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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Slipcovers

Furniture Floral Arrangement

This sturdy little side chair came to me in desperate need of a new dress.  Originally an upholstered chair, it sported a very worn and ill-fitted, possibly shrunk, slipcover.

My client had already purchased and prewashed the heavy weight and large floral printed fabric, so when I got the chair and fabric, it was ready to go.  I wanted to pay special attention to the layout of the floral placements on the arms, front back, seat and back so that that overall very wild floral print would be tamed a bit and settle on a spot. I had limited fabric to work with and when all was said and done, literally had scraps left.

The original slipcover had a side zipper however, due to the shape of the chair I suspected it wouldn’t be needed for easy removal with the proper “tuck-in” fabric allowances in the inner corners.  I always like to try to get away with not installing a zipper if possible.  I think it adds to the overall “upholstered” look of the slipcover.

A simple corded trim on the bottom of the chair finishes it off.

I actually took this chair project to my lake house to work on since I was planning on being there for over a week. 

I was impressed with how this fabric selection fit so well into my decor and provided just the right pop of print and color no matter where I put it, in front of a black table, red door or my robin’s egg hutch. I love it and so did my client!

It’s been a busy summer of client projects, new granddaughter, trips, lake visits, festivals, and home projects. Now that fall is here my attention turns to fall decorating, rearranging furniture (again!…as my husband rolls his eyes and patiently goes along with my ideas), and smaller client projects all while anxiously waiting on the arrival of my fourth grandchild…but the first from my son!  Stay tuned for a blogging catch up!

Happy Fall Y’all!

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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

Optical Illusions

How many of you remember the “Magic Eye” pictures from the 90’s.  The abstract-looking pictures you stare at it until you see the hidden picture?   No matter how hard I tried I could never “see” the picture.  I wonder what that says about me? 

 

 

For some reason I kept this book.  I thought it would be fun to take some of the pages and frame them for the kids room at the lake.   Now if they are “bored” (which by the way, is a word that no one is allowed to use at the lake), I can send them to the room to stare at the pictures. Ha!  This is leading somewhere, I promise.

 

 

Let’s switch gears a minute.  I acquired two of these blue velvet-like chairs for free. They looked liked an odd chair with the fabric covered arms and legs.   A little strange, but I figured it would all be covered anyway and since they were free I could practice on them  and  wouldn’t have much invested in them.

 Blue velvet "free" chairWhile visiting one of my new favorite fabric spots in Alexandria, The Fabric Place Basement, I found this cool linen like fabric that I actually had my eye on for a long time.  The first time I saw this fabric was at the Fabric Emporium in Warrenton.  It was showcased on a side chair as a slipcover and I fell in love with its wild side. But I didn’t have a project in mind for it. 3C17DB12-D440-4409-A0EB-1C4DF0304F4FMonths later I found this same fabric on clearance for $5 a yard at the Fabric Place Basement!  I snatched up 12 yards for some future project that was yet to be determined at that time.  Well, the two projects seemed to find each other.   This fabric would be perfect to try my hand at slipcovering these two chairs. It was lightweight, crisp, interesting and whimsical. With the simple straight lines on the chairs, these chairs would be a breeze to construct.  At first glance it looks like an easy pattern match, but once you step back from the chair your eyes can start to play tricks on you, if you OCD like me, and notice the “optical illusion” of the pattern.

 

 

To give your eyes a break from the zig-zagging pattern and to make it a little softer looking, I put a light brown velvet piping around the base of the seat. A floor-length corner-pleated skirt hides the blue legs and finishes the chairs perfectly.

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The slipcover gives the illusion of upholstered arms and really transforms these wacky blue chairs to an eye-catching statement chairs.  A colorful lumbar style pillow adds the perfect complement to the chair and gives your eyes a little break from the design.

I am officially on “baby watch” and am trying to position myself so I can be on call when my daughter calls me to tell me it’s time.   

Have a great summer!

Denise

 

cushions · Slipcovers

A Squirrely Scenario

Squirrels.  They can be fun to watch with their jerky little movements and bushy tails, nibbling on acorns that have fallen from the trees.   We almost even resolve to the fact that they will eat the bird food from our bird feeders, though not without a fight and attempt at so-called squirrel-proof feeders. But who would ever expect them to start nibbling and tearing up our cushions?   That’s exactly what happened to Dawn. squirrel damageBeside the squirrel damage her cushions weren’t in bad shape considering how long she has had them.  The original Sunbrella fabric in a darker golden brown color held up well in the elements under her gorgeous covered outdoor patio.  The metal frames of the furniture were still in excellent shape so it made perfect sense to replace the cushions. 

Dawn found the perfect fabric, Sunbrella Posh Oats, a lighter golden herringbone design.  Staying in the same color family, the fabric has the right combination of texture, design, and color that will be comfortable, timeless, compliment her outdoor stone and hold up well in the elements.

