Monday, April 30, 2012

How To Sew Outdoor Cushions Part 2

With summer fast approaching, I'm making my outdoor projects a top priority.  I love to spend as much time outdoors as possible during the warm months of the year.  Some of our favorite things to do are:  Grilling of course, Smores around the fire pit and playing a few rounds of Progressive Rummy with family and friends.  So new cushions for the outdoor chairs is definitely at the top of my "to do" list.
A couple weeks ago I showed how to make a custom pattern for your outdoor chairs and today I'm going to show how to sew these cushions from the pattern you made.  If you didn't see the original post, you can find it 
Mine looked like this

My cushion is going to be boxed with 2" foam, welt cord and a zipper closure.

Cutting-  Cut 2 of your pattern pieces for each cushion.
              I measured the back part of my cushion to see how long I wanted my zipper to be.  Make sure  
              your zipper is long enough to stuff your foam through it when the cushion is done.
              My zipper is going to be 20" long, so I added 1" for seam allowance.  I'll be cutting my zipper
              21" long.   
              Now since your cushions might not be 2" thick like mine, here's a formula to determine how wide 
              to cut your zipper strips:  Foam thickness (2") divided by 2= (in my case 1") plus 1 1/8" my 
              zipper strips will be cut 2 1/8" wide by 21" long.  Cut 2 of these per cushion.
              For the boxing, measure all the way around your cushion, then subtract your zipper length and then 
              add a few inches for seam allowance.  It's OK to cut your boxing a little longer...better too long 
             than too short.  Add 1" to the width of your foam for seam allowances.  So my boxing was cut
             54" long by 3" wide.
             Instructions for cutting bias strips and covering welt cord are here.  Make sure you make enough 
             welt cord to go around the top and the bottom of your cushion.

After you've made all your welt cord it's time to start constructing the cushions.  Just take it step by step.

Step 1.  Welt to top and bottom cushion pieces-Fold your cushion pieces in half and find the center back of your cushion.  Make a small snip there.  Place your welt cord a 1/2" beyond this snip mark and begin stitching at the snip mark, leaving that first 1/2" of welt loose.
The first back corner of my cushion is rounded, so I simply cut into the welt about every 3/4" to make the curve of the corner.
But your corner may be squared off like my front corners are.  To make those corners, stitch up to, but not beyond 1/2" of the corner.  Stop with your needle down.
Clip into the seam allowance of your welt right at the place where your needle is down.
Raise the presser foot and pivot your cushion and welt.
Continue to stitch the welt all the way around your cushion.  Stop stitching 2-3" from the center back starting point.  Stop with your needle down.
Cut your welt 1/2" beyond the center of the cushion.
Open approx. 2" of the welt cord seam to expose the cotton cording inside.
Turn up 1/2" of the welt cord fabric and lay it flat on your cushion.
Lay the beginning part of your welt cord on top of this.
Now cut the extra cotton cord so that it butts right up against the beginning welt cord.
Fold the fabric over the beginning welt cord and stitch across it.
Following these instructions, add the welt cord to all your cushion pieces.

Part 2.  Zipper  I know a lot of people are intimidated by zippers, but these zipper instructions are EASY, I promise!  I use zipper by the yard, you can use a store bought zipper if you like, just buy your zippers a little longer and extend the actual zipper past the zipper strips on both ends.  If you are going to be making a lot of cushions, I highly recommend zipper by the yard.  First off, you can make your zipper what ever length you need and second off, zipper by the yard costs pennies compared to store bought zippers that I think run a couple dollars each.  I'll attach a link at the end of this post for some sources for zipper by the yard.
OK, back to sewing our zipper.  Lay your first zipper strip face down on the zipper and stitch close to the zipper teeth.
Stitch all the way to the end of your zipper strip and cut your zipper off evenly with the zipper strip.
Open out your zipper strip.
Now push the fabric over one side of the zipper teeth.  Not all of the zipper teeth, just one side, right down the middle.  Top stitch, aligning the right side of the zipper foot along the teeth.  This gives you a guide for the perfect distance away from those teeth and helps you stitch straight.

Now lay your second zipper strip on the other side of the zipper and repeat the steps.
When you top stitch this time, you will see that the fabric folds meet at the center of the zipper, hiding all the zipper teeth.
Here's what it will look like.
Now add your zipper slide.  Another reason zipper by the yard is so much better and easier, you can add the zipper slide after the zipper is more fighting zipper slides to get your stitching straight.

With right sides together, lay one end of your boxing against the end of your zipper and stitch.

