Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Mom's Favorite Stuff-Newsletter Giveaway

Need a gift for an upcoming baby shower or want to pamper your little one then stop by Mom's Favorite and sign up for their newsletter. You might win a fabulous gift from Baby Starlet; a matching changing pad clutch and burp cloth set from the Taylor collection. Be sure to stop by Baby Starlet- my sale is ending on May 31st so get shopping!

Craft On!

Duvet Cover - Part Deux - The Ruffle and Piping

So now that you have the front of the duvet cover all stitched up, it's time to add some embellishments. I decided to make my life a little difficult by opting to add a not only piping but a ruffle as well. When you add both, it makes sewing along the piping a challenge cause there is so much more fabric.

Cut out your piping - 1 1/2" strips and enough to go around all four sides. To attach the pieces together, lay the strips on top of eachother with right sides facing up and the ends overlapping. Cut the overlap section on a diagonal throw out the excess and now pin these two sections together by matching up the diagonal cuts. The two pieces will be at approximately a 90 degree angle. Sew them down and iron flat. Once all of the pieces are attached and ironed, attach your piping. Lay the piping inside the strip and match up the sides. Using your zipper foot, sew down as close to the actual bump or piping as you can get.

Pin piping to the outside edge of duvet and pin. At the corners, clip fabric about 1/2" from the corner and lay out the fabric to create a 90 degree turn. This will give you nice looking corners. Now sew down again as close to the piping as possible and overlap the pieces at the end. Cut out a 1" section of the actual piping piece from the end and fold back the fabric to create a finished edge. Place the beginning section in this pocket and pin down ensuring all edges are matching up.

For the ruffle, measure around three sides (two sides and bottom edge) and determine how full you want your ruffle to be. You don't want the ruffle at the top because it will be annoying up against your face. My ruffle is probably pushing 3 + the fullness or really really gathered. 1 1/2 - 2 times will usually do the trick. Now take your measurement and multiply by the number of fullness you would like. Divide this number by 54" if you are using home decor fabric and you will get the number of pieces to cut.

You can make your ruffle either really wide or narrow - that's up to you. I made mine 2 1/2" so I had to cut out 6" strips to accomodate this. I figured this out my taking my desired finished width measurement, muliplied by two and added 1".

Cut out all of your pieces and attach the ruffle pieces the same way as the piping pieces. See above.

Iron open your seams and iron your ruffle in half. At the two end pieces, turn the fabric right side in and sew a straight line - turn right side out and iron. This will finish the ruffle edges.

Using your zig-zag stitch and a spool of heavy tread, attach your gathering stitch. To do this, just lay down the heavy thread under the sewing foot and zig-zag back and forth across it. This will make gathering it much easier and if the string does break, it is not the end of the world.

TIP: If your string breaks, take a sewing needle and tread the broken end onto it. Now, push the needle under the zig-zag stitch back to where it broke and pull the thread to gather. Wrap this piece around a pin figure 8 style to make sure it is secure.

Since your duvet is not square - make marks at the half way point on the ruffle and match up to the bottom middle of the duvet front. Gather and pin as you. Try and make it uniform as possible.

Finally sew down the ruffle taking out the pins before your reach them. You don't want to break your sewing needle.

Next time - how to attach the back and make the buttoned opening to insert the comforter.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Duvet Cover Part I

.Yesterday I made the front side of my daughter’s duvet cover (she’s almost 3).I know she's probably going to stain it, but I got all of this sweet fabric for basically nothing ($2/yard) as a barter for a sewing job I did for a fabric store. Damn straight I’m gonna use it. I’m sure she will let me know when she grows tired of it (hopefully for at least 8 years).

Now for the measurements of the actual top – I searched online for down blankets to get a ball park range of how big to make it. Ideally, you will want to make it exact otherwise the blanket won’t reach the edges and you will have “cold” spots or it will be too small and the blanket will bunch up around the edges and then you’ll have “hot” spots.

So pick a blanket you think you will buy – better yet buy it, and add 2” to the length and 2” the width. You could go only 1” to each side – but my seams always end up being wider after I attach the piping and ruffle.
Segue to my design – a contrasting piping with a 2 ½” ruffle. More on this in my next post.

