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.

Slipcovers

Buttery Soft Loveseat

I always think it’s neat when I describe a paint or fabric color by the feeling it gives me or something it reminds me of and then find out that the name of that paint color or fabric color is actually called something very similar.  I’m sure this isn’t a coincidence.   

By looking at this twenty year old eggplant colored loveseat you would think it’s seen better days.  The fabric has a few rips in places and the print and color are dark and busy.  But all you have to do is sit for a second on this loveseat and you will know why my client decided she had to give it an update. 

The foam seat cushions have a down pillow top and bottom.  Ooo-la-la.   It’s so soft and comfortable.   The back pillows needed just a little refresh with some poly-fill, but that’s it.

Natalie wanted to pull the colors together in her sitting room by finding a color similar to her window treatments, the print in her side chair and an accent color in her rug.  She was looking for something with texture, neutral and easy to care for. We found the perfect shade of creamy buttery yellow from  Revolution Fabrics called Grande Butter.  Coincidence?  I think not.img_2196.jpg

Though this high performance fabric is not “washable” like a slipcover would typically be, it is removeable for cleaning if needed.  Revolution fabrics are inherently stain resistant and can be spot cleaned for most stains and if need be can even be bleached without damaging the fabric or stripping the color.  img_2177

The original loveseat had a very relaxed, uncorded, topstitched cushions but Natalie wanted to go for something a bit more structured looking and so opted to go with cording in the same color, to outline the chair and cushions.

A set of arm covers to protect the arms, a couple of updated throw pillows and you have a “new” loveseat that pulls together the whole room. img_2197

What an impressive makeover and my client and her husband were thrilled!

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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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Slipcovers

Lovely Linen for Lynda

Lynda is in the process of redecorating her house and wanted to reuse a couple of comfortable chairs she had acquired from Calico Corner.  

 She was looking for a fabric that would blend in with other upholstered pieces she had and provide a classic fresh look.   After much consideration she landed on a beautiful Italian Viscose/Linen blend. 

I have to admit I didn’t know what Viscose was, so I did a little research.img_7291 Viscose, part of the rayon fabric family, is a semi-synthetic material manufactured from a plant-based material called cellulose.  It is typically made from woody plants, such as trees and bamboo.  Though it has many wonderful qualities such as being drapable, breathable, strong, inexpensive, silky and comfortable, it also has a few pitfalls such as being prone to shrinkage, wrinkling, and fibers that may weaken when wet or exposed to excessive light.  However, this fiber is best when blended with other fibers and is usually what you find in home decorating fabrics.  Linen, a natural fiber, is strong and resists dirt and stains, lint and pilling, abrasion, and moths.  This combination of linen gives you the best of both fibers. 

Some viscose materials can be machine washed on a delicate cycle, others hand washed, while some require dry cleaning.    I tested a yard of this blend and found that it shrunk almost four inches on a yard of fabric.  If you decide to take this chance it needs to be done before the slipcover is constructed or it will not fit!   It’s a tough call to make and one that only the client can make.   Since the supplier recommended “Dry Clean Only” for this fabric, my client decided to go with that.

Lynda also had a classic sea-foam green suede loveseat that she wanted to repurpose to a beach house. She decided to use the same fabric. This piece worked up beautifully.

Because of the single long nature of the cushion and no back cushions, and to work with the grain of the linen, I needed to seam the back, cushion and deck, just like the original upholstery. It actually added a nice design feature. The back seams were a perfect place to “hide” Velcro strips for an easy removal. Velcro sewn onto the piped bottom attaches to the underside of the chair, resulting in a very tailored and upholstered look. img_7397

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Decorating · Sewing · Slipcovers

White after Labor Day

At some point in your life you probably have acquired a piece or two of furniture from your parents. A piece that was well used, familiar, and probably a little shabby looking (and not in a “shabby chic” sort of way).  However, chances are the furniture was not the right color or look for your décor.  As long as the furniture is comfortable and fits well into your space, there is no reason not to update it to fit your design style.  Enter slipcovers.

 

Louisa had acquired two pieces from her parents, a solid, tight-back dark rose-colored loveseat full of worn spots, snagged and fraying fabric, but oh so comfortable.  She also had acquired a Lazyboy swivel rocker that was in great condition except for the fact that it was blue and looked a little dated. 

Secretly it’s everyone’s dream to have a space of their own to retreat to. Whether you call it a man-cave or she-shed., it’s a brilliant concept.  Louisa has a loft in her apartment that she was converting to her she-shed.  She was envisioning a clean crisp look and modern sophistication with a little frill and fun.

Since her floor plan was a two-story loft style, it was important she chose a fabric that would blend well with the rest of the apartments modern clean lines.  It also needed to be heavy enough to cover the darker textured loveseat fabric.  She decided on a 12 oz. white preshrunk 100% cotton bull denim. 

The loveseat would be pretty straightforward taking into consideration the big rolled tight back and scrolled arms.   Before, the loveseat seemed heavy, big and oversized.  After, with the custom-fitted slipcover, it looks light, fresh and not so overwhelming.

 

The swivel rocker had an attached pillow back that needed to be addressed.  I decided to create a underslip to redesign the lines of the chair that would be easier to create a slipcover but still keep the look of a pillow back.  It worked well and will stay in place when you sit and rock on the chair.

 

  Louisa had two requests for the rocker, a box pleated skirt and button back.  I nailed the current skirt onto the bottom on the chair so it would not interfere with the new flirty skirt that gave the rocker a bit of a flare. Large white buttons for the back closure of the chair is not only functional but gave it the rocker  an interesting focal point so when she swivels around, the chair will look great from any direction.

 

White or off white is a popular and smart option for slipcovers.  It is basically a blank canvas that you can update with throws and pillows with the change in color trends, seasons or your mood.  If choosing white makes you nervous, think of it like your favorite pair of white jeans. Care of the slipcover is pretty much the same.  If you follow the washing instructions and treat stains or spills accordingly you will have white slipcovers for years to come that will only soften with each washing but gain character…just like your favorite pair of white jeans…even after Labor Day.   

 

Labor Day is around the corner, but it is not too early to think about the holidays (some store’s already have Halloween and some Christmas decor out)!   If you are looking to update an old piece and want to have it ready for the holidays, now is the time to start the process to allow plenty of time to find the right fabric and work out the design details.  I am currently taking orders for October.

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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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