Slipcovers

Chairs and Cats

This was a fun project with a specific purpose other than updating an old piece of furniture. Often times slipcovers are used to give new life to old pieces of furniture. In this case, my client wanted (needed) a solution to preserve and protect her beautiful dining room chairs upholstery that her beloved cats started to use as their scratch post. When I arrived her chairs were completely covered in beach towels to protect them.

There were a few things that were important to Rachele when creating new covers. First, she wanted to keep the color and texture of the fabric about the same as her original upholstery. Secondly, she wanted to still show as much of the wood of the chairs as possible. And lastly, the covers needed to be washable with three little kids. Rachele actually gave birth to her last son during this process.

Fabric

For the fabric we used the same fabric from Big Duck Canvas I used for the couch and a pair of arm chairs I recently slipcovered, a cotton/rayon blend in a natural oatmeal color. I prewashed it to remove any shrinkage. Initially it wrinkles a bit, but nothing a little steam can’t handle.

Big Duck Canvas Cotton Rayon Blend in Oatmeal

Design

In designing the covers for these chairs we decided to make two piece slipcovers so if just the seat cover needs to be cleaned, she wouldn’t have to remove the top piece. Less to iron and wash! For the top, we used side tabs that allows for a removable but a tight fit option. It is secured to the chair with Velcro tabs that not only fit with the design but are pretty much hidden for their function. I lined the tops to cover all the seams providing a cleaner finished look.

The two captains chairs required a slightly adjusted design to work around the arms so that it could still be removable. Arm pads secured with Velcro under the arms finishes off the slipcovers and completely covers and protects the original chair’s upholstery.

The bottoms basically just covered the seat and Velcro around the legs, edged with a light self cording.

The overall look is simple, clean, and functional and hits all the criteria Rachele was looking for. Much better look than beach towels.

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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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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Slipcovers

Revolutionary Updates

I wish I could make decisions as quickly as my client Jacqueline can.  She says it’s out of necessity and time.   It has also been said that your first choice or instinct is usually the best one and we often way over think things. I know I do.  Sometimes we just want to go out of our comfort zone and pick something that is not what we would normally pick but afraid to take the leap for fear we will have regrets.   Choosing the right fabric for your slipcover project can feel like that especially because of the investment you are about to make.  

Jacqueline was getting ready to move into a new house and as you do, you look at your furniture and try to see what will work in the new space and what wouldn’t.   She dropped off two very different chairs that she’s had for a while but still were comfortable. 

She knew she could find a corner or space in her new home but not in the condition they were in…dated red checked rocker and a worn golden toned tapestry chair.   She quickly chose a print from Revolution Fabric, called Tangle.  Jacqueline had a great instinct on this fabric because the finished product turned out great with this neutral tone-on-tone design that is a nice combination of sass and elegance.  

To break up the pattern and to draw attention to some of the lines on the chair she opted for a solid tan fabric called Slipcover Twill also from Revolution Fabric.   A simple corded bottom velcro’ed to the bottom of the chair, and a placket covered zipper allows for a neat, tight fit that looks upholstered but is easy to take off. 

This particular fabric is washable, bleachable and dries in ten minutes, if you can believe it. 

For the rocker, she picked a complimenting linen-looking high performance fabric from Revolution Fabric called Hailey.  She wanted the same color of piping on the rocker as the chair and I think it was the perfect choice. 

You could easily have picked a creamy white piping to understate it, but I like the fun bold look of the darker contrast and it ties in nicely to the other chair as well.   A corner pleated skirt and side zipper complete this rocker and give it a fresh clean look that will fit where ever she wants in their new home.

If you are wondering where to start with fabric selection, check out my suggestions on preferred fabrics and then start looking at these different sources.   I’m also available for a complimentary in-home consultation.  Don’t be afraid to think outside the box, follow you instinct and go a little wild.  Remember, in the end, it’s what you love that matters.  

Enjoy the spring!

