional plaid matching, I decided it would be better suited for throw pillows. I could hardly wait to start the transformation.   In the essence of time, I worked on the structured part of the chair and loveseat at the lake house and brought the cushions back to NOVA to work on during the week.

Both furniture pieces were different from what I have slipcovered in the past as far as shape and structure.   I took this as a challenge, one that I thought might kick my butt. But with a little perseverance and a lot of personal encouragement (my internal pep talk) I was able to tackle it. It went something like, “It’s only a chair…you can do this, you are smarter than this chair, you have the skills, just take your time”.

These are the “before” pictures…

These are the “after” pictures…

I made  the two plaid accent pillows with blue denim piping, transformed a place mat into a pillow with a little paint and filling, made new blue denim liners for my baskets to put under the bench table and added my last year project of a crocheted Christmas tree pillow.  It was starting to come together.

But of course the main inspiration for my room was the quilt.   I finally finished it.  I can actually cross something off my list from last January!

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What do you think?  I love it.  It’s exactly the warm, cozy, comfortable, quiet space that I was looking for. You would never even know it was a dining room.

Spoiler alert….the little wingback chair in the background is a sneak peek of my first client project.  Until next time, do something creative!

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Decorating · Sewing · Slipcovers

Inspiration

Inspiration can strike at any time and from any place and most often when you least expect it.  I have been pondering what to do with what officially is the dining room in our new lake house.  I was pretty sure I did not want a dining room.  I was envisioning  a useful space without a TV.  A space for thinking, writing, dreaming, planning, reading.   But I didn’t exactly know where to start.

img_7237Recently I found a velvety accent pillow at Homegoods for my living room that I am in love with. It’s sort of Americano and exudes comfort and warmth.  It was something to start with.

Often when I am at a loss or in need of inspiration, I will head to the fabric store.  I grabbed a few sample swatches of home decorator fabric to bring back to see what colors or prints might go with the things in the adjacent rooms in this open floor plan.

I had also just bought a new solid shag type of  rug in a neutral oatmeal color for the floor. It felt amazing on my feet and looked pretty good too.  But something didn’t feel quite right about it.  It just didn’t have the “it” thing for that room. (I found a new home for it in this house, but that’s another blog and another future project.  Remember, always trust your gut feeling.) img_7401 So before heading back to the lake for the weekend,  I headed to Homegoods once again and there it was.  The Rug.  When we got to the lake I didn’t waste any time laying it out on the floor to see how it would flow with the rest of the main floor living area.  I then pulled out my new collection of fabric swatches.   One of the swatches was actually almost the same colors and design as in the rug.   Though I wouldn’t do a chair cover with it as it might get lost in the room, it did solidify in my mind that I found the right rug for that space.   Two different things were pointing me in that direction.  Coincidence? I think not.

Now the piece that really solidified my direction.  Several years ago, I received a box from my mother-in-law.  It was a box of precut quilt pieces that her mother, Ida, had fully intended to sew one day. She loved to quilt and did so until she was almost a hundred years old.  I felt a responsibility to work on it and so I did…for a while, by hand.   Each little piece is a little octagon made into bigger octagons. Hundreds of pieces.  img_7418 I started hand sewing the pieces together so it would be as a lap project.  I got pretty far as you can see and then I just stopped.  Sort of like when Forest Gump ran and ran and ran and then one day he just decided that was enough, he was done. That’s what I was like.   Finishing this quilt has been on my New Year’s Resolution list for the last seven years.  Somehow I wanted to incorporate this quilt project into my home but I wasn’t sure how or where.  So when I arrived at the lake and put the new rug on the floor, a light bulb went on. I quickly pulled the unfinished quilt out and held it up on the wall above the rug. I knew immediately this was my inspiration piece.  Now to finish it.

But I still had to find fabric for the slipcovers!  None of the samples I had brought quite did it for me. So off I went to a fabric store in Roanoke,  The Second Yard.  I found a red plaid J. Kaufmann fabric that I wasn’t sure would work but I liked the idea of a plaid and it hit all the color marks so I brought a swatch home to see how it would flow with the rest of the room.

I’m 99% sure this is the fabric.    I am envisioning a simple neutral linen slipcovered loveseat so as not to compete with the future wall hanging and a plaid slipcovered arm-chair.  I’ve got some work to do!

Stay tuned. But until then, do something creative!!

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