Now for a twin the dimensions I got were 62” x 87”. Obviously this is wider than most –strike that-all home d├ęcor fabrics. You will need to piece together two equal lengths (I cut mine to 89”) and match up any patterns. To do this, cut out the first piece and then line it up matching the patterns and pin down. This is where you will cut the top of the second piece. To get a straight line, make a slit in the side of the fabric and tease out one of the horizontal threads and gently pull it. Keep pulling it and gathering it. The thread will usually break. Pull the fabric flat again and you will see a line where the thread used to be. Cut along this line until it disappears. Start again by finding a new thread to pull in this cut line and pull again. Repeat to the end.

Line up the bottom edge of the fabric making sure that both pieces are the same length. You can also check it by matching up the pattern. Make a small cut for the bottom of the second piece and pull thread again. Don’t go all the way across though. You only need to pull it 64”-54” / 2 = 5 + ½ for seam allowance”. At the end of the 5 ½ ” mark, make a cut vertically and pull the thread again. PULL THE LEVER – I mean PULL THE THREAD. Fabrics have repeated patterns in their design - hence the repeat in the fabric. To figure out what this repeat is, measure from one pattern to the exact same pattern running vertically on the fabric and repeat it horizontally. This repeat also does not run completely horizontally. I found this out the hard way. I tried attaching the same piece to other side of the fabric and it didn’t match up. Sh*t. My bad. I always dive into projects head first. It’s ok though because I will be using the non-matched side up against the wall. No one will see it.

Now that you have two pieces with matching patterns bust out your stitch “witchery” aka fusible tape and iron down one side of the fabric. Iron down one side of the fabric and make sure the selvage aka non printed side of the fabric is not showing. Line up this newly ironed edge with the second piece of fabric to create a seamless seam (sorry that is a bit redundant but you get the point). Place the stitch “witchery” between both pieces and iron down. Do the entire length. Now, “open up” the ironed piece and sew along this crease. The straighter you are the better. Cut the excess off the seam and use your overlock machine to make sure it doesn’t fray in the wash. I have washed my duvet cover (my mom made it for me) a half dozen times because my cat keeps puking on it. DAMN YOU FIONA!

Now for the other side, match up the fabric again starting as high up as you can on the leftover cut piece. You can save a ton of fabric by using this technique. If you are making a king or queen sized duvet cover, then you will need the full width of the fabric. Cut across 5 ½” and you know it – pull the thread again and repeat vertically at end of cut piece. Iron down the selvage side of the fabric again, match up the patterns and iron down the pieces with stitch witchery again.

Tune in next time for the piping and ruffle.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Dunh Duhn DUHN! - Sales calls

This week I am going to be focusing my efforts on drumming up some new business – I will be calling stores in the NYC area to set up sales calls. I hate making these calls. I always feel like an annoying telemarketer.

Deborah: Hi, is the owner available.

Store Associate: Yes, may I ask who is calling?

Deborah: My name is Deborah Nolan and I’m calling from Baby
Starlet – I make handmade baby Moses baskets and accessories

(You can say it cause I know – absolutely terrible)

Sales Associate: One moment please.

Owner: Hi, this is the owner. How may I help you?

Deborah: I make handmade Moses baskets and accessories and would love to stop by to see if my products would be a good fit for your store.
(It’s general – but this is what I used when I sold my maternity line –The Funky Mama- and it worked. If it ain’t broke as they say.)

Owner: Can you tell me a little more etc. Or we already bought for the *fill in the next season here* and are not looking to add any more product lines at this time.

(Like I said, I hate doing this. There is nothing like a little rejection. Even worse- you leave your name, number etc and no one calls you back. Did I mention that I hate making these calls?)

So, I have to do this - research tonight/tomorrow and set up sales calls for June sometime.

In addition to this I also need to get some more press for myself. I have sponsored some giveaways (didn't get any sales) - sent in samples to mom oriented blogs - didn't get any sales. *ARRGHH*. I don't even want to think about all the time I put into making those Moses baskets *Dora is on right now for my girls so this is easy*.

Anyway, I'm having a hard time saying focused. I love starting up projects - so it's hard to say on task. What the f*k. I don't know what I'm doing half the time - but as my blog states - this is a Dream of mine-so I am going to make it work if it makes my crazy. I am doing the JPMA tradeshow next April - and I know that my products are going to do well. Moses baskets are pretty stagnant in terms of their design, so mine will definately stand out.

Well Dora is over and my oldest is attempting to climb up on a table to get another movie hold on

"Natalie get down!"

