Monday, June 24, 2013

Chair Pad Tutorial

Good Monday Morning everyone! Over the weekend I decided to get onto a sewing project that had been on my TO DO list for over a year. I've been thinking about changing the wall color in the kitchen from the current bright green to a more subtle cream or even white. I love the vintage farmhouse look so popular in today's decor. And I'm slowly taking baby steps in that direction in my kitchen. Maybe I'm coming in the back door with my decorating approach, but I'm not ready to jump in with the painting yet.

Soooo...I do baby steps, like make chair pads for the bar stools at the kitchen counter. Maybe some of you have been wanting to make your own chair pads, so here's a tutorial on just how to do that.
Start by making a paper template of the chair seat using a piece of newspaper or brown craft paper. I found some paper filler in a shipping box we had. Any paper will do as long as it completely covers the seat.
Using a pencil, crayon, or chalk, trace around the edge of the seat. This doesn't have to be perfect, just let the chalk ride along the edge of the chair. I also indicated where the ties would be by marking either side of the back uprights.
 See those two marks back there? That's for your tie placement.
Remove the paper template  and draw a very generous seam allowance around your traced line. You could even add an extra 1" to the original traced line. (I'll explain why when we are closer to the finished project.) Now cut around the template on the seam allowance line.
Lay the paper pattern on your fabric. You will need 2 pieces, one for the top and one for the bottom of each chair. I had 2 chairs, therefore, the pattern says cut 4 pieces. You could double the fabric if the print doesn't need to be matched, like I did with my striped ticking fabric.

I wanted a bias cording around my chair pad, so I measured all around the edge of my chair, multiplied by 2 (for 2 chairs) and add about 8" for the length of cording I would need. I cut 2" wide strips on the bias, cutting enough strips so that when sewn together I got my required length. In my case, in need 122". When I sewed my strips together I had 138". Always better to have extra, than not enough!!
I used a firm 5/32" upholstery weight cording since I had that on hand, but you could use a softer cord, as well. It's best if that cording is about 1/4" to 3/8" thick, otherwise it is too thick.
I like to serge my cording because it trims the seam allowance to 1/2", but it is not necessary to serge, although you should trim the cord so that it has a 1/2" seam allowance.
Next, apply the cording all around the edge of the main piece starting at the center back edge, clipping the curves as you sew.
I overlap the cording at the start and finish so that it makes an even join. Your pad should look like this now.
Now you will need to make the ties. I cut 4 strips of the fabric at 3 1/4" wide by 25" long. Press the 2 short ends in about 1/4", then press the long edges of the ties halfway to the center, then press in half one more time so that the ties are about 3/4" wide. Stitch the long edges and short ends close to the edges of the ties.
Place the finished ties between the placement marks that you made on the main piece of fabric so that the ties face the center of the main piece. Stitch securely in place. These ties have a lot of strain on them, so stitch across the ties a few times.
I made a sandwich of lightweight quilt batting and the main piece of the chair pad. I cut the batting about a seam allowance smaller than the main piece. I lightly sprayed the batting with fabric adhesive and laid it on the WRONG side of the main piece. Do this to both the top and bottom. Then I stitched the top and bottom pieces together with RIGHT SIDES TOGETHER, using caution so as not to catch the ties. Make sure you lay the ties flat inside the pad toward the center.
Turn the stitched fabric right side out and then you have a "pita pocket". It should look like this. If you had used a thicker quilt batting, you could just sew it closed at this point and be done. But I chose to make my pads a little more cushy.
I stuffed my pads with fiber fill stuffing. Make sure you stuff the pad using small amounts at a time paying close attention to getting the stuffing all the way into the corners. Small even amounts will prevent the pad from being lumpy. I used quite a lot of stuffing because it will eventually flatten out. 
Pin the opening closed. You can hand stitch for a more professional look, or because this was just for my personal use, I stitched the opening closed on the sewing machine. Stitch close to the fold and close to the cording for best results.
Here's my machine stitched version. Now, again, you can call it finished at this point, but I decided to add some buttons for a tufted look. This is why I mentioned that when adding seam allowance when cutting the main fabric pieces, you might want to allow a 1" seam allowance all around. When you add the button tufting, it makes the cushion shrink in a bit. So, decide before you add the seam allowance if you want the tufting finish and add accordingly.
The buttons are on the front and the back. Each side of the cushion has 4 buttons, so 8 buttons per cushion x 2 cushions = 16 buttons altogether.
I divided the cushion into thirds from side to side and front to back, marking with pins, then with my BFF purple disappearing marker.
I rough cut around the button about 3/8" bigger than the button. It doesn't need to be perfectly cut, but give yourself enough fabric to work with so that you don't struggle wrapping the fabric into the teeth of the button. Tip: Soak the circles for the covered buttons in a little water, then squeeze the water out. This will make wrapping the button form so much easier and will allow you to pull the fabric tighter into the teeth of the button form.

Now, grab a long needle with a large eye and some heavy duty, strong thread. I like to use the nylon cording that I use to string roman shades. I think you can buy that at most fabric stores that carry Roman shade supplies.

Using extreme caution, poke that long needle through the center of one of the purple marks on one side of the pad and come out into the center of the purple mark on the opposite side. I use excessively long strands of cord to do this so adding the button and tying it off are easy.

