Thursday, July 31, 2014

Lovely Laundry!

The past two days 
we have been without our dryer.
It had been making some noise, but
nothing really serious.

Well, the drive belt finally broke.

Since I had just been using the dryer yesterday morning,
right before it stopped working, 
In the washer sat a full load of

So, up went our laundry lines again!* 

I have used our backyard patio cover 
as a laundry line for years,
hanging sheets and 
blankets, comforters and towels.

Yesterday & today,
it held 

(Love laundry blowing in the breezes!)

Sun-kissed blessings to you,
Barb ;)

Post Script:  I'd love it if you'd share me with your friends, thank you!!!

(*construction-zone out back -- we are rebuilding the patio cover -- hence the mess)

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Making a Settee Cover, Part 3

At the end of Part 2, the "back piece" was realigned with the "front piece" at the upper back of the settee, centers of both pieces together.  The pins were in-place along the lower back of the settee marking the height of the "seat-deck" around the sofa.  These will be used to transfer to the lower part of the "back piece" later on. 

  • Pin the "back piece" across the top of the sofa's back, attaching it to the "front piece" all the way across out to the arms and to the back edges of the sofa.  Match up the seam lines, if you have drawn those on your pieces.  Draw your cutting line in and readjust your lines as necessary as you pin this piece to the sides of the sofa.  
  • Tip:  I like to pin my pieces directly to the whatever piece of furniture I am working on! It makes it easier to align the pieces. Make sure there is enough fabric beyond the sides of the sofa which will be sewn to the sofa's "side pieces." Check the "floor-to-pins"-measurement against the bottom of the "back piece" and mark these on the back piece. (We will recheck and make final marks once the cover is all sewn together, just before attaching the skirt.)
  • Look at the remaining yardage checking where the weft (the sideways "give" ) is again.  Measure the "side part" of your sofa/settee.  Mine was 8-1/2" by 30-1/2" so I cut my pieces out 1" larger for the seam allowance. (displayed in this photo) 

Here is my sketch showing the "side part's" measurements.

  • Now drape the remaining yardage over one of the sofa's arms (Drape and cut out one sofa arm at a time.), keeping the weft going across the arm.  Think of the unstretchable part, the warp, as the part going from the front of your sofa to towards its back along the sofa's arm.  The stretch will go from inside the sofa's arm towards the outside and over the arm ending at the "under-arm seam." (see photo above)
  • Tuck in your yardage but pull it taught along the sofa's arm-top.  There will be some folds created that will be gathered into the seam as it is sewn later-on.  Draw in your seam-line.  I did this by pulling-up the part that was tucked-in and creating a curved line along the inside area of the fabric perpendicular to the "seat deck."  Leave several inches of fabric extra in the lower third to half of this "arm-piece" to tuck-in later into that inside seam.  This extra fabric will be the looseness needed to pull the completed settee cover over your piece of furniture without making it too tight.  I like my furniture covers pretty tight, but you may want yours to have a looser fit. :)

  • Pin together the "arm-piece" to the "front-piece" creating tucks to take up the extra fabric. Drape, mark and cut-out the other "arm-piece," drawing lines and creating tucks as needed. Put the tucks in roughly the same place as on the opposite arm.
  • Pin together the "arm-pieces" to the "seat-deck" beginning from the back of the seat coming forward.  This will ensure that there is enough fabric where it needs to be tucked later.  Clip the seam allowance as needed to get the pieces to marry-up.  Cut a 1/2" or 5/8" seam allowance away from your drawn line.  In this next photograph, you can see how I left extra fabric for that inside "arm-piece" and that I drew in all of my lines.    Draw-in and cut-out the part along the back of the sofa where the "back-piece" will join to this "arm-piece."  

Now, take off what you have pinned together and sew these seams.  I plan on sewing my arm and seat seams first then I'll re-fit those pieces to the sofa and then pin the "back-piece" and the "side-pieces" on, sewing them next.   :) If you plan on using welting on any of these seams, now is the time to make it before you sew your seams.  I plan on putting welting along the "upper back seam", but not on the "inner seam" here.  Also, I will be put welting around the "skirt," along the "side-seam" and around the "front-arm pieces," which have not been made yet.

Time to make Welting! :) 

Okay, "welting" is made by cutting out fabric on the bias, or across the diagonal.  What you will do is put your "cording" in-between lengths of your remaining fabric.  Figure out how much fabric you will need to make your welting. My cording is 1/4" wide, so I will cut mine at 2-1/2" wide which will leave enough fabric, once folded and sewn, to have for a seam allowance.  Cut out lengths of this over and over, then stitch these lengths all-together.  You'll need enough welting to stitch into every seam in which you plan on having welting, so add up all of your seams' measurements to get a rough estimate.  More can be created later-on if you start running out. ;)  

Sew the cording inside the fabric right next to the cording.  Use your zipper foot.  FYI:  Welting is cut on the bias so that it can stretch in two directions making it conform to whatever shape needed. Sew the cording into each seam in-between the pieces of fabric remembering to face the welting towards the right side of your pieces.  You can always attach it to one piece, then sew the opposing piece on next instead of trying to sew all three together at once.     

