Tuesday, July 31, 2012

My First Reupholstery Project Part 2 of 4: the Galling-to-Glorious Glider

Part 2 of 4: The back cushion

Let the fun continue! While the seat cushion took me several hours from start to finish, it really wasn't as difficult as I thought it would be. I took my time and carefully followed each step from Little Blue Boo. After persevering through the first cushion, I felt prepared to take on the reupholstery world! That was, until I took the seam ripper to the back cushion.
EEK! No foam here!

Remember that nice, salvageable, all-in-one-piece foam cushion from the seat? Well, the makers of these cushions decided to throw me a curveball...the back cushion was full of that fluffy stuff (poly fil, I think it's called...I refer to it as "cushion guts"). In a panic, I texted my friend Ashley and my cousin Anna (two sewing gurus in my life) to see how to proceed. "Go buy a new foam insert for it," they both said. That comes a little later.

The reinforced stitching went through the stuffing, so I just used my seam ripper to release it.

I continued with my seam ripper (I'm telling you, that little tool will be your best friend on a project like this!), releasing the outer seams and the button-looking pinched parts that were in the center of the cushion. Here's what it looked like when I got it completely opened:


Once again, I wanted to keep the original fabric under my new fabric to give it that extra layer of durability. In addition to the big chunk of poly fil, there was also a thin layer of it sewn onto the fabric. I decided to leave that layer in place as well. After I separated the two sides of the cushion, I did the exact same thing that I did on the seat cushion...I used the old covers as my templates, cut out my bird fabric, pinned it all together, and sewed it three ways around, leaving the bottom opening to insert the cushion (see above). Finally, I was Jo-Ann bound. I'm so glad I took the cover with me, because I ended up buying Nu-foam that was sold by the yard from a big roll. I was able to buy just enough for this project. (I used a 50% off one item coupon from my Jo-Ann mobile app, which came in handy since this stuff is $23 per yard!) While I was there, I also picked out some cute buttons that matched my bird fabric & added a little more aesthetically-pleasing touch for the center of the cushion. I bought 8 buttons, four for each side, but more on that in a bit...

Nu Foam cut to the shape of the cover

The sheet of Nu Foam I bought was 2 inches thick, but my scissors would only cut half of it at a time. If you run into this problem, just insert your scissors into half the thickness of the foam, cut it, and then go back and cut the other half. One mistake I made was tracing the size of the cushion to the exact same size as the cover. You'll want to cut the foam a little bit smaller than the actual cover or it will bunch up and look lumpy when you slide it inside the cover. I had to go back and trim mine again, finally getting it to the right size, and I sewed the bottom seam closed.

Measure for the new "button" holes

At this point, I've spent 2 days on this back cushion, totaling about 5 hours of work. However, once again, my cushion was looking awesome and I was quite impressed with myself! Then came the buttons...ugh. Let's think about what this cushion consists of at this point. It's my bird fabric, the original fabric, the thin layer of poly fil, the sheet of Nu Foam, and repeat the first 3 materials...my point is, it was THICK! Those nicely-sewn, button-shaped details on the original cushion were evidently done on an industrial machine of sorts. There was no way I could do it with my Singer, so I got out my thick upholstery needle and sewed by hand. My first attempt (after measuring the locations for the buttons on both sides) involved trying to stab my needle through all those layers AND hitting the right hole in a button on BOTH sides of the cushion. Sound impossible? Well, I'm pretty sure that's because it is. I couldn't find a tutorial online to help me with this either, so I consulted with my hubby for a brainstorming session. After a few ideas of "what about this...?" or "how about this...?" we came up with a solution. Forgetting the buttons, I focused on simply sewing the point on the cushion. I was able to go through one side to the other much more easily without the button blocking my view of where the needle was coming through each time. I just went up and down, over and over, pulling the thread taut each time, until I got the desired look I was seeking. Then, I added the buttons to each side. Since the material was already pinched tightly together, I was able to line up my buttons on each side with no trouble. After the first one was done, I moved on to the next one and so on. Once I got the hang of it, it went surprisingly fast!

The finished product!