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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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Slipcovers

From Freebie to Fresh and Fabulous

Have you ever inherited a piece of furniture that you felt obligated to keep but doesn’t fit your decor or color scheme?  Or maybe you found a chair for a steal of a deal (or free) that would be perfect if only it had a different fabric.  I have!  I admit I have a slight compulsion (addiction) with this.  I am constantly looking for pieces to rescue.  For instance, right now I have two blue side chairs, a couple of barrel back office chairs, and some stools I snagged for super cheap that I thought still had potential.  I am working on a couple of those projects now so stay tuned for an update on those transformations.

My daughter picked up this free upholstered rocker and ottoman from a mom’s group in Charlotte for the baby’s room.  It was in perfect condition, except for the fact that it was a pale yellow stripe and very dingy (if you zoom in you can see what I mean).

Before: yellow striped cotton
Before: yellow striped cotton

Of course, my daughter looked past the outer shell and thought that her mom might be  able to cover it.  So she hauled it to the lake one week, I got to work, and in a couple of days she was able to bring it home with her completely refreshed …the chair that is.

I chose a vintage white bull denim from Big Duck Canvas.   White, you say?  Of course! Don’t be afraid to go light with slipcovers.  This creamy soft white is a perfect color to coordinate with whatever color scheme you have.  Or if you are like me and like to change colors and move furniture around often, it will go with anything.

As long as the fabric is washable and easy care, you can simply remove it and throw it in the wash.   I preshrunk this fabric so it would  be able to be washed frequently. A pair of arm covers would be an added bonus to lengthen the time between laundering.

The ottoman and chair would be a great addition in their new house and baby’s room whether it is a boy or girl.  I can’t wait until July to find out!

Update:  This chair will be perfect in a shiplap and pink floral inspired room….(it’s a girl).

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Crafty Things · Decorating · family · Organization · Slipcovers

A Thankful Anniversary

Happy Anniversary to Me!

When I finally took the leap and “hung my shingle” a little over a year ago, I had no idea where this business would take me, but I felt strongly about doing something that used my skills that was also a creative outlet, allowed me the flexibility to work around my husband’s schedule, our lake trips,  family commitments and grammy time. This endeavor has been that and so much more.  As a bit of reflection, here is a recap of all the projects completed since I started just over a year (whew….I’ve been busy).

“Fresh Look” features a drop cloth slipcover for my dining room table benches.  With the move, they split up, one going to the foot of a bed and one in a mudroom.  After a year of reconciling, they are back together at the same table but in my basement (I move things around a lot).

“The Chair with a Purpose” was another drop cloth slipcover to prepare a comfortable chair to welcome my new grandson, Ben.  He is now 18 months old!  This slipcover washes up beautifully and with two little ones, that’s a necessity.

“New Look for a New Home”  took a chair that was perfect for one home but didn’t fit into the color scheme of our new lake house.  It is my absolute favorite chair in which I sip my first cup of coffee in the morning or can curl up on the later to take a nap.  It ‘s not unusual to see evidence of wine or ice cream indulgences, but it is easily  washed away.

 “Red & Blue” featured my two side chairs that got a new look for their new home and my red side window panels.  They since have moved from the upstairs kitchen to the basement.  We sold the pool table and now have a wonderful big space to play Mexican Train, cards, and other games.  This year I plan to have a big family dinner at the table in the basement in front of the fireplace which is getting a makeover (look for blog on this in 2018).

“Inspiration” & “Room Transformation”  took two pieces of furniture in two different colors and with the help of slipcovers blended them together so they could conform to their new home in a new color scheme.  This room is in the process of another transformation which should be done next year.

“Cottage Chair Facelift” turned a classic wingback into a casual and versatile side chair and used a large piece of drop cloth my client already had.  I just love being able to repurpose things!

“Coral Cuteness” highlights twin chairs that were in desperate need of an update in a fun color. The fabric was old and fraying but nothing a slipcover couldn’t hide. You wouldn’t believe they are the same chair.

“Unusual Useful Upscale” isn’t your usual slipcover.  This cool old mail cart can be used for laundry or  on a dock.  Wouldn’t it be cute to see it filled with  colorful Christmas presents?