Step 3.  Stitching the boxing to the first cushion side.  Fold your zipper in half and find the center of your zipper strip.  Clip on both sides of the zipper strips.
Match the clip mark in your zipper strip to the clip mark in the center back of your cushion.  Pin the zipper to the back of the cushion, clipping into the seam allowance where necessary to round the curves.
Stitch the zipper strip to the cushion getting as close to the welt cord as possible.
Continue to stitch the zipper and boxing to the cushion clipping in to the seam allowance as you did for the welt.  When you get to a corner, stitch right up to the clip in your welt and pause with the needle down.  Clip up to, but not beyond the needle again.  
Raise the presser foot and pivot the cushion and boxing.
Make sure you stitch close to the welt at the corners with out actually stitching over the welt.  Continue around your cushion until you get to within a few inches of the starting end of your boxing/zipper.  Extend the boxing past the starting point by 1/2" and make a clip mark here.
Remove your cushion from the machine and cut the excess boxing off at your clip mark.  Cut it straight across.
Using 1/2" seam allowance, stitch the end of the boxing to the end of the zipper.
Finish stitching the last few inches of the boxing/zipper to the cushion.
This is what your cushion should look like at this point.  Give yourself a pat on the back because you are past the hardest part of cushion making!!

Step4.  Boxing to the second cushion piece.  I've seen people try to make boxed cushions before and they had a hard time getting their corners to match up.  So here's my tip for helping to match the corners perfectly.  Start by matching up those little slit marks we cut in our cushion backs and the center of our zipper strip.  Now fold the corners of your cushion like this.

Make a small clip mark in the opposite side of the boxing strip.
This clip mark should line up with the corner of the second cushion piece.  You can pin it there if that helps.

Starting at the center back of our cushion, with our clip marks lined up, stitch the boxing to the second cushion piece.  Again, making sure your stitching is tight to the welt cord.
Clip around curved corners like you did with the first cushion piece.
As you're approaching your first corner, check to see if your clip mark is going to line up with the corner.  If it's just shy of lining up, don't worry about it, the pressure from your presser foot will stretch the boxing and by the time you get to the actual corner it will most likely line up.  If it looks like it is lining up past the corner, then you need to try to feed some of the boxing strip into your stitching.  I'm not saying to make little tucks!  I'm saying gently push the boxing towards your presser foot and needle as you stitch, easing this extra into the seam.  At the same time stretching the cushion piece on the bottom.  If your corner is within 1/8" of lining up perfectly, that is fine.  Anything more than that needs to be adjusted.
When you get to the corner, pause with the needle down and make your slit all the way to the needle, pivot and continue to stitching...just like you did previously.
Stitch all the way around your cushion.  Open the zipper and turn right side out.
Yikes!  Mine is a little wrinkly now.  If yours is too, give it a quick pressing and you are ready to put it on your cushion.  If you made your new cushion cover to cover an existing cushion, remove the old cushion cover before putting this cover on your foam.  You don't want the old cushion cover showing through and you don't want the old welt making lumps and bumps through your new cushion cover.
Here's few pictures of my finished cushions on my chair.  Add a throw pillow and it's an instant upgrade.  
Hmm....which pillow to feature on my chair?  I think I'm leaning towards this pottery barn inspired coral pillow.  Which one do you like better?
Now that my chair has a new cushion, I think it needs to be refinished....that will have to wait for another day.

Here's a link for zipper by the yard

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Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Shoe Rack- My Garage Sale Find

I don't know how many of you gals do the "Garage Sale" thing, or the "Thrift Store" thing, but I love to do both!
It's a relaxing hobby for me.  I naturally wake early, so getting up early on a Saturday morning and driving around prime neighborhoods in hot pursuit of a fabulous find is something I consider a treat!  I actually have with drawls if I haven't been in a while.
Lately I've found some really great finds and I thought I would start to share some of them with you all.
Here's the find of the day from last Saturday morning.
No, not all the shoes......the shoe rack.  I bought 2 of them for $5.00 each!
Look at all the shoes they hold!!

The top shelf is perfect for boots too.
Here's the second one.
These shoe racks held so many shoes that I actually have some room leftover....hmm, what's a girl to do?  Buy more shoes!
They didn't hold all my boots, but I prefer to keep a lot of those in the boxes anyways.
So if you've never tried the "Garage Sale" thing because you think it's just a bunch of junk people are trying to get rid of, think again!
I can't tell you how many times I have gotten compliments on things that were Garage Sale or Thrift Store finds.
I'd love to hear all about your favorite finds.  Comment and tell me all about them!Pin It
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