cushions · Slipcovers

Bull Denim Slipcovers

Carolyn drove a long way to bring me her Ethan Allan couch, chair and ottoman. Though in perfect condition structurally, the fabric was showing signs of wear and needed some attention. She wanted a new casual look and definitely liked the idea of washing the covers to keep them fresh and clean.

Bull Denim is a classic favorite go-to fabric for slipcovers. But you don’t have to settle on just white or off white. It comes in an array of colors like Vermilion (red), Rattan (light gold), Creamy Ivory, Lizard (green), Harbor Mist (light blue gray), Golden Curry, Fossil (taupe/light brown), Fern, Dusk blue, Chestnut, Black Bean, Brown, White, Light Gray, Charcoal Gray. My client chose Vanilla from Big Duck Fabrics. It’s a buttery cream color in a hefty weight. At 12 ounces, this twill fabric is especially perfect for a slipcover if you need to cover a print underneath.

Most bull denims are 100% cotton and though they may say “preshrunk”, you will still need to prewash it before sewing to remove any remaining shrinkage. Just be sure to do this in 3-4 yard segments as this fabric is very heavy.

Her new slipcovers would feature cording on the back following the curves and current cording on the back of the couch, a new line of cording following the curve of the arm construction to keep it simple and avoid lots of pleating and shifting. A placket zipper back with corded Velcro bottom finishes off this transformation.

This creamy Vanilla color is a perfect base for any season. Just add your favorite seasonal colors and textures through different pillows and throws for a whole new look.

cushions · Slipcovers

Slipcovers for a State of Transition

My client Jenny is in that familiar state of transition.   You know, the time where your kids have all but left the nest and pursuing a life of their own but you’re too young to retire just yet.  Currently in a townhome, they do envision this a temporary place until the next phase.   Even then, they wanted to update and freshen it up to enjoy it themselves before any resale in the future.   My sentiments exactly.  Why wait until you are ready to sell before updating!  Been there, done that.  Do it now so you can enjoy it, keeping in mind what is timeless and sellable.

In addition to the typical repainting and kitchen updates, their furniture needed a bit of a refresh as well.  They had a heavy, comfortable and still functional couch, arm chair and ottoman that fit there space just fine and they wanted to repurpose instead of buying something new at this point. The textured chenille couch was a dated gold tone and the microfiber on the arm chair and ottoman were worn smooth in spots.   

Prep Work

The couch, arm chair and ottoman all required a bit of prep work before construction of the new slipcovers.  Did you know that on attached back cushions there is a zipper on the bottom so you can remove the cushion insert? FYI, if your cushions are looking a bit flat or squishy, you can remove the inserts and refill them to give them more fluff. Check out The Slipcover Makers tutorial on how to do this yourself. With Jenny’s permission, I removed the back cushions and made templates with the old cushions to make new loose cushions.  This was a first for me and I felt a little intimidated to cut off the existing cushions, but I followed some awesome instructions and all went well.  The Slipcover Maker has a great tutorial on this process.  I also cut off the skirt on the couch and stapled the skirts on the chair and ottoman to the bottom wood of the chair to reduce bulk so they would not interfere with the new skirts.  With the newly deconstructed furniture I was ready to tackle the slipcovers.

Arm Chair

For the armchair, Jenny chose a high performance, linen-look, washable fabric called Phoenician from Revolution Fabrics in a Toast color.  It compliments the fabric she chose for her couch and the rug and other chair she has in her living room.   A pair of arm covers will help extend the life of the slipcover and reduce the need to remove the entire slipcover should the arms get soiled.  But lets face it, in a house without kids full time, it shouldn’t need to be cleaned often.

Ottoman

In addition to stapling the skirt to the wood base of the ottoman, I converted the pillow top ottoman to a solid ottoman by add a layer of batting and a muslin slip slipstitched to the piping.   The end result is a clean and simple ottoman with a slipcover that can be easily removed and laundered. 

