Sunday, July 29, 2018

Tutorial - Slip Covered Slipper Chair Part 2

Here is part 2 of the Slipper Chair tutorial.  Seat back with faux pleat and seat cushion.

Supplies for Part 2:
  • Sewing machine, matching thread
  • Fray-Check (sewing seam sealer)
  • Shirt cardboard, index card
  • Small blob of polyester fiberfill (or fluff from an old pillow)
  • VERY FINE glue applicator filled with craft glue (I used Sobo in my applicator)
  • Pattern sheet (link here)

  1. For the seat back slip cover, cut the two pattern pieces “C” and “B” from fabric. (note that in photos my piece “C” is not straight across the bottom because I was using a scrap piece).
  2. Down the center back of the chair is a faux pleat.  To make this, “draw” down the centerline of the back piece (wrong side of fabric) with a THIN line of glue.  Make it wide enough so that when you cut on it, it will be sealed on both sides of the cut.  The glue line is hard to see in the photo. Don’t cut this yet.
  3. Using a sewing machine and very small stitches (I used a stitch length of 2mm long), sew the back to the front RIGHT SIDES TOGETHER on the seam line (see photo).
  4. Put a line of “Fray Check” seam sealant all around the raw edges on both sides. Don’t let the solution spread past the line of sewing.
  5. Clip into the center of the heart where marked on the pattern but be sure NOT to clip through the stitching line.  Trim the seam to about 1/8 inch.

  6. Turn inside out.  Cut a piece of shirt cardboard to pattern “A”.  Slip the cardboard piece “A” up into the back and make sure it fits.  Remove cardboard piece and set aside (link to pattern - see supplies).
  7. If the glue on center back cut line is dry, cut on the line almost to the top (about ¼ inch from the top seam).
  8. Cut a “gusset” or faux pleat of a contrasting fabric using pattern piece “D”.  Glue the gusset inside the split.  Before it was dry I pinched the split together a little near the top, so it would look like it was bulging (and bows added later were holding it together).

  9. Place cardboard “A” piece up into the slipcover.  Stuff the FRONT of the seat (side opposite of the gusset) with a little fiberfill.
  10. Glue down the open seams below the sewing line as needed to keep the sides together.  You can see where this needs to be done when you have the cardboard inserted.

  11. Glue the back cover to the cardboard down both sides, covering the cardboard.  Glue the raw edge of the cover against the cardboard just to seal in the stuffing (it should just touch the base when the back is glued on).
  12. Trim off any extending gusset.  Fold up a ‘hem’ on the bottom edge of the slip cover and the gusset.  I allowed mine to extend slightly past the bottom of the chair to look sort of like a train.

  13. Glue the back against the base covering the raw edges of the ruffled fabric skirt on the base.
  14. Cushion – (sorry I didn’t take many photos of these steps).  Cut pattern piece “E” out of shirt cardboard or index card.  Trim to fit your seat (a tiny bit smaller). Glue a small blob (size of a grape?) of stuffing to the middle of this cardboard seat.  Cut fabric about ½ inch larger than seat on all sides.  Fabric was wrapped over the stuffing and glued to the bottom of the cardboard.  To do a neat job on rounded corners, first glue down the center of each side.  Then when that is dry enough to handle, clip little tabs of fabric at the corners to try to minimize thick folds.  Glue down the tabs on all corners neatly as possible, smoothing out any wrinkles.  After covering with fabric, I ‘tufted’ two small dents using a needle and thread tying it at the bottom of the cardboard.
  15. Glue seat in place.  Finished!
  16. To decorate the back, I tied three bows using my BittyBow bowmaker (you can buy it from the link at the right side of my blog!).

Tutorial - Slip Covered Slipper Chair Part 1

This is another item from the two-sided dome project.  I needed a small chair since there was not much room inside the dome.  So the slipper chair was made from scratch.  It’s kind of complicated so I’m spreading it over two blogs.  I used a sewing machine for faster gathering but you can hand-sew if desired. In this part I will cover the seat base with skirt.  In Part 2 I will cover the seat back and cushion.  Read on for tutorial:

  • Acoustical Ceiling tile - 24” x 24” x 5/8” thick (building supply store).  Cut in half.  Use half to make a pinning board and cut up the remaining to make the seat base (it will be more than you need) Pin Board Instructions HERE
  • Razor saw or mini table saw to cut ceiling tile
  • Sewing machine, matching thread
  • Steam Iron
  • Glass head pins
  • Bug’ pins (optional)
  • Strong tweezers or thin needle nose pliers (clean, not rusty!)
  • Wood glue (for gluing ceiling tile) & Tacky type for other steps
  • Fabrics (plain white, 3 coordinating fabrics for seat, back and gusset)
  • Scissors … mechanical pencil … cutting mat… the normal toolbox stuff

  1. You can see a prototype in the photo (teal and red).  This was one I made many years ago that I was using for a pattern and for size.