Cut out the "front-arm pieces" and stitch on welting.  Sew these into the sofa cover.

Making the skirt -- take your "floor-to-seat-deck" measurement for the height, and measure around the sofa's total widths for your width/length.  

Decide if you want:
Lightly gathered skirt -- multiply by 1-1/2 times the sofas 's widths
Fully-gathered skirt -- multiply the width by 2 times
Pleats all around -- take a lot of fabric, like a kilt. I don't recommend them here, but they look really cute on chairs!
Pleats on just the sofa corners, and maybe the front and back centers -- this is what I am using since my width of usable fabric is barely once around my sofa. I am using two of my remaining, original, pre-seamed pieces of the drop-cloth for the skirt (Less sewing!). I have another fabric that I am going to add-in at each spot, then pleat the drop-cloth fabric over the top of this insert. 

***Having technical issues with font size and subheadings... Please ignore! ;)

  Photos of the finished Settee Cover next time!

Happy sewing!
Barb :) 

Monday, July 28, 2014

Making a Settee Cover, Part 2

Last time  we left off I was getting ready to show you how to measure for the back-piece of the sofa.  My original measurements showed this sofa as 33" from the floor to where the center of the wood curve is at the "upper back."  This settee used to have a decorative oak arch along the top, but I grew tired of it and it made the sofa look really 90's, so I took it off, padded the space, and stapled and pulled the upper back fabrics together.  This has created a new "arch" that looks great, but is a bit unsightly the way I finished it, especially since I move the sofas around a lot and like them away from the walls. :)  In addition, now without that oak piece, the added benefit is the two settees look more like a pair. :)  Anyway, this is one of the reasons I wanted to make a slipcover for this and the other settee. ;)

Here I have left the original 12' of canvas drop-cloth fabric just hanging over the back of the sofa. The seat-deck is tucked-in with it's seam in place. I have drawn a line where I want my back-piece seam to be. I cut 5/8" BELOW this back-line to create the seam-allowance. This is where I will add-in welting. The side-seam and its seam-allowance are ready to go!

  1. Step 6, really -- For the "back-piece" of the sofa cover, cut BELOW your drawn line either 1/2" or 5/8" for your seam allowance. Also, if you have put that "drop cloth seam" over at your sofa's edge like I did, above, cut that off, too.  Cut it off just PAST the seam (in my case, just to the left of the seam).  This will create a seam-allowance for joining your "arm-piece" to the "front" and "back" pieces.  The right side was already up-to-and-slightly-overlapping the right edge, so no need to cut anything over there except where the fabric needs to be cut off for the arm.  The rest of the length of yardage, put aside for just a second.  
  2. Find the center of the curved-over "front piece."  Place a glass-head pin there. This can be easily done by pulling the piece up, folding the piece itself in half and marking the middle with your pin and/or marking with a pencil, or by doing the following.  Tip:  This is how you can also mark-off "store-bought pattern pieces" without having to cut out those little triangles or squares where you will match-up pattern pieces -- just put a 1/4" slit perpendicular into the fabric, like you would do when "grading a curve." This eliminates the need to cut-out those "tabs." Makes getting to your sewing faster!!! 
  3. Now, re-tuck and lay the "front piece" back down along the sofa's upper back-edge.  Carefully, realign the drawn edge back along the wood edge.  Realign the side edges, which you should have drawn-in before so you can see where to stitch after everything comes off. :) If you haven't already done this, do so now. :) *** Sorry if I didn't make this very clear in the last post!  Trying to think of it all. :) -- (top photo)
  4. Rehang the back-piece -- Take the remaining length of fabric and pin it back to the "front piece." I did this with overlapping my 5/8" seam in the middle (fold this fabric in half along the cut-off edge, pin as for the "front-piece", above, finding the center point in this next piece, the new "back piece," going ABOVE the curved line of the settee's back. It will look like a big box at first. 
  5. Redraw the wooden piece's curve onto this new "back-piece."  I like that you can feel the wood piece below and can use it as a guide.  Your sofa may not have one, so make an arc as best as you can.  Cut your "seam-allowance" ABOVE this newly-drawn curve.  Now you have the upper curve of the "back-piece!"  After I drew the curve, I unpinned and took the whole canvas off moving over to my table to cut the curve over there.  I wanted to make sure my "seam-allowance" for this piece was going to be correct.  I folded my fabric over, rechecking my center point.  This also gives you the point to match-up with the "front piece." Make sure you have enough fabric to get to your sofa's side edges.  If not, add in fabric with extra seams to the "back piece" on both sides to make your piece work for you. 
  6. Measure the heights from the five pins along the back's lower seam will be. These should all be the same height as your "deck-height" from the "front seat-deck piece."  Adjust as necessary. Our floor is slightly irregular as we laid it ourselves.  My measurement is 12-3/4", so now measure from each pin vertically up to where a vertical line would hit along your sofa-back's curve.  Write those measurements onto your drawn diagram of your Back View.  Transfer all those lengths to your "back piece," then cut off the remaining fabric length.  This is what I have already done in this photograph. 
  1. Here I have shown several things at once: * Measuring up from the floor, you can see where the pins have been placed along the back (above the blue painter's tape, at 12-3/4"/12.75" off of the floor) where the sofa skirt will attach. * The yard stick is there as a guide to show various lengths -- the height of the pin at that point, about 33" off the floor. * The painter's tape at the upper center along the curve shows the upper-middle of the sofa where both pieces are pinned together.