Thread the button onto the cord, pull the thread through to the opposite side, thread the button on the opposite side, then pull the needle back to the first side again. Pull the cord up SUPER tight by tying one knot. Now you can cinch it up tight to form the indentation of the tuft. The tighter you pull, the more indented the surrounding fabric becomes.
Repeat so that all 4 buttons have been secured.
Here's the finished product after the little extra effort of tufting. Looks great!!
See how the pad has shrunk up a bit? I would definitely make this a wee bit bigger next time to allow for the pull up of the tufting. But, I am happy camper. It's DONE!!
Another step toward the Vintage Farmhouse look that I dream of in my kitchen. Baby steps, steps! I hope that I may have encouraged you to take a baby step toward one of your goals today. 

Happy Baby Stepping!!!

Sunday, June 23, 2013

A Bird in the Hand, Not One in the House

Happy Sunday, everyone! I hope you are having
great fun this wonderful summer day. In fact, some
may be taking great fun and new adventures to excess extremes. Are you one of those types? Well, I know someone who is pushing the envelope, um, just a little...Really?
I am Ferdinand The Magnificent

 Why, oh why, Ferdy, do I think you initiated this calamity?
You see that guy way up there? Yeah, he's INSIDE the house, mind you. We have a healthy 20 feet from the main level up to where that guy thinks he's in a cool tree house!!
Yeah, well, that's what I'd like to know Mister. How did this happen?
 This guy is loud!! And boy, he has already made a mess of the walls. Now, Ferdinand thinks this is great sport. Easy catch (not).
 I've tried a paint brush roller on an extension pole, but to no avail. sigh I'm not really sure how to get this confused bird outside. I'll have to wait til one of the guys gets back home.

On to other news. I did a super quickie and super cheap DIY project yesterday. I love how fast this came together thanks to the amazing tutorial Cindy generously shared. Look at the results of these awesome solar garden lights
I got the Shepard's hook at JoAnn Fabrics at 70% off for only $4.49, regularly $14.99; the solar stake lights are at WalMart for .97 cents each; and the glass globe light fixture came from our local Habitat ReStore for $2.00 each. I had the wire.
 Not bad for $7.46 each. I made three of them in about 20 minutes. Now that's fast! The time is in wrapping the wire around the neck of the glass globe and attaching the wire. I used 16 gauge wire. I would probably do 18 or 19 gauge next time, cause the 16 gauge was a little stiff to bend and not necessary considering the small amount of weight these lights are.

Oooh, and I couldn't wait for it to get dark last night. Yay! Perfect little night ambiance along the walk.

Try this. You'll love it!!
Some lucky ones are already getting gifted!!
And there's that Ferdinand stirring up bird trouble!!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Rapid Fire DIY Projects Part 2.

Here's part 2 of the Rapid Fire DIY Projects that I mentioned on yesterday's post. Today I am featuring the remaining quickie projects that I had been working on while I enjoyed the rare 4 in a row days off from my awesome job at the floral shop.
Project #4
While poking around at one of the local antique shops, I found this gem out in the backyard.
 And as they say, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. I say, she's a beaut! So she came home with me.
 I couldn't resist that perfect chippy, weathered old window in all that yummy shade of robin's egg blue.
 I gave it a good scrubbing and found it a new home.
 I just propped it up against the brick at the front of the house and called it DONE!! It will have to come inside for the winter, but for now, that's where it will stay while the ivy twines itself around it.
It makes a pretty and reflective background for the things surrounding it. And it makes me smile!!
Project #5
Since shiny silver isn't my thing, I decided to change things up with a blast of spray paint.
I've had these two lanterns sitting inside my front door for a couple of years. The interiors get changed up with the seasons and not necessarily with candles in them, but with seasonal vignettes. The lantern on the left is from Ikea. The lantern on the right literally "fell" into my hands at work. It had been suspended from the tall ceiling and hovering above a dining table with a lovely tabletop display. When one of the display persons went to take it down, it came crashing down onto the table, breaking dishes and two of the glass panels in the lantern. It also tweaked the door that opens to the inside of the lantern. Very sad:(   The display person cleaned up the mess and proceeded to throw the lantern in the trash. WHAT??? "Are you going to throw that out? Can I have it?" I asked sheepishly.
"Sure, but it's a wreck"
"I'll take it"
Happy Dance! Happy Dance!
And here's what it looks like now, after I took the pliers to it, fixed the skewed door, and gave it a shot of oil rubbed bronze spray paint....
I still need to take the two broken glass pieces to the glass shop and have new pieces cut, but for now I think were good. I'll set them at the outside of the front door now and be looking for a small vintage bench or table to put them on. FIY, the bigger of the two lanterns is over 24" tall. I love them!
Project #6
Okay, this next project had to be pretty darn quick cause the ol' thunder clouds were rolling in which is a pretty common occurrence from around 5 o'clock on in this part of the world. ONWARD!

Behold, the crate.
Now transformed into this...

Multi tasking as a serving tray or whatever. That's the magic of paint..a white wash of white with a smudging of pale turquoise, ah....
A very pretty way to tote everything outside to watch the thunder clouds brewing.

And a fast way to scurry back inside when those clouds let loose!
I've got a few more Rapid Fire projects waiting inside just for these balmy, but stormy evenings...
...So, let the lightning begin!!

What's on your Rapid Fire Projects list?
Do you wait for the perfect day off like I do?,
or do you make the most of every day and just dive in?

Happy Rapid Firing