I like a good challenge and the ottomans in this job gave me just that! They had a unique structure that allowed them to snuggle into the ottoman frame to hold them securely in place with feet movement.   I simply deconstructed the original, made a pattern and recreated the same design.   The biggest challenge I found was wrestling the foam insert back into the new cushion covers.   What a workout! Challenge accepted and complete.  

Nestled in her beautifully landscaped backyard with a natural wooded backdrop, the outdoor fireplace and babbling water fountain invite you to sit a bit to enjoy the birds and breeze.

  With these new cushions you might just not want to go inside.  

Until next time,

Denise

 

 

Slipcovers

Lake Rental Retreat Cushions

It’s right about this time of year when the weather starts the rollercoaster ride.  We totter1E00B65F-C436-48DE-9FBA-3269152D01D7 between seventy’s and rain and the chance of wintry mix.  The daffodils and crocuses burst through the ground as if to say “yay spring!”  We’ve put our holiday decor away and start to fill our empty-feeling spaces with spring wreathes, lighter pillows, and spring accents.  We clean, organize and get things ready in anticipation for the new season.  Yay spring! Our attention also turns to the outside, cleaning flower beds, raking remnants of leaves, pruning and taking assessment of what needs attention.

Carolyn is doing just that.  She uses this transition season to update and fix things in her fantastic rental property on Smith Mountain Lake before the busy rental season hits.   This year she wanted to update her cushions for her sunroom furniture. 4A566417-B9E4-47EC-ABC2-A06811DFEBF2

They were starting to look a little weathered, frayed, faded and very tired. 34d52ac9-3360-42ac-9cd5-02482d376f5b-e1519647797173.jpeg

She was looking for something with a little more “pop” and with a bit of a raspberry color to tie in with the wall color.  I think she nailed it with this floral Syla Multi by Magnolia fabric with a high rub count from U-Fab in Richmond, VA.  5f2abf60-8e43-4532-ad37-103a53072e4f-e1519609296627.jpegWhat is rub count? It’s a rating given to fabric in either a code or number ranging from delicate duty (DD) with rub counts around 3000, which would be appropriate for pillows and decorative purposes, to heavy-duty (HD) with rub counts over 30,000, perfect for family rooms with kids and pets.   The higher the number the better when it comes to wearability.  This beauty has a rub count of 30,000!

To coordinate with the beautiful, almost tropical floral, she chose this Peka Poolside teal color for her two side chairs.  It’s the perfect contrast and reminds me of waves in the water. 4a3f5f5c-8786-42e1-a2f1-f7575c7f0fb9.jpeg

Add a couple of new throw pillows done with the floral on one side and the stripe on the flip side, and you not only add extra comfort but versatility.7bdaedb5-b0a2-4c04-ac88-f5eb00da680d-e1519613632662.jpeg

What a perfect place to wake up in the morning with a cup a coffee and watch the sun rise and the early morning fishermen or kayakers….6faad949-5a94-4c40-a3c5-98be2cd3ab4b.jpeg

or gather at night with a glass of wine and watch the sun set.  I can assure you with the 180 degree view of the lake from this room, I would never want to leave.7699047b-f2ae-49c3-be70-f6c27a2c9328.jpeg

If you still love your outdoor furniture but all you need is a little update and refresh on your cushions now is the perfect time to do it.  Contact me today to find out the next steps.

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Decorating · Lakehouse · Sewing · Slipcovers

Bonus Chairs in Boucle’

I found these two chairs and ottoman for $100 with the intention of slipcovering them for my  soon to be finished bonus room/workroom/she-shed/study/escape room at the lake.  I was looking for matching club chairs that wouldn’t be too big but would be comfortable enough to snuggle up on and were in good condition.

Almost immediately after I got them home, I started to doubt my decision.  They “looked” stiff and uncomfortable.  I considered reselling them and starting over before I invested any more in them, but after further “comfort testing”,  I decided it was probably the  dark and “office-like” fabric that was getting under my skin.  If I found the right fabric, they might just work.  Since I’m a hands-on kind of person, I went fabric shopping so I could actually feel the fabric and drape.  I found a knobby textured yet soft boucle fabric.   It reminds me a little bit of terry cloth, but not snaggy.  Normally I don’t recommend upholstery fabric for slipcovers as it is harder to sew, doesn’t have the drape of natural fibers, and isn’t machine washable.  Since these chairs had very simple lines, would be in a room with very little traffic and I wasn’t planning on removing them to wash them, I didn’t think this would be a problem.  I planned to Scotch Guard them as well.

I chose a neutral color so I could accent them with pops of seasonal colored throw pillows.   A tan velvet piping  and two-inch velvet band on the bottom gave the chairs even more softness and elevated these chairs to another level.  I LOVE them.