Right, well it's off to the bathroom for baths and bed. My husband is not home yet, so giving two girls a bath by myself should be interesting. Oh f*k it. I'll just do the old wipe down with a wet wash cloth.

Rock On!

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Mama's got a brand new chair (of sorts)

Today, while I was out an about enjoying the day with my one year old, I stopped into one of the many Antique shops in my super cute town. It's owned by this sweet man named Sigmund or Siggy for short. Oh, he also had a great German accent *I think* and was very helpful. The shop was pretty full-they usually are-so I parked my baby at the front of the shop while I checked it out. She just ate her Scooters (Honey-nut Cheerios knock-off) and drank her apple juice. Thank God for small favors. My oldest was especially trying today, so a little unexpected retail therapy was nice. I found a couple of chairs, some beautiful gold frames and a white vintage plant cart. I expressed my interest in a few of the pieces - and without prompting-he lowered the price by $10 - ROCK. I really wanted the adorable vintage tiered plant cart - but maybe next month if it's still there.

There was also a really fab chair. It was covered in this plastic almost sticky *gross* fabric, but now that I can slipcover furniture *small pat on my back* I could trick it out in some great fabric. Eventually, I am going to make over my guest room - right across the hall from my room - into a walk in closet/dressing room. I want to do a leopard rug - crystal sconces - and maybe recover this chair in a black tuxedo fabric with some hip red accents. This won't happen until I move my business out of the dungeon, aka the basement, and into a new building. I'm hoping that this will happen next summer, but we'll see.

Sooo...*reel it back in Deborah* I ended up buying this pretty French Provincial armless chair for my vanity. I have been using a stool that was my Mom's. She just covered it in some fabric to make it look a little better. The stool will go my studio so I don't have to play musical chairs everytime I change sewing machines. I will be repainting the legs and slipcovering the seat. The current fabric is a *it's alright for awhile* quasi cream velvet.

Here's a picture.

I have not redecorated my bedroom yet. Right now it's a nasty yellow with a white semi-gloss ceiling. I'm thinking of a soft blue or green. My bedding is black and white Toile - so I want to build off this adding other black and white fabrics to the mix. I especially love Hounds Tooth Check. Maybe next year. My baby's room is the next on the list along with my half-finished kitched and my mostly finished dining room.

If you have kids - you know how hard it is to get things done. All I want to do at night is sit on the couch with my laptop and half watch TV. Oh and if there is some light ice cream involved (I'm lactose intolerant) even better.

I would love to see your projects or answer any questions you may have.

Rock on! - Deborah

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Back to the Business

This morning when I woke up, I was feeling not only a bit depressed but a little sick. I had my usual monthly slump and had to pull myself up by my boot straps and push forward. My husband took the girls grocery shopping and I sat in bed typing up my Dream Plan of sorts...what I want to accomplish, when and how. I read an article in Real Simple and was inspired. Following the advice of the columnist, I sat down and laid out on paper where I want to be if anything was possible. Of course, I set my sights pretty high; purchase my own manufacturing facility by my 33rd birthday (only 1 1/2 years from now) publish at least two books and possibly get my own show on the DIY Network.

Yesterday while checking out the web, I saw that Screen Door Entertainment has effectively and open casting call for new talent. So, I sent off an email describing my background and why I would make a great host. Not sure if I will ever hear from them, but it doesn't hurt to try. I figured if I did get the gig, then it would be yet another way for me to craft my heart out and get paid for it. Not a bad deal.

Like I said a shot in the dark, but damn it I'm talented-I've got skills and I'm cute to boot. Sounds like a perfect combo to me.

Today I'm cranking out all of the administrative work that goes along with advertising - faxing, creating banners and filling out forms. Boring but exciting. The culmination of the five places I will be advertising will be my biggest marketing plan to date. I hope (pray) that I get some sales. Advertising is expensive but I have to get my name out there somehow.

I would love to hear what works for other indie designers as far as advertising and marketing goes.

Craft On!

Sunday, May 13, 2007

A Frog Puppet, ER and PVC

This past week has been a bit crazy and scary. Well, it's always crazy for me between work and being a full-time mom, but not usually scary.

Wednesday started off as usual; mad dash to take a shower, eat breakfast get the girls ready for the day. Then it was off to Wal-Mart for mulch and dirt and some pink tights (my daughter's first recital was on Thursday). After paying, I loaded up the car with my kin and organic matter and realized that the check-out woman forgot to give my pink tights. D*mn you Wal-mart! So it was back inside and then back to the car again and then off to library group.

