Sunday, January 31, 2010

upholstery part 3 cont.: putting it together

step 4: outside sides

This is what the sides look like before you start.

Lay the fabric wrong side up at the edge of the arm.

Put in a few staples to hold the fabric in place.

Lay out and staple the cardboard strip. You want the edge of the cardboard flush with (or very close) to the edge of the wood.

Most of the instructions I found said to use ply grip where I used the cardboard. My cheapie stapler is not fun to use with the ply grip so I ended up using the cardboard strip instead. I actually like it with the cardboard strip better, though. I definitely gives a cleaner edge.

Cut a layer of Dacron for a nice smooth finish.

Flip the fabric over the side of the chair and staple it to the bottom and back of the chair. Be sure you start in the middle and work your way out, smoothing and pulling everything taught. That fold in the fabric is really bothering me but I'll have to get over it. It must be due to the curve in the chair right there but I traced the pattern from the old fabric so I'm not sure what happened.

Attach the Ply Grip. Push the fabric into the Ply Grip and hammer down.

Step 5: Outside back

I followed these instructions but did a pretty bad job of it, not to mention the pink fabric is just about the most hideous thing I've ever seen. What was I thinking? First thing tomorrow morning, I'm going back to the fabric store for more of the main fabric. And then I have to order more of the tack strips, too. I'm so disappointed.

Friday, January 29, 2010

upholstery part 2: putting it together

**Disclaimer: I am not a professional. This is the first time I've upholstered a chair so forgive me for my mistakes.

Cut the new fabric

Cut the new fabric using the old pieces as the pattern. Cut a few inches larger all around so you have room to pull the fabric when you staple it to the chair. You can cut the excess off later. I used about 5 yards of fabric for my chair.

For the seat deck, I used a large piece of seat deck denim and sewed a piece of the regular fabric onto it for the part that you can see by your legs. This saved some yardage (i.e. money - $1.50 a yard for the seat deck denim vs. $ a yard for the upholstery fabric) on the upholstery fabric. The deck denim also seems like a tighter woven fabric that must hold up to wear a little better but I really don't know for sure. That's just my guess.

Attach new upholstery

Step 1: Seat

I left the original material over the springs because it was in good condition. Staple the edge roll on the front of the chair. Cut bonded Dacron - I did 2 layers just cause one layer felt a little flimsy.

Center the fabric on the chair, smooth it out, pull taught and staple. I stapled the front, back then the sides. I worked from the center towards the edges to make sure there weren't any gaps or wrinkles in the fabric.

Step 2: Inside sides

I used a layer of bamboo batting and two layers of Dacron.

I stapled the Dacron in a few spots to help hold it while I was laying out the fabric.

I really struggled with laying the arm fabric out and getting it folded, stretched evenly and stapled down. I could have used a couple extra hands.

I need to stitch that vertical flap of fabric down.

Here is a side view of things to this point.

Step 3: Inside back

Staple burlap to the back as a protective layer between the springs and the rest of the upholstery.

I wanted my back cushion to be part of the chair. I didn't take many pictures of this step but I'll explain what I did. I took a piece of muslin and put it over the burlap, stapling a couple times at the bottom only. I stuffed it with polyester pillow stuffing to the approximate thickness of the old cushion. I put one staple in the top of the muslin to the back of the chair so I could use both hands and adjust the stuffing. I added more, moved it around and flattened it until it looked nice and was comfortable for sitting. I put the seat cushion on at this point to make sure the back wasn't so full that the seat didn't fit. Once everything was perfect, I finished stapling the muslin.

I put a layer of Dacron over the back to give a little extra softness. The yellow part in this picture is the muslin filled with poly fiber. I pulled the Dacron down to get a picture.

The Dacron smoothed out with the seat cushion in place to make sure everything would fit nicely.

I attached the back fabric and stapled everything down. I'm hoping the seat cushion smooths out for a better fit with the chair as I use it. I think it's all so plump right now that it's puffing up.

Supplies needed:

I bought everything from except as noted below.
  • Upholstery fabric. If you're in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area, I highly recommend S.R. Harris. They have more fabric than you could ever imagine and it's all half off. I got really nice 100% wool fabric for $10 a yard.
  • Thread
  • Seat deck denim
  • Edge roll
  • Stapler and staples. I used a hand powered stapler and wow, my hand is sore.
  • Dacron (from Rochford Supply in Minneapolis)
  • Batting - I used bamboo because it was cheaper and more eco-friendly than cotton (from Hancock fabrics)
  • Burlap
  • Muslin (I used this to make my back cushion)
  • Ply Grip/Curve Ease
  • Cardboard tack strip
  • Metal tack strip
  • Filling for the back cushion (I got a 20" x 20" pillow from S.R. Harris pulled the filling out)
  • Foam for the seat (from Rochford Supply in Minneapolis)
I found the videos on DIY Upholstery Supply incredibly helpful. I also checked a few books out of the library but none of them were exceedingly helpful. The best one was Singer Upholstery Basics Plus by Steve Cone.

upholstery part 1: undoing it all

Step 1: Take the upholstery apart in the order it was put together. From what I gather, it's usually the same order - the stuff on the bottom of the chair, outside back, outside arms, inside back, inside arms and the seat. Remove all the stray staple bits that are poking out or hammer them flat.

Step 2: Inspect the springs and chair for necessary repairs. Everything looked in good shape on my chair. I think.

Mark the fabric pieces as you take them off so you know which pieces go where later.

Take pictures and notes of everything you do so you don't forget how something goes back together later.

