Slipcovers

Wild Update

When I picked up this rocker chair from my client’s house to begin work on it, a sweet little girl was curiously laying on it in the hallway where it waited for me to pick up. She told it me it used to be hers when she was a baby (I think she is about seven now). She thought I was going to draw on it to make new fabric and thought that it should be a dog print. Hmmm. Well, I can’t draw but I can make a slipcover and it’s not quite a dog print, but it is a wild one!

Fabric

My client is drawn to a neutral pallet of whites and creams, so when she decided to stretch a bit and went with an animal inspired print that had a little bit of wild influence, I was pleasantly surprised. This fabric is from Revolution Fabric, a performance fabric called Magnet in a teal color. It actually looks more like a teal tone of a gray….which you could say is a form of a neutral. It will add a fun pop of color and interest wherever she put it. It has a rub rating of 30,000 and is washable!

Design

The lines of this wingback rocker chair remained the same, with a white piping to break up the print and show the beautiful wing arm curves. We decided to keep the bottom corded and velcro’d to the bottom of the chair. I sometimes like to use a solid color for the seat decking to make it easier to see where the placement of the slipcover goes and to break up the busy pattern. For even more versatility and when she is done rocking the newest baby, she can replace the rocker legs with regular legs that she just happens to have and the finish of the chair will not be affected. I think the cleaner simple look of a corded bottom is perfect for this fabric.

What a better way to update this solid chair that clearly still held strong emotions to this little girl. It went from a heavy linen fabric that had years of stains and most recently cat scratches and dog chews. But that is life! I think this little girl thinks the chair will go back in her room, but I think mom has plans to use it for baby #3 but with a fun updated look.

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

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

Rethinking Pink

This little project was a true repurposing endeavor. Jane had an heirloom antique chair that she wanted to use for her daughter’s desk. Instead of purchasing new fabric and starting from scratch, she decided to reuse what she already had.  Normally I would get measurements and then quote a yardage amount of fabric needed for a project.  This time around, though, I was given a duvet cover and one window valance to work with.   I was tasked with making a slipcover for the chair and  a two-sided bed skirt to dress up the twin bed, originally the mom’s, to hide the trundle mattress underneath.

The first thing I did was to deconstruct the duvet and pillow sham into pieces that I could use.   I ripped and cut seams to provide me with pink fabric panels, stripe fabric strips, and floral pieces to create something new.

The Chair     Since the chair was wood, I knew slippage would be an issue.  My solution was to put a 1” foam seat cushion covered with muslin and stapled to underneath the chair. 

 It instantly provided a soft landing and one that would “stick” to the slipcover.  It also didn’t mess with the integrity of the chair and the beautiful cane seat. 

I also knew that the light weight pink cotton fabric would be see through.  A simple lining would not only help with the transparency but would give more body to the fabric. 

Cording made from the floral fabric  outlined the chair and set off the stripe banded bottom of the corner pleated floor length skirt.  A big floral bow and a small accent pillow made from scraps and finished off with a button from the valance,  finishes off this sweet chair.

The Bed Skirt     I still had plenty of pink fabric left to make the bed skirt for the twin bed.  Since the bed would always be up against the wall, it was only necessary to make a side and bottom skirt.  We decided on a gathered pink skirt with floral banded bottom again to give it some weight, definition and interest.  

  A simple banded top with loop Velcro attached would be simple to put on once they stapled the hook portion of the Velcro to inside of the bed frame. Easy on, easy off! 

After all these years of sewing, I can’t believe I only now discovered, or rather took the time to learn, a new method of gathering.  Gathers are a must for certain looks but I tend to shy away from them due to my aggravation in the construction.  In the “old” way, I would sew two seams close to each other within the seam allowance and down the length of the piece I wanted to gather.  I would then pull the 2 thread ends together, but inevitably a thread would break and I would have strings everywhere from fraying as I pulled.  After a lot of aggravation, I would eventually finish. I tend to avoid them all together.  But I discovered such a simple method!! I simply took some thin cord (like cotton crochet thread, roman shade string, floss), zig zagged over it being careful not to catch the cord.  That’s it.  You just pull the cord and it gathers beautifully! You can also buy a gathering band but I couldn’t get to the store in time to get that.

I guess you are never to old to learn a new trick.  That’s what I love about what I am doing. I am challenging myself to learn new methods of doing things I had done for years and to learn new skills in slipcovering and light upholstery. Next challenge is perfecting the illusive “invisible” zipper.

Until then,

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family · Slipcovers

Grown-up Rocker

Your baby is all grown up or at least out of the cuddling and rocking phase.   You’ve had  the sweet pink (or blue) upholstered swivel rocker that gently glided your little one to sleep for a few years.  It screams baby’s room but maybe it is now whispering “guest room”.IMG_3197

This rocker is a solid, well-built piece of furniture with probably a lot of sweet memories attached to it.  Wouldn’t it be nice to save that piece of furniture to keep and pass down for someone you love someday? By repurposing it to another room and with a new slipcover you can completely reinvent the rocker into a functional yet comfortable side chair for a guest room.  Jen moved her pink chair to a basement guest room with modern gray and navy theme.

We chose a denim-like 100% cotton geometric printed fabric from Hobby Lobby in the Property Brother’s line and outlined it in a gray linen piping.  I prewashed it to remove any shrink, just in case it ever needed to be washed.

A while back I recovered another glider similar to this for my daughter in a white bull denim cotton to put in the nursery for their newest arrival.  Here it is in the new room, new house, with my new granddaughter, Charlotte Anne.   Happy gliding!img_6065

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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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