Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Window Seat, Part 3

Let's talk fabric, shall we? There are a bazillion fabric sources for home dec fabric, both online, and, here in Atlanta, in real actual stores. I guess people change their curtains a lot here. Who knows. I've probably been to the majority of them, since our house came with, well, no curtains at all. Sure, blinds galore... no privacy was compromised...but no curtains, drapes, valances, well, you get the picture. So I made some. Lots in fact. For almost every room in our house, until I completely burned out.

Wait. Aren't we talking about the window seat fabric? So, in light of all the sources, and the fact that I just didn't have the energy to schlep around in the heat, and also, I didn't feel like clicking and comparing, I turned to my favorite online source, fabric.com. One of the great things about this place, is that you can purchase swatches, and it was totally worth it to pay 75 cents to $1.75 for 16 swatches. Oh, and they're a generous 8" x 8"! I'm not going to show you all 16, but here's what we've narrowed it down to.

We're thinking of using 2 different fabrics, one for the center section, and a solid that will frame that section and go up against the window. Set #1:

Sophisticated and pretty.

Set #2:

Abstract and fun. That last fabric would end up as a throw pillow. Also, the solid gray would work here to.

Not sure if you can see the labels in the pictures, but all of them, except the black with circles, are recommended to be dry cleaned. Pshaw! We have 2 dogs, and they will undoubtedly be lounging on the window seat, gazing out the window and their nemesis, the squirrel. These covers will need to be washed!

Never fear though. Of course I threw them all into the washing machine and gave them a spin. And they all came out looking great! Especially the solid ones. No shrinkage. The swatch with the flowers frayed quite a bit, but a serger will take care of that.

We're still debating, so feel free to chime in with the set you like the best with a nonbinding vote. Once we choose, I'll need to order both the fabric and some upholstery zippers, but there's another important step that I'll tell you about in a day or 2.

Stay tuned!

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Window Seat, Part II

This window seat is a multi-step project, and I've decided to show you step by step what I'm doing, rather than just a big reveal. There is even a video today for your enjoyment. Not sure how much information I'm actually imparting, but you can see what I sound like.

Anyway, recapping, so far I've bought the foam and made the pattern. The next thing to do is to cut the foam into the shapes that I need. Remember that my window seat is fitting into the bay window and that's giving me fits  the opportunity to make 4 cushions to fit onto the platform, kind of like a puzzle. Here are 2 of the 4 positioned onto their designated foam piece.
By the way, I'm doing this project in the kitchen reno area, basically to keep as much dog hair away from the foam as possible. It's like a magnet for the fur!
I traced around each pattern piece. Note that I also marked the perpendicular line on the side to help guide the knife. OK. Are you ready? I've made a video! This has taken me literally hours to make and then figure out how to add the little title slides at the beginning and the end (which really just flash the info at you). Clearly, I have room for improvement for my movie making skills.

Whew! The electric knife really does make the project so much easier. After I finished cutting all 4 pieces, I did have to make some adjustments to make it fit just so onto the window seat.

Next up: Fabric selection.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Window Seat, Part I

Sewing is going to happen again, but I've been a little overwhelmed this summer with a number of things and probably #1 of those things is the kitchen renovation. It was started in mid-May, and here we are, almost to August, and it's still not finished. Cabinets, countertops and the sink faucet are in, as well as the new floor (which happened before all those other things).

One of the fun details we decided to add was a window seat for the bay window. It has turned out to be kind of an odd shape because of the depth of the window and the width. We wanted it to be useful for seating at the table, and since you need to be closer to the table while you eat, it's bumped out a bit in the middle.

I'm going to make the window seat, but it's definitely a bit of a challenge due to the shape. In spite of the odd shape, I do want to say that home dec sewing is some of the easiest you can do, perfect for beginning sewists. Basically, if you can sew a straight seam, and do a little math, you can decorate your home with better fabrics and at a considerable cost savings.

Oh, and there is no fitting (well, on a body anyway)!

Let's get started!

Step 1 is decide on the thickness of the cushion. We're going with 4" thick which gives it a nice expensive and custom look. I've purchased upholstery foam at Joann's before, but with the odd widths, I hit the interwebs, and ultimately found the best deal at OnlineFabricStore.net. Have y'all heard of that shop? It's new to me, but it seems to be chock full of home dec supplies.

I ordered 2 pieces of foam: 24" x 108" and 30" x 54". There's a method to this madness, but look how it arrived:
Quite compressed! That's just one piece, as I had the epiphany to record this process after the first one was unwrapped. Annndddd unwrapped:
These are going to need to be cut into shapes. Yes, shapes. Apparently the easiest way to do the cutting is with an electric knife, so that was ordered and has also arrived. I'm going to start with covering the cushions with muslin because it will make the fashion fabric slide on much easier. More on that in another post. Let's not get ahead of ourselves!