Supplies needed:
  • Something to remove the staples and tacks. I used a screwdriver and needle nose pliers but I'm sure the special tools for upholstering work much better. I'm just too cheap to buy something I probably won't use again.
  • Digital camera to take pictures of all the little details you want to remember for when you put the chair back together

Thursday, January 28, 2010

felted bag

I'm sure there is a "right" way to do the lining but this is how I did it:

1. Lay fabric right sides together and trace the bag. Cut along the tracings. Fold the top edge under, wrong sides together and press.

2. Sew the top.

3. Pin right sides together and stitch around the sides and bottom.

4. Sew lining to bag.

I'm still on the hunt for a handle.

Pattern: Formal Boot Bag pattern on Knitting Daily (here is the link to it on Ravelry)

Yarn: Wellspring Woolens yarn in Fieldstone, bought at The Yarnery. Here is a great review of the yarn. Within the last several months, I realize yarn comes from sheep who may not be treated that well, especially when it comes to the mass produced yarn (google mulesing, for example). I am an avid user of cruelty-free products so I'm not sure why I didn't have this "aha" moment sooner. So...I'm working through my existing stash of yarn and anything new must be cruelty-free. I love that Wellspring Woolens is soft, local - to me anyway - and cruelty-free.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Side slip cloche

Pattern: Side Slip Cloche from Boutique Knits: 20+ Must Have Accessories
Yarn: Joseph Galler Superfine Prime Alpaca from The Yarnery
Pin: re-purposed hair accessory from my wedding

I re-purposed my hair comb that I wore in my wedding for the hat. It's not like I was going to wear it again so what the heck. I unattached the comb and curved the metal into a circle. I wrapped some extra wire through and attached a pinback.

The original hair comb was from Che Bella in St. Paul. I wear the matching earrings often and am excited to use the comb!

Monday, January 25, 2010

warm mittens

I'm making these for my sister-in-law's niece who insisted on light pink and black stripes because "those are the only colors that look good on me and I like stripes." It reminds me of a bumble bee on Pepto Bismol but I'm not 6 with a clear fashion sense.

I used this basic cuff up mitten pattern and modified it a bit so there are two layers for extra warmth.

I made the inner mitten per the pattern instructions and ran a piece of waste yarn through the purl side on the last row of ribbing. Once I finished the mitten, I picked up those stitches and knit the outer mitten, minus the ribbing of course. I went up a needle size for the outer mitten so it would fit over the inner mitten without having to add stitches. I'm lazy that way.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

a simple kitchen valance

Aside from yarn, painting is my biggest weakness. In the three years we've lived here, I have painted almost every room at least twice - some three times. The painting bug bit last week and the kitchen was calling my name. Of course, I needed a valance to go with the new colors.

Fabric: the top half is Amy Butler Belle Duck Egg / Seeds and the bottom strip is Amy Butler Lotus cherry/full moon polka dot from Crafty Planet.

I followed this tutorial for the fabric flower and used a regular button instead of a fabric button.

Here is the kitchen with a fresh coat of paint, the new valance and our Flor carpet tiles in House Pet by the door. The carpet tiles were my crazy inspiration - they look like fresh green grass so I wanted to keep the paint fresh and summery.

The paint is AFM Safecoat no-VOC from the Natural Built Home Store which I highly recommend. I've used Sherwin Williams' no-VOC paint and I much prefer the Safecoat brand. It went on really well and there was virtually no smell. I used Netti (yellow) and Morning (green) mixed with a good amount of white to mellow the colors down a little.

Like most of the house, this room is a work in progress. We really need to stain the window - it has only been 3 years since we had it installed - and get a new door. I'd love to get new cabinets, counter tops and appliances but that won't happen since we're hoping to move in a couple years.

French Press Slippers

This is my second go at the French Press Felted Slippers. It is the easiest, most adorable knitting project ever and you should make a pair right now.

For my sister-in-law:

And the first pair that I made for my big feet:

Yarn: Cascade Eco-Wool purchased from The Yarnery (the best yarn shop ever) in St. Paul.

Buttons: Three Kittens Needle Arts has a really does have a great selection of buttons. I just happen to love turquoise.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Chair cushion

The chair cushion is miraculously done. I followed this fantastic tutorial at Sew, Mama, Sew! and it only took me 2 solid evenings and most of another day. I'm sure most people could finish it in an evening but I am truly a horrible sewer.

I got a 24" x 24" x 4" piece of foam and bonded Dacron from Rochford Supply in Minneapolis and used an electric knife to cut the foam down slightly. I stuffed it according to this video from DIY Upholstery Supply.

The pink material is for the back of the chair and the buttons for the tufting.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Chair reupholstery

I got this great mid-century chair from Craigslist with the intention that I'd make a slipcover and be able to afford to have it professionally reupholstered some day. The chair was made by Beaucraft Inc. Minneapolis, MN. Unfortunately I haven't been able to find much about the company.

What I didn't take into consideration is that slipcovers look really difficult to make well and I'm not a good sewer.

So being the overly ambitious person I am, I decided to jump into reupholstering it myself. I don't know why I thought it would be a good idea. The only thing I've upholstered are dining room chairs....the kind where you screw off the seat, staple on some fabric and screw the seat back on.

Google convinced me I could do it. I read a bunch of websites, watched some videos and started taking the fabric off piece by piece. This is my chair now.

I'm a little freaked out. I took lots of pictures and notes but I can barely make sense of them now. I have a vague sense of what I need to do from online videos that I'm sure I'll have to watch a hundred more times. I'm fully prepared to pay someone to do the seat and back cushions because my sewing really is awful.

To add a little more challenge, I went to do something like this. I have dark brown and tweedy light brown fabrics and a deep berry fabric for the back and piping (which is actually called a welt in the upholstery world).

Picture from Turquoise-LA (a long time ago)
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