chair in progress

Friday, August 28, 2009

We are using piping to update the chair cushions and it’s not as hard as you would think. The final look is more polished and worth the extra effort.

To make the piping trim, bias cut (45 degree angle to the selvedge) strips of your chosen fabric and fold around the raw cording with right side out and raw edges lined up. Experiment first with small pieces to find the right width for the strip so that it finishes with the correct seam allowance (we are using ½”) once sewed. Once you determine what width they need to be and cut several, seam them together so you have a continuous piece for your entire length of cording. Use a zipper foot to allow you to stitch as close to the cord as possible without stitching through it. The fabric should be tight around the cord now. By the way, it seems to always take more yardage of piping than you think, so measure well and then add to that for fudge factor.

To sandwich the cording between the seams, I like to hand or machine baste the cording onto one cushion panel first, then sew on the other side with right sides together. It’s an extra step, but it keeps the piping even. Be sure to start and stop the piping at an inconspicuous part of the cushion, like the bottom and allow some excess to overlap and extend off the edge (to be trimmed off later). We’ve done a two-part envelope closure on one side, so the pillow can be flipped right side out and stuffed.
Stay tuned for the final result...

that 70's chair

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Friends don’t let friends live with furniture like this!

This week I am helping my good friend Beth make the best of some hand-me-down furniture. With a houseful of active young children, pristine new seating is out of the question. We are conspiring to recover and update the cushions on this chair rescued from her parents’ basement. We’ve been to Jo-Ann’s with a fistful of 40% off coupons and purchased a whole bolt of upholstery weight brushed cotton in a warm camel color as well as a few miles of cording, new batting, and lots and lots of thread. The update will come in the form of removal of the button-tufting, squaring off of the back cushions, and addition of piping to the seams.

But wait, it gets scarier- there’s a matching sofa! For now, though, I can only wrap my mind around the chair. Time to oil up my trusty Singer Touch and Sew 750 and see what happens…

the joy of sewing

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Check out these exuberant women apparently filled with the simple joy of making stuff with their Singer Touch and Sew 750 sewing machine (circa 1970). I haven’t sewed that much lately, but I am hoping to channel these women who seem so thrilled to be making chic shift dresses and sporty jumpsuits. This is the cover of the manual of the machine I received as a high school graduation gift from my parents. The machine was bought used, but it’s one of those all-metal workhorses that can take a beating. It’s never let me down, even in my four years of at the Rhode Island School of Design, where I sewed around the clock. Funny, I’ve never actually consulted the manual or tried to use the knobby donut things it came with that I see now are called embroidery cams. I’ll have to give these things a whirl to see what can be done with them. I’ll let you know if anything cool results.