Couch

Jenny chose an oatmeal colored cotton/rayon blend from Big Duck Canvas .  This fabric definitely required prewashing in order to preshrink it for any future washing.  It did wrinkle a bit but nothing an iron and a little spray starch or steam can work out. The back featured two zipper panels that line up with the bottom pleats to make it easier to take on and off yet still allow for a tight fit. The final result is a more casual updated sofa to give them a few more years.

I always try to learn something new from my projects. After tackling the removal of the attached back pillows, I am inspired to try this on my own gray microfiber couch and loveseat for a fresh update sometime in the near future. 

cushions · Slipcovers

Wing Chair Update

This wing chair sat quietly in the corner of this client’s living room, unnoticed except for the fact that it was clearly didn’t fit into the décor and color scheme, though it filled the need to fill a space.  img_1499My client was in the midst of updating a lot of elements of her home and also preparing for a high school graduation.  This was the one piece of furniture that begged immediate attention.  Her husband would rather have gotten rid of it, but Anne Marie had another idea.  I helped her find the right lightweight cotton blend fabric that would work well with the navy blue and white trimmed living room furniture and the white and greige kitchen you could see from that corner of the room where the chair was designated. img_2614

We kept the design the same as the original chair but with a bluish gray contrast cording to emphasize the curviness of the chair.   The bottom of the slipcover Velcro’s to the bottom of the chair to give this newly slipcovered chair the appearance of an upholstered piece of furniture.  I refurbished the cushion by adding another inch of foam to the existing cushion along with new cushion wrap. Can you see the difference?

If you are considering using a patterned fabric for your project, be sure to figure in extra fabric to pattern match.  This fabric had a repeat of the pattern both vertically and horizontally.  What is this exactly?  It is the distance in inches of where the pattern starts and ends and then starts over again.

I try to match the flow of the design from front to back, from the top of the chair onto the cushion and from the cushion onto the bottom of the chair, as well as the boxing around the cushion (at least on the front where you will see it).  Curves and angles of chair can make this challenging if not impossible in certain areas but it is just one of those little details that I won’t skimp on to give the finished piece a professional look.

The end result of this chair got a thumb’s up and approval from the husband.  That is always a plus!

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Crafty Things · Slipcovers

Sunroom Makeover

The sunroom of this repeat customer just underwent a makeover, piece by piece.  A couple of years ago I slipcovered the little yellow slipper chair in the bottom right corner, along with two yellow accent pillows.  Recently she had a couple of chair cushions recovered for her sunroom.  They went from a faded red stripe cushion to a taupe/gray buffalo check.  We also replaced the crumbling foam to give them new life.

It’s a nice balance between farmhouse and a classic modern trend.   With the new cushions and the yellow slipper chair complete her loveseat felt a little left out still in it’s red stripe. 

Toni and her husband decided to go with a solid stone-washed canvas in a charcoal grey.   This beefy heavy weight canvas from Big Duck Canvas was prewashed to get out any remaining shrinkage.  Because it is a blend it also did not wrinkle very much at all.

Design details included a French style seam on the back of the chair and cushions.  The width of the fabric was over fifty-five inches, the length of home decorating fabric.   So this decision was partly due to that and partly due to a design factor. It was just enough to break up the gray and give it some interest.

A skirt on the bottom of the loveseat with similar pleats covers the existing pleated skirt.  A placket-concealed zipper in the center of the back allows Toni to easily remove and wash the slipcover.

We had just enough leftover buffalo check fabric to create a couple of small throw pillows to tie into to two side wicker chairs.   Toni wanted a big bulky zipper on the back that was not concealed.  In fact she wanted to have it be part of the design.

  I chose a creamy white colored coat zipper with metal teeth and stitched it so that it showed on the charcoal colored back of the pillow. A fun little tassel finished the look (it looks green in this photo, but I promise it is gray).   Sometimes it is all about the details.  Now she has a beautiful sunroom that exudes a calmness with the gray loveseat, a little break and interest with the buffalo check cushions and the  just the right amount of yellow to warm things up just in time for the warm weather.  Do you have a favorite color that draws you in?

