Friday, August 23, 2013

How to Recover Chair Cusions--A Tutorial

I was super lucky at the thrift store last week when I found a glider for $15 that was in great condition. I recently had my third baby and I've never had a glider. I had a rocking chair with my first two, but it is big and I never liked how it scoot across the floor when I rocked in it, so I didn't even get it out this time. I always wanted a glider but they seemed awfully expensive to me, so this was my chance. The glider was great except for one thing--the cushions were red gingham. Red gingham isn't a problem in and of itself, but it definitely didn't match the room I wanted to put it in. So this is what I did!

As always, if you need to see the picture more clearly, click on it.

Recovering Simple Chair Cushions

Step 1: Take your seam ripper and rip off the existing covers. These cushions had been recovered before so after I took the gingham off I found blue upholstery fabric. I left that on. You can strip it down to the foam if you want though. It won't make much difference.

Step 2: Use the pieces you removed from the cushions as a pattern for your new fabric. Since I had two cushions (a back piece and a seat piece), I needed to cut out 4 pieces of fabric. Make sure these pieces follow the contours of your cushions.

Step 3: Cut out your new fabric pieces. I needed 2 for the top cushion (a front and back piece) and 2 for the seat (a top and bottom piece).

Step 4: Cut out and make straps to tie your cushions to your chair (if you want to--the need for straps or not will vary depending on the kind of chair and cushions you are recovering). Turn these rightside out and iron them flat. I made two straps for the top of the back piece, and one for the middle of the bottom of the top piece. I also made two straps for the seat cushion. (Making straps is easy--cut out a long rectangle double the width of the strap you want to make. Fold it in half lengthways, then sew up the long open side. Turn it out using a dowel rod or a pencil.)

Step 4 Tip: I made my straps reeeally long so that I could fold them in half and make "two" straps out of each one. This saved me having to make as many. I only needed 5 long straps instead of 10 short straps.

Step 5: Make a sandwich using the two pieces you cut out for the back cushion, putting right-sides together, and insert your straps at the top, whereeever you want them to be. Since I made long straps I folded in half, I put the folded edge of each one at the top.

Step 6: Sew around the edges leaving a gap at the bottom to turn it out and insert your cushion.

Step 7: Do Steps 5 and 6 again for the seat cushion pieces. I left my gap at the back of the seat cover, between my straps (as shown in the picture) so that I wouldn't have to hand sew in the straps when closing the gap later.
Step 8: Stuff your cushions in your new cases! Check for fit. If there are areas that need adjusting, do it now.

Step 9: Hand sew the openings on your covers shut. Since I put a strap in the bottom of the back cushion, I had to hand sew that in as well.

Step 10: Tie your new cushions to your chair and enjoy! My cat likes the new chair, as do my kids. Glider chairs are apparently a lot of fun!

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Handy "Bag O'Bags" Storage System Tutorial

Is your house littered with plastic bags? Can you sew? Problem solved.

I made this handy "Bag O'Bags" storage system a few months ago and it has eliminated the plastic bag full of bags system I used previously. By doing better at bringing reusable tote bags with me to the store in conjunction with this, my house is no longer being swamped by plastic bags!!!

(Here is my tutorial for an easy lined tote bag. Wanna make it easier?? Don't line it!)

Step 1: Cut out a rectangle. The dimensions don't really matter. I've seen these in different sizes, but the standard size wasn't really big enough for me. Mine is about 18" by 22". The picture I drew is much more "rectangular" looking than what I cut, which was more "square" looking.

Step 2: Sew the long edges together (right sides together or course). This will make a cylindrical tube.

Step 3: Hem the top and bottom edges. I double-folded mine for a nice clean hem, but since this is for plastic bags and you won't see the inside, a simple hem will do. Leave a gap in your hem on both ends of your tube to run elastic in them.

Step 4: Insert elastic into both ends of your bag. I cut my elastic about 9" long. You want the elastic to be tight enough that bags don't fall out of the bottom, but loose enough that you can reach into both the top and bottom to insert and remove bags as you need to. Sew the elastic ends together, and sew the gaps shut.

Step 5: Add a strap to hang up your bag. I used leftover bias tape for my strap. I sewed it to the seam on one side and Voila! I was done.

Baby makes Three!

This year my husband and I welcomed our third child into the world, Miss Juniper Kathlene! She was named after our love of nature, her birth month, and her grandmothers. She has further eaten up my already limited time for crafting, but it's worth it!
Juniper is pictured here, and below with her daddy, wearing the Angel Wings Pinafore that I made for her. I highly recommend this pattern because it was easy to do, didn't take long, and looks absolutely adorable!

Here are my older two kiddos, Eleanor and Arthur, enjoying their baby sister before she was born!

Sweet Little Newborn Crocheted Sunhat

 When I found this sunhat pattern, I was elated! It was so easy to follow and the hat was adorable. The problem: it's too small. I made it before my daughter was born, so I used a baby doll as a guide (pictured below). It fits my daughter sort of, but not good enough to stay on, and I don't think even a chin strap would help that.

The Pattern: Sweet Little Sunhat found on the blog Hyphenated and Overextended.