The group meets every Wednesday in 6 week sessions and there are stories, crafts, snacks and a short movie. It sounds like a lot, but it only lasts about an hour. The stories are always a challenge because the coordinator reads two-three books, which is a lot for 2-3 year olds. So, I spend the entire time yell-whispering at my oldest to sit down-and have to wrangle my one year on my lap. She likes to crawl around testing out all of the little girls' hair for pullability.

Onwards - frog puppet. Today was frog puppet day. It was a cute project - they always are, but today was the first day I actually stopped myself from "fixing" my oldest's project. Being a crafty grrl, I love coming up with new designs - even if they happen by accident. So why am I altering my daughter's projects to resemble the sample? I move the eyes so they are in the correct spot - she wanted to use an eye as a nose. I know, frogs don't have noses - but her frog was going to have one. It was at this point where I put down the glue stick and say back and watched. The last part of the project was putting on dots (stickers) to decorate the frog. She used the dots and made not one but two noses. I'm proud of her d*mn it. Despite her mother's perfectionism streak - she crafted her puppet the way she wanted to. Rock on little Natalie.

After the group we all went home for lunch and this is where the PVC comes in. The night before I was having heart palipations. Like a skipping beat in my chest. I was hoping they would go away that night but they did not. So after lunch I called my doctor and she instructed me to go the ER. My thoughts at this point were:

1. I would need a heart transplant.

2. I was going to die.

3. Not being able to watch my girls grow up. (For me this was the scariest part.)
I can't say that I'm afraid of death - because I not - but I afraid on missing out on things, mainly their lives. I have always wanted to be a mom for as long as I can remember (or had the desire) so losing this aspect of my life would be heartbreaking. I want to be around for them.

So I go and check in, a nurse takes my blood pressure - it's low - it always is - and then takes my heart rate. Boom! He caught it right at the end. A PVC. I didn't know what the hell he was talking about but he said he gets them all the time. This made me feel a little better. After he took my vitals - he hooked me up to a heart rate monitor for a while. Luckily for me I brought People magazine to read. I was seriously considering bringing my laptop to work - but my husband said that it might interfere with some of the equipment at the hospital so I reluctantly left it at home.

Next came the EKG test - normal - and some bloodwork. Normal again. Finally the doctor came around. He was watching the monitor when my heart palipation happened and he confirmed that it was a PVC or Premature Ventricular Contraction. It can sometimes be brought on by lack of sleep, caffeine and stress. My life in a nut shell. He prescribed more sleep - cut back on the caffeine and try and relax. The last one was very hard for me. I can't sit still for very long during the day. I actually ended up taking the girls for a ride in their wagon for treats at the bakery. I guess I wanted to squeeze in some more quality time with them. Like I said, this visit was very scary for me.

On the plus side, I had an excuse not to get up in the middle of the night for a few nights. My sweet husband let me sleep while he tended to the girls. And after a few days, the PVCs went away.

Have a Happy Mother's and cherish your children.

Rock on all of you Mompreneurs!

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Repurposed Table Cloth

I love Estate Sales and yard sales just as much as the next girl, but sometimes when you buy something - you don't realize that there's a huge stain right in the middle of it.

Don't fret... craft something.

I got this idea while looking at the huge makeup stain on my sheets while doing some laundry this morning. Cut out 14" squares dodging the stain and make some very cool vintage napkins for your home. I like to make a template to ensure straight edges and consistent sizing.

Just measure out 14" x 14" onto some craft paper, cut it out and away you go. Center the pattern over some interesting patterns, or to get more bang for your buck, just cut out as many pieces as you can.

It you lightly fold the pattern in half and then in half again - you will find the center. Put a pin at this mark and place the pattern over a design. Just lift up the pattern and place the pin in the center of the design and pin down.

Cut it out and either serge or zig-zag stitch around it or use your iron and fold down the edges 1/2" and then repeat. Topstitch and you're done!

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

I gotta go potty

Well she did flip the tables on me after all. I don't know why I am so suprised. I found her standing at the gates with no bottoms on demanding to use the potty. I asked her if she pee'ed in her bed or on the floor and she said no. Of course. I scooped her up over the gates and let her go - and she actually went. I then scooped her up and put her back in her room. After taking the first step over the gate, I quickly learned she infact peed - I stepped in it. Yuck. After handling that situation, I learned she ripped even more pages out of my vintage Peter Pan and Pinocchio books. So now she has no books, a peed on floor and an aggravated mother.