Remember I mentioned odd shape. I need to make a pattern, so armed with newspaper and tape, that's what I did today.
There will be 4 cushions total. The center front will be pointed on both ends and 24" wide. If you can see the rulers in the picture, that's kind of the outline. There will be a rectangular cushion center back against the center window. Then in front of each smaller window on the side will be a cushion that is kind of an odd shape.

That's enough for today. Mr. Sewing Life is not quite sold on the shape of the 4 cushions, so he'll be signing off on this first. Really, there's not a lot of choice.

Next up: the cutting of the foam. Maybe maybe I'll try to get a video of that happening.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Fun With Mod Podge, Part I

Why did I not know about this stuff before? Well, I knew about it, but I didn't KNOW how great it could be.

Let's back up though. Are you on Pinterest? Do you pin and pin, or repin and repin, never to look at your boards again? Do you say, "oooh, how cool" or "I'm going to make that tomorrow" and then never do? Well, I've got a DIY board, and I'm going to attempt to actually make some of the things that I pin. Are you ready for this? It may or may not be sewing, but it's sure to be crafty!

OK, another thing though. Let's see a show of hands for everyone who calls it Modge Podge.

What did I make, you ask? Something for the sewing studio, and fabric was involved. Initially discovered on the interwebs by my real life friend, Elizabeth, decoupage light switch covers seemed like a wonderful idea, and once I saw the tutorial on the Jones Design Company website, I was so in!

She (Emily) suggests scrapbook paper, book pages, wrapping paper, or even... fabric! I was in luck because, well, I have a ton of fabric scraps, and a dislike for the boring plastic light switch covers. So, here we go...

In the tutorial, she paints on the Mod Podge and then cuts the corners. That's a lot of stickiness, so I did the cutting pre-podge. By the way, the whole thing is about 1/2" bigger than the switchplate.
Here you go... all the tools, plus added stuff from my table. Podge painted on plate and fabric.
Fabric on, necessary parts cut out. Check out the original tutorial for more specific steps. Then more podge painted over the fabric to seal the whole thing.

Not a perfect match with the wall, but way better than the old, well...not white... beige?... plastic switch plate. And hey! Fabric covers for the switchplates in the sewing studio (which you still haven't really seen... my apologies).

I'm sold! It took more time to choose the fabric than to actually do the podging (is that a word?). Well, not counting the drying time, but obviously I could move on to other projects while that was happening.

Go ahead... make something fun that you pinned, and show everyone!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

A Blogging Drought and Vacation Photos

Well... hi! I haven't been blogging the last couple of weeks. You may or may not have noticed. Let's review where I've been and where I haven't been. The easiest part is to simply say that I haven't been in my sewing studio, except only briefly to unplug my sewing machine during some thunderstorms.

The first week of July, I was on vacation! With many of my in-laws! Fun! Well, mostly. Groups of us went off for various activities when we needed to get away from the pool/beach/heat. Mostly my immediate family. We just like to do stuff on our vacations. Sure, we like the pool and the beach. Just not 24/7. Oh, where were we? In Kill Devil Hills, NC on the Outer Banks. Here I am with daughter and son at the Wright Brothers National Memorial on the 4th of July:

Oh, wait! There was a sewing machine there! The Wright Brothers borrowed their Mom's sewing machine to sew the muslin that covered the wing frames. Of course I took a picture.
Actual sewing machine, replica flying machine.

We also ventured further south, taking the ferry to Ocracoke Island. We popped into the David Williams House Museum, and wow, another sewing machine. They're everywhere!
Here's the group (Thomas, Roland, Laura and me) in a picture snapped by a stranger Thomas coerced into becoming family photographer. He's good at that.
Thus endeth my family vacation photos. That wasn't too bad, was it? But what about last week, or were you lucky enough to have a TWO week vacation at the beach? No. We were back home, up to our eyeballs in avoiding the contractors working on our kitchen renovation. What? This isn't a DIY home blog. The cabinets are in and the end is in sight! When it's all done, I'll show you a pic!

And lo and behold, I did use my sewing machine this weekend. But I made a present, that has not yet been given, so I'll hold off on the post. But in the meantime, I've discovered a wonderful thing that seems to have many, many uses. Mod Podge. Why have I not known about this before? I'll show you what I did with it this coming week, and I may actually cut into some fabric, too.


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