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cushions · Lakehouse · Slipcovers

Lake Stools Makeovers

A couple of years ago I purchased these fixer upper stools from the “Joyous Junque”  yard sale at the Catholic Church in Moneta Virginia.  I think I paid $20 a piece for them, my small part of the over $50,000 they raise and donate to various charities annually (click link above to read their incredible story). They definitely needed work but I saw potential and at the very least they would serve a purpose until I could get something else for my kitchen bar area.  

The first thing I did was spray them with bleach water, hose them down and cut off the nasty dirty vinyl flamingo pink cushions.   I wanted to be sure to start with a clean slate.   I took a wire brush and scraped away any loose pieces. After drying in the sun, I spray painted them with a creamy white. Spray paint was the way to go to make sure to get into all the nooks and crannies.   A few paint cans and a sore trigger finger later, I was ready to make new cushions. 

First I made a template of the seat taking in to account the curved back and cut around the front legs.  I traced the template onto my 2” foam and cut it with my handy dandy electric knife.  Fun fact…I used to work at J.C. Penney when we first got married in the houseware department.  I bought it for next to nothing for our first Thanksgiving together and used it for 35 years! It has now been designated for my foam projects. 

img_1328I was pretty happy with they way they turned out but in true ‘Denise’ fashion, I got bored with them and wanted to change them up again.  A few blog posts ago I talked about Inspiration and how you never know when or where it will strike. Well, this past year I binged a bit on the Netflix series, “Grace and Frankie”.  What does this have to do with my stools, you say?  Well, Grace (Jane Fonda) and Frankie (Lily Tomlin) live in a gorgeous beach house in La Jolla, CA.   She had these slipcovered stools that I just loved and I thought, well, I can do something like that!  So that became my next inspiration for phase two of these repurposed stools.

I decided on this high performance fabric from Revolution, called Beauchamp.  It is washable, bleachable, lightweight but provides good coverage and drapes wonderfully.  It was also so easy to sew and work with. My biggest challenge was creating the template to fit the stools and match up the stripes.  The extra time spent on making the template paid off and the fabric had enough give for me to be able to match up the stripes without too much trouble and they drape perfectly.  To help the covers stay in place, I sewed two ties into the back seat seam allowance that tie to the back to side posts.  Invisible.

I absolutely love the way they turned out!   I guess the true test will be when my grandkids are back and they crawl up and down.  See, there is still some life in these old discarded stools.

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cushions · Slipcovers

Outdoor Living: Getting Ready Now

When I think of January, I think of hibernation.  I grew up in northern Minnesota and it was always the hardest month to get through. It was brutally cold, dark and “closed up”.   Hibernation, a period of rest and sleep, isn’t a bad idea considering we just went through an extremely busy holiday season.  Our body and minds need this period of decompression and reset.  And then just like that we wake up (usually around the third week of January) and feel renewed and ready to tackle whatever the new year brings.

Now that the cold dark days of January are behind us,  the days are getting a little longer,  and more importantly, Punxsutawney Phil hinted at an early spring, our minds turn to “springing” up our homes.   But it is also the perfect time to access your outdoor furniture and cushions.  Stores have replaced their seasonal spaces once filled with Christmas decorations with outdoor living.  If your cushions are sun bleached, worn or you are just over the color or pattern you might want to consider recovering your cushions.   Sure, you can purchase new cushions, but there are a couple of things to consider before you do.

FIT. Have you ever visited one of the bigger retail stores and walked down the aisles lined with colors and shapes of all sizes and thought, “surely this one is perfect” only to get home and find it is to narrow, too wide, too deep, too whatever?

I have. It can be frustrating almost to point of wanting to get new furniture.  Some outdoor furniture have cushions shaped to fit your unique piece as you can see in the pictures above.

FABRIC.  Not all outdoor fabric is equal.  One option is a less expensive outdoor polyester fabric that comes in all kinds of prints and colors.  Since the UV rating is lower this fabric would not be ideal for cushions that would be in direct sunlight but would be a good option for accent pillows. But even in this category of polyester fabric, there are exceptions and new brands are coming out with better UV ratings and construction processes that make them better for outdoor cushions.

The color and print are stamped on the fabric after the fabric is made therefore making it more prone to wear and fading a lot faster so in time the color will fade and look dull.

