Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Slip Covered Chair

I was blessed to have a wonderful stepfather Don.  Don passed away 6 years ago and I miss him terribly!  I inherited a chair that belonged to him and before him it belonged to his mother.  Don had a love of animals and every picture I have seen of his chair from years pass is with an animal of some sort taking a snooze on this chair.  This chair has definitely seen better days, one of the wood arms has permanent teeth impressions from his mothers dog, one of the legs is attached with an "L" bracket...well you get the picture.  I would never think of parting with this chair and I like the flaws/history of this chair.  Something about this chair attracts animals and my cats snooze on it daily.  So every couple years I have to slip cover it.  When I saw the Sew-vivor competition, I knew I wanted to slip cover this chair as my entry.
I didn't take pictures as I worked on this chair, so today there is no tutorial.  Just posting my newly slip covered cat lovin beaten up chair that I cherish.  It's a hard chair to slip cover because there are so many factors like covering the arms and closures etc.  I chose a white fabric and trimmed it out with linen colored welt.
For the closures I used Mother of Pearl buttons.  The fan fold pleated skirt is accented with 1/2" of contrasting linen along the bottom.  I made it just long enough to hide the "L" bracket that holds the leg on but still allows it's curvy legs to show.
Here's a few more pics.
If you have family favorite that has seen better days, slip covering may be a great option.  I plan on doing a couple slip cover tutorials in the near future, so stay tuned for those.
Wish me luck in the sew-vivor competition!!
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Friday, February 24, 2012

Knotted Corner Pillow

My favorite designer always has some fun and interesting details she has me add to her creations, that's one of the reasons she's my favorite.  Her projects are always interesting and fun to work on.  Lately she has been on a Knotted Corner Pillow kick and I can see why.  Knotted corners on pillows look so cute.
Wouldn't this be cute with a nautical or beachy fabric?
Follow along as I show how to make these knots.

Cut your pillow as you would for a basic pillow.  You can find those instructions here:

You're going to need enough lip cord to go all around your pillow plus about 7" per corner.
You're also going to need a cording foot that is slightly smaller then your lip cord.
My lip cord is 1/2" diam. and I'm using a 1/4" cording foot.

Always start lip cord at the center bottom of your pillow front.  I just make a small clip in my fabric to mark the center bottom.  Extend the cord 1 1/2" past the center point.  This extra will be used to join the lip cord.

Stitch on top of the lip cord biting into the actual cord.  Stop with your needle down when you get approx. 2" from the corner.  Clip into the lip at 1 1/2" from the corner.
Now depending on the diameter of your cord, leave approx.  5 1/2" and then clip into your lip again.  You may have to experiment to get this exact measurement right.  It all depends on how thick your cord is and how tight you want your knot.
Remove the lip from your cord between these two clips.  Sometimes there is a chain stitch and if you find the right thread you can just pull and the stitching simply unravels.
Tie a knot with the cord.
After you've tied your knot, stitch up to the first clip mark and back stitch.  Clip the threads and remove from under the foot.  Pivot your pillow and put your cording foot at the 2nd clip mark.  Back stitch and continue to sew up the next side of your pillow until you get 2" from the next corner and repeat.
There will be an un-stitched area in the corners.  We will go back and stitch that later.
Once you've knotted all your corners and you are on the final stretch (bottom) of your pillow, stop stitching with your needle down about 2" from your center mark.  Cut your cord 1 1/2"-2" beyond the center clip.  Dab both cut ends of cord with glue.
Let the glue dry for about 5 min.  Now separate the lip from the cord the last 1 1/2" of each end.
Unravel your cord slightly and lay those three cords flat like this.
Unravel the other end of the cord just enough to sit/butt up against the flattened out cord.  Basically you are criss crossing them.
Holding the cord ends in place, stitch over them.
Finish constructing your pillow following "How to Sew a Basic Pillow" link at the beginning of this post.
After you have the zipper and sides stitched together, go back and stitch diagonally across the corners.  Be sure not to catch the knots in the stitching.
Trim the corners.
Turn right side out and press.  Stuff your pillow.
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Saturday, February 18, 2012

Sand Dollar Pillow

I love shells!  If you don't know this about me yet, I love summer days spent at the beach!  And I love surrounding myself all year long with things that remind me of those summer days.
I for one have never been lucky when it comes to finding unbroken shells at the beach, so I purchased the ones I used on this pillow.
Isn't it cute!

Follow along as I make this summer inspired pillow.

What you'll need:
1 yd of burlap, linen or whatever fabric you desire
1/8 yd of off white fabric
4 sand dollars
pillow fill

My pillows finished size is 19x12

Since the weave of my burlap is loosely woven and I did not want my pillow fill to show through, I double layered my burlap on the front.
Cut 2 @ 20"x13"
Cut 1 @ 21"x14" (I always cut my back piece 1" bigger)
Use scrap to cut 2 zipper stops. 3 1/2"x 1 1/8"
Off White Fabric
Cut 2 @ 13"x3"

Since burlap tends to frey a lot, I serged all around my pillow pieces.  I serged my 2 front layers together.