My Home Projects are featured throughout the year focusing on the projects I completed in moving into our new lake home.  January Home Projects featured drop cloth curtains in a sunny guest bedroom, a pool table cover repurposing inexpensive red and black checked tablecloth, a nautical cover for a parson chair, and a nautical inspired bed skirt.  February Home Projects found me making a teepee for granddaughter to play in, a pillow bed, simple café curtains for our master bedroom,  and window toppers for our master bedroom.  March Home Projects included a couple of Disney dresses for Addy, a cow print faux fur rocker cushion, and a couple of pillows.  Bathroom Rejuvenation  showcases a small update on my basement master bathroom featuring a black vinyl cushion covered in a cozy slipcover.

 

“A Sunny Little Chair” was a fun and springy slipper chair that brought the sun and warmth right when it was needed the most in the middle of winter and features a flirty skirt and cute back button closure.

“Shades of Gray” turned a Florida set with light green fern fabric into a Virginia family set that can withstand kids and dogs in a trendy and versatile gray with blue accents.

“From Drab to Fab” was just that!  All I can say is wow. These two Arhaus chairs now say “look at me!”

Cushions by numbers.   I made 22 cushions in a teal Sunbrella for Mary,  2 bright green swing cushions for Pam’s lake porch,  16 cushions for a poolside seating area, 13 cushions for Jessica who brought me her cushions from Pennsylvania, 4 cushion sets for a cute iron patio set, and not to mention 16 cushions and pillows for my lake house.  All in all I made  77 cushions this year. 

“Ben’s Big Boy Chair” was my attempt at slipcovering a personalized Pottery Barn chair for Ben’s first birthday.  He still loves it and it still looks great.

“Graduation”  took a comfortable but worn chair and ottoman and totally brightened it up with a creamy colored bull denim blend.  It washed up beautiful and was ready in a few days just in time for my client’s daughter high school graduation party.

“White after Labor Day” allowed my client to turn two random pieces into a she-shed beauty complete with all the fluff and frills using a white Bull Denim.

“Tickled Pink”  took two twin chairs that had been loved and half painted and gave them new life.  The little bit of pink was just enough to give the chairs some personality and is a perfect accent color for this trendy client.

“Wings and the Test of Time” showcases a dual-fabric slipcover for a treasured wingback. Looking forward to trying out some other ideas such as chenille or an old quilt.

“Bonus Chair in Boucle” features two club chairsIMG_4415 I got for a steal to put in my new workspace at the lake house.  It should be done by the holidays! I can’t wait to get my hands of the space to decorate. Club chairs are easy to slipcover and so I see seasonal slips in the future….this time something a little more wild. I see a future blog early 2018.

“California Chair in Coral”  was my most recent project.  I can’t say how much I love the difference this slipcover made.  It made a California inspired chair into a Virginia sunny basement chair.

Thank you for allowing me to work on your pieces and welcoming me into your world through my blog.  I hope that I have either inspired you to try something new, go after your passion, and maybe look at an old loved piece through different lense before giving up on it.  Let me know how I can help. I am taking projects for next year!  What will we create in 2-0-1-8?

With a grateful heart, Happy Thanksgiving!

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Slipcovers

California Chair in Coral

The right fabric makes all the difference.  When Julie moved to Virginia from California, she brought along this awesome chair complete with palms. The chair was in perfect condition but the fabric didn’t go with anything in her new home.     

 She was planning to repurpose it in her basement guest bedroom and was looking for something to coordinate with the grey comforter and window treatments in a “rainfall” pattern (below) that would bring a little light to the space.