If your cushions will be in direct sunlight, you should consider upgrading to a Sunbrella or Outdura type of fabric in a solution-dyed acrylic fabric.

The color and pattern are actually woven into the fibers as the fabric is made making it a perfect long wearing fabric for outdoor cushions.  You can tell it is a solution-dyed acrylic as the print and color are actually visible on both sides of the fabric.

The take away is that every brand has its own manufacturing process and the warranty, UV rating and fabric rub rating should be considered in your unique situation and use.   In the long run, the little extra money you spend will be worth it.  So now when you look at the store-bought cushions tags, you will know the difference between polyester and acrylic.

If you have cushions that need updating and purchasing new cushions isn’t an option that will work for your furniture, you might want to consider having custom cushions made in the exact fabric, fit and style that you want.  Now is the perfect time to start the process so they are ready when you are to get outside.

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Decorating · Slipcovers

From Good to Better

I can definitely tell it’s January.   Once everything is neatly put away for the next ten to eleven months for Christmas, things are looking a little stark.  With this clean slate, you start to reimagine a space and want to fill it with something new.  Everyone is thinking about refreshing, renewing and (applaud)…repurposing.

Before Christmas I picked up this beautiful and comfortable second-hand chair from a client that she found for a steal. It could definitely slide into any decor with its creamy solid fabric that was still in excellent condition with very little wear or soiling.   But sometimes you just want a little more. That’s where I come in.   Emily didn’t have to think too hard about what fabric she wanted.  She had already used this “Fawn” printed fabric from Hobby Lobby on some dinette chairs seat cushions.

It washes beautifully with very few wrinkles so if need be, she can remove it, wash it and slip it back on.  The print and color fit perfectly into her beautiful neutral color scheme that is throughout the main level of her home.

This chair had a couple of questionable design elements to consider, the large scrolled arms and the attached back cushion.  My client wanted to keep the casual look of the arms so I created a slipcover with tucks around the arm curve and with the help of self-cording, followed the flow of the side.

The other challenge was what to do with the attached back. I had two options. 1. Detach the pillow case, leaving a fabric hole in the back, though it would be covered with the slipcover.  2.  After removing the pillow case with stuffing (did you know that there is a zipper on the bottom?), flatten the case and tuck into the back.   I decided to start with the second option to see if that would work so if she ever wanted to back to the original fabric, she could easily do it.  And it did.

Finishing the chair with a corded bottom really leaves the chair looking like it’s been reupholstered but with the flexibility for change and cleaning.

When I brought the chair back to Emily’s house this week, she had a space all ready for it where the Christmas tree had been.  Once placed it was like it was always meant to be there and gave the corner of the room a subtle punch of personality.  The nice thing is that she could still slide this chair into any corner of her house and it would look great and fit right in with her design.img_0601

Do you have a piece that you have been putting off updating? If you are wondering if it is a good candidate for a slipcover, I would be happy to help you decide.

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cushions · Slipcovers

From Weathered to WOW at Willowsford

The Willowsford Lodge community center in Aldie, VA is so beautiful I could actually live in it.  It’s architecture and décor are modeled after a large rustic lake house with hardwood floors, wood beams, leather chairs and couches with cozy afghans, deer antlers, botanical prints and a kitchen to die for.    That’s probably why I fell in love with it and almost bought a house there a few years back.

 

Step outside and you walk into a large covered patio with a stone fireplace and tables, couches and a grill  for entertaining.  It would be a great venue for a wedding or party.07E7A44A-7DF3-49B7-9B68-C93FEB69466C And then you see the cushions.  (add sound affects….”brakes screech“).

 

As luck would have it, I recently reconnected with this beautiful community center and was asked to recover the cushions.   They would need a lot of work, as the foam in the cushions was compressed, stained, and crumbling and the back cushions needed a lot of extra fluff.Foam fiasco!

We decided on a high performance outdoor fabric, Sunbrella Hybrid Stone, a natural looking heavier texture in a lighter gray/blue/tan tweed.   It is water, stain and mildew resistant, washable and bleachable!   Most stains and spills can be cleaned however with water and soap.  Check out the sunbrella_stain_chart to see how to treat common mishaps on your outdoor furnishing.