  2. My original post didn't include this next photograph, so I hope this helps!

    I hope you are enjoying this little series on how to make a slipcover
    for your sofa!

    Let me know if there is anything that you think needs to be added.  
    I have tried to make this simple enough
    for an intermediate sewer.  Beginners, you could sew this, too, but
    you might want  help "reading between the lines.
    I may not have enough photographs or always be clear enough for you.
    Write me and I will be happy to help!

    Happy Sewing!!!
    Barb :)

Sunday, July 27, 2014

White Sunday

Happy Sunday Everyone!

Sunday is a day of rest, and sometimes we are just so busy
in our day-to-day lives that we need breathing space
to crowd out all of the noise.

This is what I think of white.
White is ethereal, 
it is calming, 

 I was thinking of all the lovely white things in our home.
China plates stacked neatly on the buffet,
white roses in a pitcher on the breakfast table and
my grandmother's crocheted antimacassars.
My father's mother made all of these lovely doilies for her home.
My favorites are two with the little boy playing with
his dog.

I like to think that it is my dad
running across the picture,
ready to throw the stick.
I wonder if she was thinking fondly of my dad
 as she crocheted every evening.

I have some other lovely lacy linens.
Some of these I purchased at different
flea markets, some at thrift stores, and a few 
which were too lovely
not to pick up and bring home
from antique stores.

One of my best finds from a market was this
sweet morning glory tablecloth.

It is a lovely square cloth with buttons embroidered in the centerpiece.

My sister-in-law and I went with our girls
to the Peterborough Antiques Faire 
back about 9 years ago now when she and my brother 
were stationed at RAF Molesworth, about 
two hours north of London, England.

A lovely time
so many lovely memories

Enjoy your Sunday!

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Making a Settee Cover, Part 1

Making a Settee Cover, Part 1

Today I thought I'd share the sofa cover I am starting for one of our living room's settees.  Perhaps you have thought about doing the same with your favorite, comfortable but worn sofa!  Well, they aren't that difficult to do.  :)

Start by taking your sofa's measurements.  Draw pictures on paper of your sofa and put all of the sofa's measurements. These details may seem very simplistic, but I find that many things my daughter and I try to create from the internet aren't detailed enough.       (upper photo)
Sofa's main measurements I was looking specifically at the "from-the-floor" to the "seat-deck" height. This sofa's height is 12-3/4". I used this height to place quilter's pins all the way around the sofa at that height. This will be my height where the sofa' skirt and welting will be sewn in later-on. 

Measure twice -- As the old saying goes before you decide to start cutting.  I bleached a super large painter's drop cloth from a big box building supply store, the 9' x 12' one, specifically for this project.  This took about two days to get it to bleach out enough.  After I get it all sewed together, I may bleach it again.  I am trying for a

Shabby Chic white-look.  These canvas cloths are tough, a whole lot of fabric and the cost is Perfect!  Just over $20.
  1. Look at your cloth and drape over your sofa.  Check the cloth's parts for where the stretch is in each section. If the cloth has odd pieces sewn-in to "fill in" to make the drop cloth the right size, check all of the pieces.  My cloth's "extra piece" was rail-roaded, which means it was turned
    sideways and sewn in.  Cloth has vertical, non-stretch warp and that's the part you want going "up" on most of the parts of your sofa, if that makes sense. Warp helps the fabric keep its shape. The stretchy, sideways weft is what you want going "around" the sofa, and over the curving arm-parts. The weft is what will "give" so that it can cover the sofa appropriately when put on. 
  2. Creating the pattern -- So, as you go to cut your pieces out, you are creating the pattern right on the sofa.  I like to begin with the seat deck (take off the pillows and cushion, obviously).  My fabric had a seam running through the length of it horizontally.  This was perfect for the stretch to run sideways,  so I used that seam to "tuck in" at the back where the seat deck meets the front sofa-back.  This saved on sewing as the seam was already done!  (see 2nd and 4th photos above)
  3. Cut out around the sofa's arms on this first cut piece. Leave a seam allowance of the standard 5/8", or as I learned from my tailoring instructor in college, you can just take a 1/2" allowance on all of your pieces.  Up to you what you prefer. (see Sofa-Deck, front photo -- the second photo down)

Welting can be seen here in this photo, above, on a chair cover I made a few years ago.  Welting is the self-covered cording used to stabilize and add decoration to chair cushions and covers. In another post I will discuss how to create welting.

Well, this is where we will stop for today.  Have a super weekend!

Barb :)

***To be continued next posting

Friday, July 25, 2014

Welcome to French Ethereal!

Happy Friday, Everyone!

My name is Barbara, but I go by Barb most of the time.
I am married and have two children in college.
My daughter is studying art
and my son is studying 
broadcasting and journalism.  

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