Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Campaign Dressers

These two beauties were purchased last week from Craigslist for only $40. For both. Seriously. They are 43" high and 34" wide. When positioned next to each other like in the picture, that is 68" of storage for next to nothing.

Look at the brass detail. This is what I love best about them.

This lamp also called my name at Salvation Army a few days ago. For only $5 how could I leave her?

Currently the dressers are in my dining room until I paint them and move them upstairs to a bedroom. This next month we are going to switch the kids rooms around. My two oldest currently share a room while the 2 year old is still in the nursery. My son will move to the nursery since it is smaller and the two girls will share the larger room. And by larger I mean still really small. This 100 year old house is a little on the cramped side.

I envision the two campaign dressers side by side in the girls room painted a soft lilac or light blue. It all depends on the inspiration fabric I have yet to find. The lamp will be spray painted a glossy color and probably go on top of the dressers also. The nursery will turn into a big kid room for my son but have no idea yet on color scheme. It will be interesting to see what direction the kids rooms take.

Monday, October 28, 2013

When Good Pillows Go Bad, A Lesson on Piping

This past week I decided to try two new pillow sewing projects that I'd never done before. The first one was attempting piping on a pillow. After sewing many basic pillow covers I felt ready to tackle this fabulous detail. How hard could it be right? Well...I made a few mistakes and hopefully any new sewers out there can learn some things not to do.

There are lots of tutorials out their with great details on the specifics for this type of project like this one and this one. For the most part I followed them so here is just a basic rundown of what I did.

Making the piping was very simple. I saved the cording from this curbside rescue that wasn't reused on that project. A few strips of fabric were cut on a 45 degree angle and sewn together to create one long continuous strip of fabric.

Using my zipper foot which came with the sewing machine, I sewed the fabric close to the cord.

The piping was then pinned to the front facing fabric. Little cuts on the extra piping fabric were made on the corners to allow for it to bend.

Next a basic 14" zipper was sewn onto the 2 pieces of fabric for the back of the pillow fabric. I used the same fabric as the piping since the front fabric was on the expensive side.

The front and back fabric pieces right sides facing each other were then sewed together staying as close to the piping as possible. Here is the finished pillow.

So where are the mistakes? There are 3 main things that really bother me about this pillow. First, when pinning the piping onto the leopard fabric I should have rounded the corners more. Also the piping shifted when sewing onto one of the corners. Doesn't it look like a little peninsula sticking out on the top right?

Next, I don't know what I was thinking when attaching the zipper on the two back fabrics. I sewed as close to the zipper as I could with the zipper foot attachment. That's fine with piping but not with zippers! Well, now it is so close the zipper won't lay flat under the fabric and the thread is not in a straight line. Look at this mess. Isn't it lovely? Not.

Lastly, some thread is visible if looking closely between some piping and the front fabric. In the future I would not sew quite as close when creating the piping. This would allow room for the final round of sewing and no previous stiches would peak through.

I learned a lot from creating this pillow cover. Piping is not very forgiving so take your time and be precise about placement. Go slowly when attaching zippers, it's not a race. And don't use expensive fabric when trying out new techniques.

With a little fluffing and arranging this pillow cover still looks pretty good all things considered.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Dropcloth Seat Covers

It all started with this fabric. I just had to have it after seeing it in a direct mailer from Walter E Smithe, a local furniture chain. I loved the curved lines, soft blue and thin navy outline.

I spent an embarrassing amount of time hunting the fabric down in the wee hours of the morning and finally found it here. With a 50% coupon it still cost $30/ yard so after ordering 3 yards plus shipping & tax I was out just over $100 to recover 6 dining chairs purchased from Craigslist. This was a lot for me to spend on fabric per yard but it was only 3 yards and I had enough fabric left over to make 2 pillow covers.

Well it didn't take long for me to realize the new seats needed some protection from my 3 young children. At 6, 4, and 2 they have their fair share of spills and messes during mealtime. Slipcovers seemed the only reasonable option so I attempted to whip up a little something regardless of my lack of sewing machine skills.

I chose a fabric drop cloth from Home Depot because of it's low price and durability. To soften the color I soaked the entire dropcloth in a 1 part bleach 3 parts water solution for a few hours. After washing in the washing machine and drying on high heat I was ready to attempt a slipcover. I decided on a very basic cover with a short hemmed skirt on the sides. I used a prehemmed side of the dropcloth for the skirt to save time.

Some of the excess fabric was trimmed to make handling the fabric easier at the sewing machine. I then used my daughter's orange marker to mark the sew line to help guide when sewing it together.

The next hour was spent wrestling with my machine and the fabric. The corners were hard! I wasn't able to create nice little matching pleats but no longer was worried about that and just wanted to finish these things. They are meant for kids and what do they know about slipcovers? I mean, anything had to be a vast improvement over the white bath towels that were constantly draped over the seats right?

I added a back panel after piecing the main parts together. The cover stayed put with no slipping so I skipped ties or tabs. Two of them have been completed, one from start to finish each day.

They have been washed and dried a few times so far and seem to be holding up. Obviously they have a "homemade" quality to them but I really like the way they look with the color and texture - and I feel a sense of accomplishment for tackling a new sewing project. Now only four more to go!

Monday, October 14, 2013

Curbside Ottoman Makeover

Found this beauty at the end of someone's driveway last week. It was garbage amnesty day at the town next to mine so everyone leaves out all of the big things that won't fit in regular garbage cans.

After prying off more than 250 staples - no exageration, I was left with a solid wood frame, strong webbing and a loose pillow top that wasn't stinky (phew!).

Some batting was first stapled to the frame. In the spirit of keeping costs down, I used a Dwell Studio round tablecloth from Target purchased maybe 4 years ago as my fabric. I always loved the print but rarely used it since it was so bold on such a large surface. The round center medallion was a good size for the ottoman so it was cut up.

To ensure the fabric was stapled tightly, I flipped the ottoman over and stood on the underside to compress the pillow. Each side was stapled as tight as possible without overpulling the fabric. This was not upholstery grade so I was carefull to not create holes. I then propped the stool back up on its legs and tucked the extra fabic under at each leg where I couldn't staple under like on the sides. $4 of brown cotton trim from Hobbly Lobby was glued with Stitch Witch to cover the staples.

Some Old English Scratch Cover was used for the legs and it now sits under a white occasional table for extra seating. The pattern adds a jolt to the room and fills a bare space that was begging for a little something!

Linked up to The Shabby Nest

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Reupholstered Living Room Couch

A few months ago I received a couch passed on to me from a relative. Originally the couch was my parents but my relative had kept it in her formal living room for roughly the last 25 years with its original upholstery. Even though I had no need for a new couch, I loved the shape and single bench seat cushion. Plus, my mom picked it out many years ago so I was a little attached to it. Here it is hanging out in the family room.

I decided an extremely durable classic fabric was needed since the new upholstery had to last. I'd read about Sunbrella velvet and was convinced after reading this blost post that I needed to act quickly. The next week my fabric in taupe arrived and it was exactly what I hoped for. It may not be the most exciting color but it hides just about everything and all colors look good with it. The other brown love seat was moved out of the living room to make room for this beauty.

To update the sofa the skirt was nixed. Also, originally I wanted only the top row of button tufting to remain but the upholster recommended a channel back so the original back foam could be reused to save on costs.

Was this inexpensive to do? Absolutely not. But considering the fabric only cost $250 and the labor was reasonably priced, I now own a solid well made sofa for a fraction of what it would cost retail.