Saturday, February 26, 2011

Another Slipcover & Semi-Tutorial

I've been a slipcovering queen for the past few weeks.

 I'm happy to say I've recovered both of my sofas (living room sofa here) and I can finally put up my sewing machine or at least not be slumped over it all day.

I usually start off with the before and after but this time I'm just going to walk you through what I went through, share my mess ups & give some tips at the end. I didn't use piping on the body of the cover for this sofa.  I wanted clean lines to go with the style overall.

 Remember this sofa?  Got it for under $50 at GW.
(Woohoo- still tickled about that!)

I didn't want all the little ridge things on the back showing through, so the first thing I did was cover the back with batting. I used a staple gun and slip stitched it in some places and tucked it in in other places.

Second step is drape your fabric & pin it.  This is the first section, so I pinned the fabric right onto the arm. This way helps me get an idea of how much fabric I'm going to need & how to best position it.

  I work in sections and mold the fabric around the piece.   If you're unsure of where to place a seam for the best fit, look for the original seam on your piece. That is how I had to do the arms on this sofa. I followed the seam that was already there.

This side is pulled a little tight in the middle (it drove me nuts getting this part right), so I had to rip the seam and resew it.

This is a good example of scissor happy. I have no idea what I was thinking when I chopped the seat part off..but I needed it and had to patch it up. That was UNfun but it was under the cushions and didn't show. It's a learning process.

I would pin fit, trim extra fabric & sew, then turn it right side out to make sure it fit & looked right, then trim the extra fabric one final time. So this...

  Looks like this....

And here is the after:

 Since we're in the middle of remodeling the den it was hard to get a good picture. I see areas I should have tucked & straightened but you get the idea.

To say I'm thrilled to be finished with this is a total understatement.  I just started using a sewing machine this past year, before that I would hand sew or use stitch witchery or something like that.  I'm no pro when it comes to sewing and I believe if I can pull these off, then anyone can.  So, if you're thinking of giving it a try, I say go for it!

I've been asked questions about how I make my slipcovers.  Here's a few tips - I hope it helps.

1.  Get an idea of how you want the finished slipcover to look.  I found inspiration pics and it really helped when I wasn't sure how to finish an edge or where to put a seam.

2.  Know your fabric.  I kept that simple..I used drop cloths on mine.  It really helped with the fearless factor of just doing it.  I think it would have been harder if I was using an expensive or difficult to work with fabric.  Using drop cloths I knew if I screwed it up, I'd just get another one.. no biggie.  You can always upgrade fabrics down the road.  Also, if you are using a drop cloth make sure it doesn't have anything wrong with it before you start pinning & sewing..just give it the once over. Trust me, nothing smells more like defeat than to sew an entire section and notice a small tear in the middle or a dark thread running through it, etc.

3. Pin Fit -  I don't use patterns. I don't like measuring when it comes to stuff like hanging pictures or sewing...not always good but in this case, pin fitting fabric is awesome & pretty easy.  You just  mold the fabric around your furniture & pin it!  Leave yourself some wiggle room of extra fabric at the seams in case you've fit it too snug and need to let it out.  Speaking of that, I made my slipcovers a smidge loose to leave room for extra batting on cushions (just a personal preference). MMS has some great tips here that I found extremely useful and she is using piping at that link. 

4. Work in sections - I started by draping then cutting a piece of fabric that will cover one arm, then cut another piece to fit another part of the same arm, pinned them all together, and then sewed that section.  I added on sections from there.  Each time I added a new section I turned it rightside out and "tried it on" the sofa to make sure it looked right.  You have to do this alot and it's a royal pain but it's also fun because you start to see your progress!

Again, I'm no pro - I  Gumped my way through these covers for the most part. But from my experience, I do think working in sections (pinning & sewing)  is easier because you don't want to take this huge piece of fabric with 1000 pins in it over to the sewing machine and try to figure out what the heck is going on.

5. Use sew on velcro - that's what I recommend.  I used the sticky back velcro on a few cushions and the glue that was stuck on my sewing needle was AGGRAVATING - my thread stuck to the glue & knotted up.Cooking spray gets the glue right off.  I just sprayed some on a paper towel & cleaned my needle with it. It also removes spray paint from your hands and smells WAY better than goof off!  I might be overlooking the attributes of sticky velcro but from what I've seen, no thanks. 