I'm off to bury my frustations in some ice cream and a ton of sprinkles.

Vaseline, Makeup and a 2 year old

Well, well, well

Yesterday after driving my baby girl to the doctor's office, I came home to find my husband a bit frazzled. He informed me that my oldest left her room and ventured off onto a crime spree. She got into my makeup - more specifically - my black and gold eye shadow and mascara. She preceeded to smear my make-up into my bed - a 2 foot area into my good 300 count sheets - Ahhh! Calgon take me away. When he found her -she was straddling the toilet and making black marks all over the wall and toilet seat. I have yet to wash the sheets. Actually, I have about 5 loads of laundry to do. I plan on working on it tonight. So, I went upstairs to check on her and found her asleep in the new slipcovered chair with a book over her face. Oh and by the way, my husband added a second gate to her room so she was effectively walled into her room.

Today, I finished off my first toddler blanket and matching pillow order and went upstairs to wake up my oldest for dance class. Her 1st recital (of three different dates) is on Friday. Anyway, I went upstairs and upon entering her room - I was subjected to a strange vaguely familiar smell. She did in fact sleep - in her now Vaseline covered bed - Yikes. So this is the third time I have had to change her sheets in the past 5 days. Pain in my a**. Of course -this is only adding to my now elevated laundry situation.

My husband is grocery shopping and I can hear my oldest demanding to use the potty - which she just used a few minutes ago. I know it's only a ploy to get out of her room - but I'm catching on to her ruse. I'm sure she will flip the tables on me when I go up to find that she took off her diaper and peed all over her bed.

Which reminds me, maybe I should take a few minutes to check on her.

Well, here I go.

As always... Rock on with your bad selves.

Saturday, May 5, 2007

Slipcover - Part II - The Chair!

Ok, so first I have to say that I did it. I DID IT! I am both proud of myself and a little surprised that I was able to pull it off. Two days – one of which I completely made the slipcover – minus the zippered portion – I bought that today.

So, if I can do it – you can too. I will help you. If you have any questions, just ask.

So the first thing you need to do is what they call blocking – which is just a fancy word for making very rough pattern pieces.

For the first piece – you will want to measure from the back of the chair (or where you want the seam) down to the base of the seat after the cushion has been removed down to the front of the seat and then down the front to where you want the skirt to start it you are adding one.

Now take this number and add 12” – 10” for the tuck in (the part you will literally shove into the back “crack” of the chair) and 2” for the seam allowance. For the width, you will need to measure the front of the seat portion of the chair – you will be wrapping the fabric around the front and add 2” to the width. You can also just lay it out over the front and measure this way. When you go to cut out the fabric –fold it in half and determine the center point. Do the same for the next piece so that the patterns match up – if you need to.
For the back – measure from the seam at the top of the chair (where the front piece started), down to the skirt. Also measure the width. Add 2” to both of these measurements and cut out the piece.

Now when I first started this project – I was going to only have one seam at the top of the chair –I sewed it and pinned almost half of it before realizing that the slipcover was going to look “cheap” for lack of a better word. I redesigned it so that there would be a panel insert starting at the front of the arms running along the back and then down the front of the other arm.

FYI -If you read slipcover books – they say to “block” all of the pieces first, but frankly I found it easier to cut the pieces out as I went. I followed the existing seam locations of the original chair – which totally made it easier to sew and line up the pieces so that they would fit.

Back to the directions.

So the insert piece was longer than the width of the fabric which is 54” (typical for home dec fabric) so I cut two pieces wider than I needed and sewed them together with the patterns going in opposite directions at the seam. This way, the fabric would be running the correct way up the arms and around the back to the center on both sides.

If you want to attach piping – now is the time to do it. This gives the slipcover a designer look with the contrast welting on either side of this insert. If you have the time, do it because it will make a world of a difference.

Now sew the back piece to the center of the insert piece. If you can, try and line up the fabric.
Sew the front piece - lining up the centers again and now the fun starts.

Line up the pieces to the chair but now place them on inside out. Pin down the fabric to the center of the chair and line up any landmarks. Make sure it is really secure – this will ensure a snug fit. Pin the back portion of the chair (the part where your back would go) to the insert making a pleat if you need to at the corner. Pin the rest of the back portion to the insert down the chair to the tuck in portion (the crease where the seat and arm meet).