  2. For seat base cut 3 blocks from ceiling tile about 1-1/4 inches square (I used my Dremel table saw but you can use a razor saw).  Stack them and glue together with wood glue.  When dry, sand the four sides so there are no big lumps.
  3. Cut a piece of solid white fabric to cover the entire base.  Glue around all four sides and bottom.  This is just to prevent the ceiling tile material from showing through the patterned fabric.
  4. For the ruffled skirt, cut a piece of fabric about 2-1/2 inches wide by about 8 inches (double the measurement of the four sides).  Iron a ¼ inch hem on one long edge.
  5. Make a mark with a pencil about 1-5/8 inches above the folded hem.This will be your gathering line.  Sew a gathering stitch on this line along the entire length using a long stitch length.
  6. Pull the gathering threads to gather the fabric to a length that will cover 3 of the 4 sides of the block (about 4 inches).  You can leave the two short edges raw (don’t fold any hem on those).  Tie the gathering threads so the gathers won’t come out and adjust the gathers evenly.
  7. Using the ceiling tile pinning board and regular glass head pins, place a pin into one side of the gathers just at the point where the threads are knotted.  Pin the other side in the same place along the same line of the graph paper keeping it straight.  Place more pins JUST BELOW THE GATHERING THREAD all along the top. All pins should be angled upward.  I used the regular glass pins here since the top gather where the pins are will eventually be cut off (so pin holes will not be visible).
  8. Now start pinning the bottom edge using ‘Bug pins’ if you have them (if not, just use the thinnest pins you can find).  The bug pins leave almost no holes in the fabric when they are removed.
  9. Pin across the bottom pulling tightly as you pin. It helps to use strong tweezers or needle nose pliers.  Angle the pins downward as in the photo.  Steam the gathers with a steam iron.  It’s OK to get the fabric wet.  Let dry overnight then pull out the pins and carefully peel the ruffles off the wax paper.
  10. To attach the skirt, cover one side of the block with glue. Line the hem up with the work surface (“floor”) and glue to the block starting at the center front.
      Glue to the other 2 sides keeping the hem straight along the ‘floor’.
    Wrap the un-pleated outer edges around to the back side.  Flatten any ruffles so the last side is smooth.  It’s OK if it doesn’t meet in the center, this 4th side will be covered with the back piece.   Let dry a while (about an hour?).
  11. Trim off the gathering edge about ¼ inch above the block and glue the fabric over the edge of the block onto the top.
See my next blog for Part 2 - making the seat back of the slipper chair.  Enjoy!

Monday, April 23, 2018

Tutorial: Window Shades, Tie-Back Draperies & Rods with brackets

Side One of dome - Long Drapes with Shade
I have done a couple of blogs on curtains.  I will give a reader’s digest version of the two window treatments I used in this project.  This project is a dome with a wall in the middle of the base.  Since I was doing an interior scene on both sides of the window, my window treatments had to coordinate – I didn’t want to see one room’s curtain from the other side of the window.  So I decided I had to put the shade on both sides.

Shaped Shade
Side 2 of Dome - Two layer Shade (no drapes)
This fabric covered shade (Side 2 of dome) is two layers - two pieces of index card, each covered with a different fabric.  I covered the striped one first, clipping the curves and folding the clipped tabs to the back (sorry, I didn't photograph that step).  I used Crafter’s Pick Ultimate Glue.

Then I cut a second index card about ¼ inch shorter.  I covered the shaped edge first (bottom edge).  Then I placed it on top of the striped one (already finished) and wrapped just the side tabs around to the back attaching both layers together.  This was glued into the window frame.

Back side - floral fabric wraps around striped fabric card
On Side 1 (long drapes side) I put a simpler version of the shade with only 1 layer of fabric.  Since both shades are the same size and shape, each one covers up the back side of the other.