I think they turned out great and now meet all my criteria….matching, comfortable, soft and versatile.    My plan was to use these as the fall/winter slipcovers and make something lighter and “lakey” for the spring and summer (stay tuned).   That’s the beauty of slipcovers.  You can actually change your mind and recover them if you get tired of the fabric or just want to change things up by the season or your mood. 

If you are trying to decide if slipcovering is right for you, checkout one of my favorite blogs and inspirations,  The Slipcover Maker to know when it is a good idea to go with a slipcover and when it is not.  detailsbydenise_3x5-smaller

 

 

 

Decorating · Lakehouse · Sewing · Slipcovers

Wings & the Test of Time

I never considered myself the “wingback” type, but for an affordable $35 it seemed like a good buy and would help fill an empty room in our new home twenty one years ago.  The seam on the pink cushion is busted but other than that it doesn’t look much different today than back then.   The chair served us well for the next twenty years by just moving it around from house to house and room to room whether it be a bedroom corner, a music room, a study, or a nook in my kitchen.  But over the years, my taste in color, style and fabric also changed.  

This chair had been through the sea-foam green and dusty pink decade and then with the help of a slipcover, went on through the gold and burgundy years .  It would not only be my first piece to slipcover but later served as my inspiration for Details by Denise.  I found an inexpensive home décor fabric, a slipcover pattern, some self-motivation and eventually finished it.   These days I am feeling a lot more neutral…with a touch of blue.  So, with a new spot for it in a corner of my lake house bedroom, it was time for a new slipcover. 

I have always wanted to try a fabric combination and wingback chairs are perfect for this concept.  I picked out a two-toned brown striped linen, and a blue and brown plaid.   I had two challenges…. dealing with stripes and matching plaids.  I made the cushion with plaid on one side and stripe of the flip side to change it up if I wanted to, but I really like the look of the plaid.  I only have one wingback but I am sort of partial to it.  I can’t bear to part with it, so I guess I will keep reinventing it as my mood or colors changes.

You can never go wrong with something neutral for slipcovers for the most versatility, but sometimes you just want it a little unexpected and interesting.  You could consider using old quilts, chenille or matelassé bedspreads, ticking or drop cloth for parts or all of your slipcover.  Pinterest is a wonderful place to search for ideas. 

If you have ever wondered about slipping a piece that needs an update, I would love to help you design it and make that thought a reality.  Now is the time if you want it done before the end of the year.

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Decorating · Sewing · Slipcovers

Tickled Pink

My client has an eye for flair and design and was constantly drawn to blue and pink. The blues are navy, bright and bold, creating a contemporary yet fun and inviting atmosphere.  The pink is fuchsia or dark pink in small pops mainly from accessories such as pillows, flowers and pictures, but enough to make a statement and draw you in.

 

 When she wanted to change her two side chairs  in her front room she  tried painting them blue.  Not impressed with the outcome, but not willing to give up on finding a way to salvage and reinvent the two comfortable chairs, she decided on another option, slipcovers.   Initially she imagined white chairs with blue trim.  Though it was what she always envisioned, her gut was saying to step out of the box and be a little daring. 

Sometimes it just takes time and patience for the piece of inspiration to present itself.  It could be a picture, a pillow or some unexpected element that inspires you.  For my client, that was a beautiful rug she found at Homegoods for her kitchen. It was from this rug that she got the idea to trim the chairs with fuchsia.  I totally agree!   IMG_3547

There are endless possibilities with slipcovers depending on your fabric, trim, back and hem details.  If you can dream it and have the inspiration, I can help make that vision a reality.  If you have a piece or two you have been thinking about, let me know how I can help. 

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Decorating · Sewing · Slipcovers

Have cushions, will travel.

Here is another example of a great patio furniture set that was in desperate need of a cushion update. The fabric was faded, worn,  stained, dated and basically just needed an update.  Because all of the cushions are custom fitted to this furniture with rounded edges and shaped to fit each piece perfectly, it made sense for Jessica to have new cushions made instead of buying ready-made.

Not only would they fit better, she could pick the exact color scheme she wanted in a fabric that would stand up to several years of wear and tear, dogs and kids.  Jessica chose a Sunbrella fabric in Cast Shale with a Sunbrella canvas black for the piping contrast from Decorativefabricsdirect.com. 

Though Jessica lives in PA, she travels back and forth to northern VA for business periodically.  So she loaded up her vehicle with the thirteen cushions.  After making thirty five yards of piping, I began work on the custom cushions for a three-seat patio couch, two-seat loveseat, side chair and ottoman.

This fabric was a dream to work with.  It was lightweight, non-directional and the same on both sides. What more could a  slipcover girl ask for?  It’s also easy to clean, durable, and a solution dyed acrylic that resists mildew, stains and fading. What more could a family with an active lifestyle ask for?

I have a busy month ahead with more cushions, twin chairs, a loveseat and swivel rocker all waiting for their chance to get redone.  If you have a special piece you need done for the holidays, now’s the time to start planning.  Give me a call. 

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