There are thousands of fabric options available online, but it is usually a last resort for me.  Personally I like to see the fabric and feel its weight, texture, coverage and drape.  Unfortunately, the number of brick and mortar fabric stores seems to be dwindling.  The Fabric Emporium in Warrenton, VA would be closing  it’s doors after forty years due to retirement so I was hoping to score a good deal on fabric and just maybe find the right fabric for Julie’s project (any maybe something for myself too).  Everything was at least 30%  off!  The fabric I found is a variegated tone-on-tone, coral colored, textured stripe in 100% cotton.  Since the chair would be in a low traffic and use area, she decided not to have the fabric prewashed in order to retain the sheen and qualities of the decorator fabric.   Though she did not intend to remove it and wash it, this slipcover could still be removed if she changed her mind and wanted to change the color or pattern.

I followed the basic lines of the chair but repositioned the scroll on the upper back to allow the slipcover to be removed more easily with the help of two back zippers.  A simple corded finish on the bottom finishes this cute chair that almost looks upholstered!

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Julie also snagged a fabric swatch for $.50 from the fabric store and was hoping to make a couple of pillows to pull it all together.   I made lumbar sized pillow inserts with some down from an old pillow and poly fiber fill.  A little cording, a zipper and a back to match the chair and I was able to knock out two pillows, one for her chair and one for her bed. 

Do you have a chair that is just sitting there waiting to be noticed, begging for a makeover and a new purpose?   I can help transform your chair and even help with fabric selection. 

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Decorating · Sewing · Slipcovers

Cushions

The pollen is done for the most part, and you have cleaned and re-cleaned the patios and porches to rid it of the fine yellow mist of gunk that seems to get into the tiniest of cracks.  Now that this is behind us and warmer weather is finally here, it’s time to put out our porch patio cushions, grab a cup of coffee or a glass of wine, your summer reading and relax.   But wait….your cushions may need attention too after years of wear, weather, sun and neglect.

My first client, Pam, sent me a picture of her tired and depleted swing cushions and wanted to know if I could help.  I sent her to JoAnn’s to pick out the fabric, some 3” foam and with a wave of my wand (if only), I made her these two delightful apple green—the season’s hot color– cushions perfectly coordinated with her throw pillows.  It certainly brightens the shady porch.

Mary had a bit more of a challenge.   Her cushions were in  desperate need of replacement.  The cushions were literally disintegrating when you touched them or picked them up.  The sun had completely dried out the fabric over the years to the point of crumbling.  The question was whether to buy new cushions or to make new covers. 

Her current furniture frames were still in excellent condition.  She had several chairs on her back porch but also wanted to coordinate with the current front porch décor.   Since she needed to find a fabric that would withstand the intense sunlight in the back yard over the summer, she decided to have cushions made in the exact same Sunbrella fabric she currently had on her wicker chairs and a coordinating fabric from Outdoorfabrics.com.  It has a great rating with a 5 year warranty against fading and mildew. 

When all was said and done, I made ten cushions, two double cushions for her recliners, two ottoman cushions and six dining chair cushions!  What a burst of color and brightness for this front porch and back deck with a coordinated and uniform look.  The little bit of extra time to match all of the stripes running up and down the cushions makes all the difference. 

Mary sent this fun picture to me. Completely unware that she had a top that just happened to match the Dolce Oasis stripe pattern on her new cushions.  Coincidence?   I think Mary really loves that print. And why not. It is vibrant, fun and full of life.  She certainly will get alot more years out of her patio set now. fabric match

It seems this year, more than in the past, I noticed a ton of options for cushions in the stores.   Many of these fabric are  spun polyester in which the color and design is printed on the base fabric.  Though these fabrics may wear well for a few years they typically are approved for 300 (some up to 800) hours of UV exposure so they may fade a lot faster.  Fabrics such as Sunbrella (and there are other brands too) are made out of 100% acrylic in which the fibers that the fabric is made of are dyed in a color solution before being woven into the design, not printed on the base fabric. Interesting huh?   By doing this, you now have a product that will be more fade resistant when in direct sunlight often for 2000 or more hours of UV exposure.  Of course, it makes sense that it is also more expensive.  So when contemplating your choice of whether to buy or cover your cushions, be sure to take this into consideration so you get years of enjoyment for your investment. Lots of fun stuff coming up this summer! Stay tune and let me know if you have a project you need done!

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