Cut out the inside arm piece and 3” for the tuck in. Before pinning this section – make sure you make the 5” tuck in (really a total of 10”).
Fold over the fabric where the side tuck in will be and lay the bottom portion of the inside arm on top of it and pin.
I know – it looks like an orgy of fabric of pins – but this is what it’s supposed to look like.
Moving down to the bottom of the chair – take the fabric and lay it out in front of the chair and around to the side. Pin the fabric – it will look like a triangle piece sticking out. Pin it and then cut the excess fabric leaving a 1” seam allowance.
Where the bottom of the welting piece (front lower part of the arm) meets the part to the top of the piece you just created you will need to wha? Yes that's right- pin some more. This was a complete B*tch. I had to take this apart a few times to get it right. You will have to fit it again after sewing it to make sure it looks good.

Do this to the other side – Sorry. I know, it's a lot like torture.

Cut the piece for the outside of the arm and attach it to the insert piece and the front corner piece of the chair.
Cut the piece for the back side pieces if you need to. Pin and pull the fabric to ensure a snug fit and repeat.
Now pull the entire thing off the chair and try and figure out where to sew it.

I now I just sat and stared at it for a while swearing under my breath (D*mn squared to be exact) trying to make sense of it. I finally decided to pick a part where there were pins and starting sewing. This worked for me until I got to the end of the seam.
Repeat swearing and start and sewing some more.

Once you think you have sewed everything – check it again because there is probably a bit you missed. It happened to me.

Now the rewarding part; take the slipcover and slip it over the chair with the correct side out this time. Check it to see how things are lining up and make any necessary changes. Yes – you will need your seam ripper or stick pin if your seam ripper has been swallowed up by your sewing area. No comment.

You will want to leave one side of the back portion of the chair un-sewn – this is where you will put the zipper.

Once everything has been fixed – now you can start thinking about the skirt. I chose to make a simple gathered skirt – no math and simple gathering. Measure from the bottom edge of the new slip cover to the floor and add 1”: ½” for the gathering seam and ½” for the seam. You can make a larger hem if you want. That’s up to you. Measure around the entire base of the chair and multiply by 1 1/2 or 3. (1 1/2 times will be a subtle gather - 3 is a very full gather. That's up to you.

To create the gather stitch, I choose to use this technique.

TIP Use the zig-zag stitch and run a thicker thread under the stitch. Just line up the thread under the needle and the gather thread will automatically been sewn down. This makes it a lot easier to gather and you will be less likely to break a thread. Hoorah!

Fold the skirt piece in four equal sections and notch it. This will help you ensure an even gathering around all four sides of the chair. I notch it to make it easier to find later. Match these notches up to the four corners of the chair and pin down. Now you can start gathering. TIP Make sure you sew the gather thread to the wrong side of the fabric – not the correct side. This way when you go to gather it, you will be able to see the thread. I can’t tell you how many times I have put it on the correct side of the fabric only to have to dig around for it when I go to pin it down. Pain in the a**.

Evenly gather the fabric between the notches and pin it down. Now sew it down and you’re done.

Well… that is for the zipper. I have not done it yet –but when it’s done I will post it.

Thursday, May 3, 2007

New Retailer - Baby Peas and Carrots

Thursday, May 03, 2007

New Retailer - Baby Peas and Carrots

I am pleased to announce that the online boutique Baby Peas and Carrots is now carrying Baby Starlet products. They also sell the most fabulous Swarkovski accessories - Bling Cell Phone Covers, Shoes and the cutest tutus for playing dress-up.

Be sure and stop by to check them out.

Rock On!

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Slipcover - Part I - The Cushion

Slipcover Instructions:

Here's a picture of the chair I will be reupholstering. It's a nice size for my daughter's reading nook.
Pick a fabric for your new slipcover that will wear well. Choose a fabric that has the pattern woven all the way through – not printed – it will last a lot longer. Oh you should also wash it – I didn't and I'm sure I'm going to pay for it the first time my daughter spills something on it. It's gonna shrink. Hell, I'll have it dry cleaned.

I would start with the cushion – this is the easiest and will keep you motivated to actually finish it.
Take the cushion cover off – by unzipping and turning it inside out. Take your seam ripper and carefully take the cushion apart. I tried to pull it and I ripped part of the cushion piece. D*mn.