Long Drapes
For the draperies, I started with a piece of fabric about 11 by 6 inches. 

I ironed a wide hem at the bottom (about 1-1/2 inches) and top hem of about ½ inch:
After folding hems (hems were not glued)

I used the largest Pretti-Pleater (one inch scale) to pleat the fabric.  You can see some fusible interfacing in the photo but I didn’t use it until after I pinned them.

  Next I sewed jump rings between each pleat.  You can see them in the next photo.  I think they were about ¼ inch (8mm) in diameter.
Pinning - pliers used to pull down for pinning

Next I pinned and steamed them to get the swag shape (like they were pulled back with tiebacks).   It’s best to pin with the curtains and rings already on the rod.  That way it will hang nicely just as you want it to on the wall.  I placed a bamboo skewer through the rings and held it with pins.  My pin board was a wax paper covered ceiling tile board with graph paper under the wax paper.

This next step is a little tricky.  In general, you want to keep the outer few pleats on each panel straight (pin them) and re-shape only the inside pleats (inside = center where they would draw open).  I usually use the thin bug pins (especially with fine, thin fabric) but this time I just used glass head sewing pins.  Bug pins make smaller holes but are harder to work with since they bend so easily.  Method for shaping the swag:
  • Starting with one of the panels (let’s say the left one as an example), pin the OUTER EDGE (Left edge) straight down from the ring to the bottom to secure it so the pleat will stay in place.  Be sure to put at least one pin right in the center, where the tieback will be.
  • Now put a pin into the INSIDE edge just BELOW where the tieback should go.  Sort of drag the pin and pull fabric up and to the LEFT, pinching the fabric together where the tieback will be.  Secure the pin into the board, pinching the pleats together tightly against the outside edge (center pin - bent one in photo).
  • Now try to arrange the pleats BELOW THE SWAG – use pins to sort of smash them together and pull each one straight down and pin so they look natural (tweezers or clean needle nose pliers help).
  • For the swag above the pinch point, just use a pin to move and arrange the pleats so they look nice.
  • Repeat above steps for the other panel.  When done, the bottom hems should gently angle up and to the center between the panels since the center was pulled up and is shorter than the outside.
Two hints to make these more scaled and realistic:
Hint #1 – Pinch them very tightly at the place where the swag is (middle).  Make it as small as possible there.
Hint #2 – don’t let the bottom sections fan out, try to keep each side of the panel parallel to each other.  Real drapes hang straight down from the gathered area. (though you can see in later photos mine did fan out a bit after a while because I hadn’t secured them yet).

After you steam them (yes, this is the second time now!) and let them dry, secure the pleats on the back either with lightweight white cardboard – cut to fit and glue to back, or iron on fusible interfacing.  I added tiebacks from velvet ribbon with silk roses glued on.  Even if this shows through to the other side of the window, the backing shouldn’t be too noticeable since it just looks like a white lining.

Drapery Hardware – rod, finials and brackets.

Supplies: bamboo grilling skewer (grocery store), decorative head pins for finials, tiny screw eyes, 1/16th inch thick scrapwood (I used two widths, one about ¼ inch wide and another a little smaller), blue painter's tape.

Tools: X-Acto knife or razor saw and miter box, sandpaper, pin vise and wire drill bit to match finial wire, stain or paint, glue (I used GS Hypo Cement), wire cutters, drill to match size of screw eye.

Here are the pieces in progress:
Finished rod and supplies; bottom: finger drill for screw eye hole
Rods are cut from bamboo skewers.  Sometimes you have to sand them a little because they have long splinters.  I cut them using my X-acto knife. (HINT: cut it at least ½ inch longer than you need to give yourself some room to fit into the brackets – you can trim off extra after it is painted).   I drilled a little hole in each end for the finial wire using a wire drill bit in a pin vise (tool for holding small drill bits while you drill).  It’s not as hard to drill into the cut end of the stick as you would think.
Finials – I used “fancy” head pins that you buy in the bead store.  They have a decorative end.  I just cut the pin down to about ¼ inch to fit in the drilled hole (wire cutters).  DON’T GLUE them into the rod until you are ready to hang as you will have to remove one of them to hang the drapes.

