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

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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