6. Seam ripper - have one ready.  They are made for a reason.

In the end you will probably need to pull out the old needle & thread for a few finishing touches.

 These are areas that I pinned to get a better fit and put in a couple of hand stitches.

 It is a job making a slipcover but they are a nice change, they aren't expensive AND you can wash them! Also, I have found that using baby wipes gets spots out of these drop cloths without fail.  Now,  I didn't go over making cushions but if you can make a pillow, then you can make a cover for a cushion. If you can't make a pillow, then you probably aren't thinking about making a slipcover!

I also made my mom a lampshade like the burlap one I made for myself last week. She loves it and I'll be sharing that's been like Groundhog Day for me...nothing but slipcovers & lampshades!

I'm linking to these parties & TDC'S Before & After Party.  Have a fun rest of the weekend!

The Lettered CottageTip Junkie handmade projects

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Fun lamp!

This is going to be a short post..I have a ton of furniture painting to do on this gorgeous day, my little guy has a pal coming over for a sleepover and my big guy and I are needing some ice cream, so I have to get to the store!

I was poking around Tatertots & Jello yesterday and found this featured tutorial from mama says sew for a gorgeous lampshade. I took a drum shade from a lamp that will go into my newly revamped den (that I'm not finished with yet) and with my hot glue gun, a couple yards of burlap and When Harry Met Sally (on last night) whipped up this:

Mine is less ruffley than Terra's and I trimmed the top & bottom a little.  It was fun to make while watching TV and a quick project. It was MESSY though with all the little pieces flying around.  I'm sure using a different fabric would be a cleaner process but I love the texture of burlap.

I did one thing different from the tutorial mainly because I was being lazy with getting the iron out.

Instead of ironing the creases in the strips I just rolled them up like this with a pin. By the time I needed that strip it had a good crease in it.  This was probably not so time efficient - rolling them up, but, whatever, I was just sitting there watching TV so I didn't mind it.

Little less of a wave.

I painted the metal part with ORB to freshen it up a bit. 
Again, it's going in the den and I can't wait to show you that room when it's finished! 

I'm linking to these parties and I'm going to get some ice cream now! Hope you guys have a fun weekend & thanks for coming by!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Slipcovered the Green Giant!

Did you guys hear angels singing yesterday?

I finished my slipcover!  WOOHOO - applause, applause!

After sticking myself about a million times, blowing up a sewing machine, ordering a new one, then knocking the belt off that one, fixing it @ 2am, having my house smell like a swimming pool for a week from all the bleach, dropcloth scraps everywhere and becoming one with my seam ripper, I finally finished the slipcover for my living room sofa and I-LOVE-IT! It was worth every drop of blood and every minute of sleep lost. I've been doing the happy dance all day.  Am I being too dramatic? Maybe..but this was an ordeal and I'm doing it all over again with this couch.  I'm a glutton for punishment.

This is what it did look like...

A Hickory Chair sofa that I had made 12 years ago.  It has a hardwood frame and still solid as a rock (even after being dropped off the back of a moving truck a few years ago). It's a great piece but I was sick of the green fabric & it was showing some wear.

Inspiration photo:

 One more of mine...

  Here's the view from the kitchen. The strapping on the pillows ties into the framed coffee bag hanging over  the other sofa (I'm going to sand and restain that sofa in the spring.)

I have my fingers crossed that this next slipcover is easier and goes a little faster.  I think I'm going to dedicate a post to dropcloths because I learned a few things the hard way and (queue talk show tears), if I can save just ONE person from making the same mistakes I made...

I'm off to make swiss cheese out of my hands's so unnerving to get jabbed with a pin..something to look forward to *sigh*.

I'm going to be linking to these parties.

Take it easy,

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Copy Me Challenge

While I am literally up to my eyeballs in drop cloths & bleach (slipcovering my living room sofa), I'm going to play Marian & Donna's Copy Me Challenge at MMS.

Copy Me Challenge

Remember this mirror that I painted for my sister?  She gets it next month and I'm going to take advantage of it while I have it...

This is my little take on MMS's impeccable style!

I don't know if I'm the only one who does this but while waiting on the drop cloths to bleach and while my internet was down at home (couldn't work my day job), I skipped on down to the paint store. I picked up 2 gallons of paint and started on the den.  To say my house is upside down right now is an understatement.  God bless my husband, I would drive me crazy!!

Talk to you soon!

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