Blue Moon Head Pins:
Blue Moon Head Pins

Brackets – I layered two tiny (about ½ inch long) pieces of flat wood trim, or scrap wood about 1/16 inch thick.  I glued a smaller piece on top of a larger one.  I drilled a hole with a finger drill, #64 for the screw eye (or eye pin).  (Finger drills can be purchased from Micro-Mark but you can also use the pin vise).  I screwed in a very small screw eye to hold the rod. 

I painted the rod, finials and brackets and eye pin with a gold paint pen (Krylon) because I’m too lazy to clean out a brush.  But it’s convenient!

How to hang:  Dry fit rod and curtains and mark (blue tape works great) where the brackets will go.  Trim the rod shorter now if needed (you will also have to re-drill the hole).

Glue brackets on the wall and let dry.  Glue one of the finials in its hole, fit the rod through the bracket.  Then thread the rings on the rod.  Place rod through the other screw eye and glue the other finial on. 

See my other blogs on curtains, drapes or draperies (I used different keywords) if you need more detail.  I was a little brief in this post.  Now you have no excuse not to have curtains in every project!
 Here is a sneak preview of my next tutorial - coming soon:

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Tutorial - Hand Colored Rugs on Velvet

Some time ago I saw some lovely rugs from the 1980s on Ebay made by Ione Van Beckum and advertised as “hand painted”.  I was amazed at the detail – intricate designs in lovely colors.  I wondered how she did this with paint on velvet type cloth.  I looked up an article about her in Nutshell News (April 1981, p. 38 if you have it) and attempted to use her techniques to create my own rug.

One of Ione Van Beckum's rugs

Nutshell News article about Ione Van Beckum

I realize that I am no Ione Van Beckum!  Her colors are so subtle, her borders so perfectly even and her ovals perfectly shaped.  But I will share how I did my version  - the round scalloped one shown at the top of this blog (along with hints from the article).

1)    According to the article, she used cotton velvet or no-wale corduroy (I found off-white cotton velvet.)

2)    She backs it with “muslin sewn on with tiny little stitches” .
I didn’t back my velvet.  But I did use muslin (double layer) to make fringe (see further down). 
To get the scalloped shape I created a pattern using drawing tools in Microsoft Word (it was not easy).  I cut the rug out then sectioned it (using water erasable sewing marker) so the design could be spread out evenly.

3)    She paints the design using waterproof marking pens.
I looked for permanent markers and had a hard time finding delicate colors.  Office Depot sells fine point Sharpie pens in many colors.  But so many of those were bright and dark colors.
Finally I found some more delicate colors on Amazon by “Bic” brand.  I purchased a 36 count set called “Fashion Colors” in “Ultra Fine” tip size.  Though I can see where a wider tip would come in handy for shading in larger areas.  I didn’t buy any of the wider tip though.

I tested colors by marking each color on my fabric and writing the name of the color so I could remember which was which.  Sometimes the caps didn’t match the actual color when written on the velvet.
I also practiced making different designs and motifs:

4)    She draws the designs free-hand (how did she do that??)
I drew some by hand (scrolly border) but used some paper patterns to create sort of a “stencil” so I could make my repeat motifs the same size and shape.  You can see in the following photos.  I used light and dark tones for shading and adding details.  The photos show the colors of pens I used.

(Moonstone Yellow used for scrolly design)

The plan was to create two different designs, each on half of the rug.  One was more of a border and the other had a couple of different scroll French style motifs.  This was kind of a practice rug.  But I ended up using it in a dome project where half the rug was in one room and the other half in the other room (you’ll see in later photos).

5)    She applies the colors in tiny dots to assure even shading.  You can see this in the photo of Ione’s rug but I didn’t do this.  I didn’t really fill in any background.

6)    To fringe a rug, she pulls threads from both the velvet and muslin, carefully brushing out the pile.
I made my fringe by folding over a length of muslin and fraying the raw edges (two thicknesses).  I then cut the fringe straight and glued it around the scallops of my rug. I covered the edge with unraveled bunka (below).

7)    She then ages the rug with a pale beige marking pen. (I didn’t age my rug)
In the photos below you can see my finished rug.  Much simpler than Ione’s but she probably took more time than I did.  This is a simple technique if you can use some stencils or patterns and have the pens in colors you need.

Here is a better view of the side with the scrolly motifs:

Here are some more photos of other rugs by Ione.  She is a very talented lady.  The oval one is from my own collection.

 Next blog - maybe a slipper chair??