Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Cushions and More

I had forgotten how much work it is to tackle a big sewing project. I should have realized when I bought 10 yards of fabric and four 50" zippers and 32 yards of cording for piping that it was not a quick one.

The first big challenge in upholstering anything is to measure and calculate to make sure the fabric adequately covers the foam cushions but isn’t so loose that it’s baggy. I looked around for some evidence of a pattern from when I had done this job 7 years ago, but no such luck. The first evening was spent just in cutting out all the pieces for the 4 cushion covers.

I decided to make one start to finish to make sure there were no surprises. It took 4 hours with a couple of seams to rip out. But the biggest time sink was in covering the cord to set into the seams.

I calculated around 2500 hand stitches (all 4 cushions) to get it ready for assembly.

After I finished the first one and assured that it fit OK, I decided to approach the next 3 in “assembly line” style – that is, do the same step to each cushion cover. So I started with the prepared cording and 3 piles of fabric pieces ready for assembly.

Projects like this always seems to be easier the second, third, or even fourth time you make whatever it is. It was equally true in this case. But it reaffirmed my decision never to work on an assembly line. I was totally bored after doing the same thing even 3 times.

As the first big spool of blue thread ran out, I was glad I had opted for a second spool.

After I stuffed all the cushions into their new covers and threw the old ones into the trash, I realized I still had quite a bit of fabric left. This is when this sewing project got a little more interesting.

I decided to make a table cloth and napkins. My idea was to take flowers from the print fabric and somehow put them on the red napkins. After consulting with my friend Kris (who was in Santa Fe at the time and probably thought I was crazy), I asked the people at G Street Fabrics for their recommendation on how to do this sort of applique work without making it into a gigantic effort. They recommended double-sided fabric adhesive and smoke-colored invisible thread for zig-zagging around the edges.

There was even enough fabric left for 4 blue napkins as well.

As much as I was bemoaning making 32 yards of cording, I’m somewhat sorry this project is over. I’m gratified to look at bright cushions once again, this time with a matching table cloth and napkins. Jake has already inaugurated the new cushions as he does his daily look-out on the window seat. I hope they last another 7 years! I saved the pattern this time...


Anonymous Anonymous said...

very pretty fabric! Is it Chintz? You did a great job. Looks really nice.

9:45 PM  
Blogger Barbara said...

Anon -- I looked long and hard before deciding on this fabric, somehow hoping I could completely duplicate the sunflower print I used the last time. But there were no sunflowers to be found, so I settled for this floral print from Calico Corners that seemed equally Tuscan to me. It's not chintz, but just a really nice heavy cotton.

Thank you!

10:40 PM  
Blogger Kristin said...

How gorgeous and I love the add-on projects! I think I dreamt of your cushions the other. (I'm planning a trip to Provence.)

8:11 AM  
Blogger Reya Mellicker said...

Fabulous! ::loud applause::

8:29 AM  
Blogger Barbara said...

Kristin -- I'm so glad you are going to Provence. Can't wait to hear the details.

Reya -- Thank you! ::taking a bow::

9:30 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wowzers! You can do anything. They're beautiful. It makes me smile to just look at the pictures. FL

10:46 AM  
Blogger riseoutofme said...

I'm feeling a tad inadequate here.

NICE cushions, though!

3:24 PM  
Blogger Richard said...

I fear sewing is not something I do well.

Great work! Hope your accomplishment has given your ego a wonderful boost.

9:41 PM  
Blogger Mother of Invention said...

Beautiful choice of material and it all turned out to look so professional. I envy your skill and talent!

5:59 PM  

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