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It’s amazing what the right fabric choice can do.  Sixteen chair cushions were constructed with a Velcro strap under the seat to hold the cushions on in the event of wind.

 

The cushions were finished in time for the busy summer season ahead.  I’m sure there will be many drink and food spills, but with the right fabric and care, these cushions should withstand a lot for several years to come.

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Speaking of lake houses, I’m headed there this weekend to spend time with all my kids and grandkids celebrating birthdays, graduations and baby gender reveals! Wishing you all a wonderful Memorial Day weekend!

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cushions · Slipcovers

From Weathered to WOW at Willowsford

The Willowsford Lodge community center in Aldie, VA is so beautiful I could actually live in it.  It’s architecture and décor are modeled after a large rustic lake house with hardwood floors, wood beams, leather chairs and couches with cozy afghans, deer antlers, botanical prints and a kitchen to die for.    That’s probably why I fell in love with it and almost bought a house there a few years back.

 

Step outside and you walk into a large covered patio with a stone fireplace and tables, couches and a grill  for entertaining.  It would be a great venue for a wedding or party.07E7A44A-7DF3-49B7-9B68-C93FEB69466C And then you see the cushions.  (add sound affects….”brakes screech“).

 

As luck would have it, I recently reconnected with this beautiful community center and was asked to recover the cushions.   They would need a lot of work, as the foam in the cushions was compressed, stained, and crumbling and the back cushions needed a lot of extra fluff.Foam fiasco!

We decided on a high performance outdoor fabric, Sunbrella Hybrid Stone, a natural looking heavier texture in a lighter gray/blue/tan tweed.   It is water, stain and mildew resistant, washable and bleachable!   Most stains and spills can be cleaned however with water and soap.  Check out the sunbrella_stain_chart to see how to treat common mishaps on your outdoor furnishing.

5A4DE119-1D34-45ED-833E-5CB413B6116B

It’s amazing what the right fabric choice can do.  Sixteen chair cushions were constructed with a Velcro strap under the seat to hold the cushions on in the event of wind.

 

The cushions were finished in time for the busy summer season ahead.  I’m sure there will be many drink and food spills, but with the right fabric and care, these cushions should withstand a lot for several years to come.

BA56B032-AE12-4220-AC70-F072C6B20600

Speaking of lake houses, I’m headed there this weekend to spend time with all my kids and grandkids celebrating birthdays, graduations and baby gender reveals! Wishing you all a wonderful Memorial Day weekend!

IMG_1815detailsbydenise_3x5-smaller

 

Slipcovers

Cushions in Cameo Cove

 It seems we sort of skipped spring and have jumped right into summer this week.  Thankfully Jamie thought way ahead (probably back in February when we had similar weather for a brief period) and realized she had to replace her cushions on her backyard porch.  You know when they get to the point where you just don’t want to sit on them anymore and something has to be done.  They looked a little greener, felt dingy and the cushions were limp.

She looked at store-bought cushions, but because of the unique shape of her furniture, she couldn’t find anything that fit perfectly and would hold up in the elements on her back porch.  She opted for custom-made cushions so she could choose exactly what she wanted in a quality high performance fabric.

Jamie, with the help of her husband (yay, husband!), picked a Sunbrella solid fabric in Echo Dune for one side of her cushions and a stripe Cove Cameo for the other side to reconstruct their cushions.  She also picked a solid melon fabric to pull out the tiny stripe in the Cove Cameo to use as throw pillows.  

The foam in the core of the seats that had completely compressed. New layers of an outdoor Nu-Foam perked them right up.

 With the dual sided cushions, Jamie has options.  She can have solid chairs and a stripe loveseat or vise versa.  The pop of Melon on the reverse of the throw pillows was a great choice for a burst of color in the calming taupe and peach combination she picked.  IMG_2664What a difference! With eighties and nineties expected for this week (and with the pollen season done) Jamie and her husband can now really enjoy sitting on their old furniture with NEW cushions. 

More cushions coming!!

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