My recommendation--use a bigger hook, or add a couple rows if you want this to fit your newborn well. The pattern calls for an H hook. There are instructions for making it larger on the blog. The size I made said "0-3 months." It looks more like a preemie size to me, although it's possible that I crocheted tighter than the pattern's author.

The good news about this project is that my older daughter now has a fun new hat for her baby doll!

Crocheted Brimless Baby Bonnet

 I adore baby bonnets, and just had to make one for my daughter. I searched the Internet quite a while to find a  pattern I liked, that didn't use a very small hook. I like projects I can get done in a day or so! This one fit the bill perfectly and still had to lacy "prettiness" to it that I wanted.

The pattern is titled Samira -- Apricot Baby Bonnet on the blog Crochetlatte. This is offered as a free pattern. I used a different yarn than that shown on this blog, so it has a different effect.

This bonnet does not have a brim, so if you really want a sun bonnet, this isn't for you. Adding a couple more rows is a good idea though if you want it to cover more of your baby's forehead. I think it looks really sweet on my darling baby, Juniper.

Crocheted Sweet Little Sundress Example

 I crocheted this dress using the Sweet Little Sundress pattern on a blog called Hyphenated and Overextended. I of course tweaked it a bit, changing up some of the stitches in the skirt and adding a fun shell stitch border to the bottom.

This dress (as the pattern is written) fits a newborn pretty well. The blog says a "5-7lb" baby in the comments, but I would put it closer to an 8-10lb baby, or even a 0-3 months if your stitching has a bit of stretch to it.

This pattern isn't difficult, but might be challenging for a beginner. It depends on how well you read and follow patterns! Adding a decorative border to the bottom is simple enough, but keep in mind it adds length to the gown...mine was a little long on my daughter!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Crocheted Pinafore and Diaper Cover

Since I have a baby girl coming shortly, I grabbed some pastel yarn I had in my basement and decided that rather than buying a cutsie outfit to bring her home in, I would make one. The beauty of baby clothes is that they are small, so whipping out something to fit a newborn isn't a super time-consuming project! I scoured the Internet for a girly, lacy, outfit that looked doable for my summer baby, and this pattern was perfect.

The Angel Wings Pinafore pattern is a lot easier than it looks. I would rate it an intermediate skill level. The lacy texture and ruffled sleeves make it look more complicated than it really is. I followed the pattern pretty much exactly, using sport weight yarn and a size H hook. It is crocheted in one piece, and I was able to complete it in one day.

Once this was done I really wanted to make a diaper cover to match and I came across this Newborn Diaper Cover pattern. I didn't follow the pattern exactly, but used it as a general guideline for my own cover. I "frilled" it up by going around the edges with picot stitches to create a ruffled edge. I think in retrospect the cover could have been wider in the straps and the backside, but overall I'm pretty happy with it.

UPDATE: My daughter has arrived! Here she is wearing her pinafore!

Monday, May 6, 2013

Need to Recover a Square Lampshade? Here's How!

Recovering a round lampshade is a little easier than a square or rectangle one, but the process is the same. The difference is that you will have a seam for every angle instead of one seam in the back. I'm having a baby girl and this gold shade just didn't work in her room. Rather than buy a new one, I got some scrap fabric from my stash and decided free is better!

1. Cut out your fabric. I like my projects to be really low maintenance, so I just laid my fabric on one side of my lampshade and cut out the general shape, leaving a pretty generous seam allowance on all four sides. I then used this piece as a template to cut out three more for a total of four pieces. Your pieces in no way have to be perfect because you will shape them in the next step. They just need to be big enough.

2. Pin your pieces around the lampshade, right-sides together, fitting them to the sides as closely as you can. You may go back and tighten it or loosen it in places to get as good of a fit as you can. You should have fabric sticking out from the top and bottom of the shade to fold over the edges later.

3. Slide the fabric off the shade. If you want, you can use tailor's chalk (or whatever!) to draw a line along your pins. This shade has a fluted shape, so my pins reflect the curve.

4. Sew the edges together on all four sides. If you cut your fabric to be a lot bigger than your shade, you can trim the seam allowance down at this time. If your lampshade has a substantial curve to it, you may want to clip the seam allowance. It will look like this when it is done, still wrong-side out. I placed it back on the shade and checked to make sure I was happy with the fit of the seams. You can always go back and tighten them up in places--I did!

5. Iron your seams out. It will look a lot better if you do this!

6. Fit your new shade over your old one. Once again, check the fit and make sure you are happy with it. At this point you can still adjust your seams.

7. Hot glue the excess fabric over the top and bottom edges of the shade. I'm sure there is other glue that would work, but I used hot glue. Fold the corners over as cleanly as you can. It's okay if the edges are a little uneven because you can over those up in the next step.

8. If you want a cleaner look on the inside, cover the raw edges. I used some bias tape for this purpose. Ribbon would also work.

 9. Enjoy your new-old lampshade!

This frog lamp doesn't really match the new pink lampshade yet, but we plan on painting the frogs to match as well. There's always another project waiting to happen!