My banding on this pillow is 1 1/2" wide, but I cut my pieces 3" wide so that when I pressed under the long edges it would not leave shading behind it.
Press one long edge of the banding approx 3/4".
Now press the other long edge over to join that edge.
Turn the banding over and make sure it looks straight and uniform.
Measure and pin the banding about 5" in from the sides.  I think if I was doing this pillow over again I would have put the banding a little farther over.
Pin it well, cause it might slip around a little when you go to stitch it.
Top stitch close to both long edges.
I hand tacked the sand dollars on after the pillow was completely constructed.
You can find the instruction for finishing the construction of the pillow here:

After you have finished your pillow, place the sand dollars where you want them.  I used some painters tape to hold them in place until I could hand stitch them.
I hand stitched them through the 2 holes at 11 and 1 o clock.
Stuff your pillow and you are done!
It's feeling a little like summer at my house already.Pin It Pin It

Monday, February 13, 2012

Easy Euro Shams with a 3" Flange

My biggest designer has me working on a job in Beverly Hills.  It's a bedding job and since I have been wanting to share how to make  Euro Shams with Flanges, it came at the perfect time.  Euro Shams are a fabulous  part of a bedding ensemble.  Often times they have a top stitched flange around the border.  The problem with flanges, especially if they are 3" wide is they flop away from the front of the pillow  and don't really give the impact they are meant to give.  Here are a few examples of floppy flanges:
I'm going to show you how to get rid of the "flop".

Follow along as I make these Easy Euro Shams.
I usually put a zipper closure in my shams, but this designer specifically asked for french closures.  So this really is going to be one of the easiest projects for beginner sewers.

Technically Euro Shams are 26"x26".  But you can make them whatever size you want.  I am making 26"x26" Euro Shams with a 3" flange.  Again, you can make your flange whatever size you desire.
Since Euros are so big, I always estimate 2 yds of fabric per sham.
What you'll need:
2 yds of fabric per sham
matching thread
1 yd of lining per sham
1 yd of batting per sham

Lets figure our cuts.

Take a look at the diagram above.  We will cut the front of our sham 33"x33" (26"+3"+3"+1"=33")
The second diagram is a view of the back of our pillow.  To figure the cuts of our french closure in the back, we take half the pillow 13"+3" flange+1/2" seam allow.+2" overlap+2" double 1" hem=21 1/2".
So we cut 2 pieces 21 1/2" wide x 33" long.
Also cut a lining piece 33"x33" and a piece of batting 33"x33".  Use upholstery batting, not quilt batting.  Your batting needs to be thick and have plenty of body to it in order to keep those flanges from flopping.

Press up double 1" hems on the center edges of your back pieces.
Top stitch the hem close to the folded hem edge.
Now we're gonna make a sham sandwich.    Place your lining piece down, then your batting, then the front of your sham with the face of the fabric up, then  lay your 2 french closure sections on top with the face of the fabric down..  Align the outside edges of all the layers.  Remember our back pieces are going to overlap by 4" total.  Pin all the way around all 4 edges.  I use more pins then usual when pinning these layers together because they tend to slip around when they are under the presser foot of the sewing machine.

Using a 1/2" seam allowance, stitch around all four sides of your sham sandwich.  If any of your layers shift, just stitch according to the front 33x33 square.  Clip the corners diagonally 1/8" from stitching.
Turn right side out and press the edges flat making sure the fabric on the back does not come around and peek out on the front.
As you're pressing the edges, pin approx. 2 1/2" from the outside edge.
Instead of using tailors chalk or disappearing sewing pens, I use painters tape as a guide to top stitch my 3" flange.
I also keep a hem gauge handy so when I get near the corner I can measure when I'm 3" from the next edge.  At that point, I stop with my needle down, lift the presser foot, pivot my pillow, lower the presser foot and continue my top stitching.
Stuff your pillow with a Euro size pillow fill and you are done!
No floppy flanges!!  Told you it was easy!!  Hope you enjoyed this tutorial and stay tuned for many more! Pin It

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Ballard Inspired Chalk Boards

I saw these chalkboards in the Ballard Catalogue and just new I wanted to make something similar.

Aren't they just the cutest!
As you all know, I'm more of a sewer, but during my childhood I used to "putter" in the garage with my father.   That's what he would call it...puttering in the garage.  I have fond memories watching and helping my father putter.  So this project was great because once again I was puttering in the garage with my father!

I used newspaper and a sharpie to draw out and perfect my shapes.  My father suggested I use thin Fiber board which I bought at the local hardware store for $3.00 a quarter sheet.  I could get 3 of my chalkboards out of a quarter sheet.  I traced my newspaper patterns on the fiber board with a sharpie.  Now it was time for my dad to get out his favorite toy.....his Shop Smith.
This thing can do everything!!!
We used what I think is called a band saw?
At first I left all the cutting to my dad since he is an expert at this sort of stuff, but I noticed his eyes aren't what they used to be and he was going out side the lines in a few places, so I took over.  While I cut the shapes, he sanded the edges on the sander wheel you see right behind the band saw.  It was so nice to be puttering in the garage with my dad again!!
I applied chalkboard paint to the fronts, yes I purchased chalkboard paint since this was my first time working with the stuff, I figured I better buy the pre-made stuff.  I know there are simple recipes for it all over Pinterest, but I really didn't want to screw this up.  I applied 2 coats and sanded each coat with 400 grit sand paper.
Since the fiber board was so thin, I knew attaching picture hangers to the back was not an option.  So I decided to hang them with fabric.  I drilled 2 holes, Ripped 1 1/2" wide  strips of muslin so that it would leave raw edges, and fed the strips through the holes and tied knots....instant hanger!
Next was the challenging part for me.  Painting little doo dad lines around the border.  I just used some old trim paint I had left over from who knows what.  It was perfect because it wasn't white white, it was a creamy white.  I let that dry, lightly sanded again and's my Ballard Inspired chalkboards.
This one hangs in my kitchen.
  The rest I made for a little consignment shop I put some of my pillows and slipcovers in from time to time.
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