This will act as your pattern. If you decide to make a change in the design of the cushion – now is the time to do it. I choose to add welting in a contrasting fabric around the top and bottom edge of the cushion. To do this, just lay out the original cushion piece and lay the insert on top of it. Mark off where the cushion ends and add a 1" seam allowance. Now, use this piece to cut out one piece. Use the newly cut piece to create a matching second piece – so when you flip the cushion over – it will look the same and will wear evenly.

Lay out the new cut piece on top of the fabric matching up the fabric along all of the edges. This way it will be identical. Take the side and zipper pieces, lay them out and pin them down. Even better, iron the fabric so it will lay flat. However, if the fabric is really heavy, it may not be suitable to be ironed. I ironed my fabric anyway and ended up ruining my iron. BLERG! Fortunately, I had iron cleaner on hand so it wasn't a big deal just a pain in the a**.

After cutting out all of the pieces, you can create some welting if you like. I choose a contrasting fabric. Cut out strips 1 ½" wide on the bias which just means that you want to fold the fabric up into a triangle and cut along the bottom edge. This edge will be at a 45 degree angle. You don't have to do this, but it will make the corners look better. Next, take your 1/4" welting and fold the fabric around it so the edges meet up on one side.

Use your zipper foot - aka the narrow foot – and sew as close to the welting edge as possible. You are going to want to cut a few strips because you don't want to run out. Where the fabric seams meet, place the fabric on top of each other so it is overlapping – correct side up – and cut it a 45 degree angle. Line up the cut edges and sew and press them open. It may look weird – but trust me it will work. Oh make sure you make a wide enough seam. If you don't, the edges may not line up when you lay it flat, so take heed.

Now attach your welting at the back center of the cushion. This way you can hide the seam joint at the back. Using the same zipper foot, sew down the welting all the way around the cushion piece. At the corners, you will need to snip the welting about ½" before you make reach the corner. Stop sewing at this snip point and turn the welting in the new direction. Finish going around the enter piece and once you reach the back where you started, and stop sewing about 4" before you reach the beginning. Cut the piping so when you lay it down next to the starting position it should overlap by 2". Now open up the seam, cut out the welting so it matches up to the point of the beginning welting and fold under the fabric to create a finished edge.

Now place the beginning welting inside this pocket your created and sew it down treating it as one piece making sure all of the edges of the fabric line up. Now take a breath – and do it all over again – you have to do the top and bottom of the cushion.

Duhh, duhn, DUHN! The zipper. For those of you who have never done it before, I won't lie and say it's easy. In theory it is, but figuring it out is a B*tch. So just follow the pictures and directions and take your time. At the end of the day it won't really matter as it will be in the back of the cushion and no one will see it, but try anyway.

Take your two pieces that you cut out for the zipper. Take one piece – with the pattern going vertical and place the zipper face down along the top edge. Use your zipper foot and sew them together. To make your life easier, unzip the zipper and sew as much of it as possible. Once you get to the end, lift up the foot and zip up the zipper. Now you can keep sewing to the end. For the other side, place the other piece of fabric on top of the zipper with the fabric direction going down. When you open it up, the fabric will be on the top of the zipper and should be running in the right direction. Next, get your iron ready cause you're going to need to cover up the zipper with a fabric flap of sorts. Fold the fabric down from the top and up from the bottom. Make sure that the two flaps meet in the middle of the zipper. This will give the cushion a professional look.

Topstitch these flaps down once again using the zipper foot. Now attach the side pieces to the top and bottom cushions making sure to match up any plaids/stripes/large prints. This way the print will run continuously over the seams. Once again you will need to clip the corners and make sure you pin, pin and then pin some more. However, don't run over the pins as you might break your needle, once, twice – three times – when will I ever learn.

Ok, so you have the side pieces attached now attach the zippered portion. This piece will run along the back of the cushion and around to the sides by a few inches. If you don't have it run around the sides – then it will be a b*tch to get the insert back in.

Now sew the zippered portion to the side piece and sew the entire side down. Do this to the other side and now to the home stretch. If you did use welting, then you will need a piping foot and sew over the welting with the foot getting as close to the welting as possible. I use my finger nail and push into the fabric up to the welting. My mom taught me to do this and it definitely does the trick. Now just turn the cushion inside out and check if you accidentally snagged fabric whereby you will need t o use your seam ripper to fix it. I can't even tell you how much I hate fixing things – but it is a necessary evil.

OK, now dance the jig cause your done with the cushion. Hurrah!

-Rock On!