 Once all my buttons were on, my back cushion was complete! Another amazing feeling of accomplishment washed over me. I couldn't be more pleased with how it turned out...I just wish it hadn't taken me 8 hours to do! My next post will "cover" the arm rests. Until then, happy crafting and thanks for stopping by!

Monday, July 30, 2012

My First Reupholstery Project Part 1 of 4: the Galling-to-Glorious Glider

PART 1 of 4: The Seat Cushion

The past several weeks of my life have been consumed with various nursery projects that came to life through my nesting phase. One of these started with a simple Craigslist glider purchase. I didn't want to spend a lot of money on a new glider, so I bought this used one for $30.

Not bad for $30, right? Well, pictures can be deceiving. After I tried scrubbing the stains and musty smell away, I was left with better-smelling-but-still-stained upholstery. My friend Missy suggested that I give it a facelift, so I thought, "Why not? How hard could it be?" My, how little I knew what I was getting myself into!

My fantastic great-aunt Ennie gave me her 1938 Singer sewing machine a couple of years ago, and it was a great display piece in our house until recently. I took it to the Bernina Sewing Machine Shop in Brentwood (I highly recommend them for any of your sewing needs!!!) for a complete tune-up, and I practiced sewing on scrap fabric for about a week. Once I had a handle on the tension and foot pedal speed, I decided I was ready to attack the glider.
My Singer Sewing Machine- Isn't she a beauty?!

Do I recommend this project as a new sewer's first experience? Not so much- unless you have a LOT of spare time and patience! Was it worth it in the end? Absolutely- just stick with me to see the final results! My friend Ashley shared a helpful blog tutorial that got me through the seat cushion and gave me a good start on the back cushion. Check it out at http://www.lilblueboo.com/2010/02/reupholstering-nursery-rocker.html. So, here we go with a step-by-step recap of my experience, in hopes it helps someone else out there who braves a similar feat!

You will need:
  • Seam ripper (my new best friend)
  • Fabric scissors
  • Sewing machine
  • Upholstery thread
  • Fabric of your choice (I used Joel Dewberry's Aviary 2 "Sparrows in Vintage Yellow")
  • Straight pins
  • Measuring tape
  • Disappearing ink fabric pen

The old fabric, my bird fabric, and the original cushion foam

1. I know it's scary, but the first step is to remove the existing cover with a seam ripper. My hand was shaking at the beginning, and I kept thinking, "What if I mess this up??" but I pushed all of that to the back of my mind, took a deep breath, and began defacing the seat cushion. The foam inside it was still in great condition, so I decided to salvage it. In the picture above, the old cover is still in one piece, but I separated those into 2 pieces before cutting my new covers. I also carefully removed the Velcro straps and saved them.

Use the old fabric as your template

2. Using the original cover, pin it to the new fabric and cut it out. Since my fabric wasn't a thick upholstery fabric, I decided to keep the original fabric underneath the new fabric as an additional layer. If you're using a thick enough fabric, you would simply unpin the old fabric from the new fabric after you've cut out the template. Be careful to mark and pin the pleat spots on the original fabric so you end up with the pleats in the right spot when you're ready to sew.

One down, one to go!

Sew the sides and front together

3. Match your two pieces together (pay close attention to lining up your pleats) and pin all the way around. Make sure the material is inside-out! Now you're ready for the sewing machine. Sew the sides and front together, but leave the back open so you can slide in your seat cushion. Turn your material right-side-out. It should be like a pillowcase. Then insert the cushion through the opening in the back.

Slide in the cushion through the back opening

Sew the back closed

4. Once your cushion is snug in its new cover, it's back to the sewing machine. I had a hard time mashing the cushion and fabric down enough to get it under my presser foot, so you'll notice an extra hand in the above picture...that would be Adam's hand. :) Stitch the back final opening together. We're almost done with the seat!

Add the chair straps

5. Remember those Velcro straps I saved when I took the original cover apart? It's time to attach them! At first, I fretted over how I was going to cover them with my fabric and keep the Velcro feature. Then I realized, they attach to the back of the glider, totally out of sight! I was perfectly fine with leaving them as-is and attaching them to my new cushion. "Sew" that's what I did! Be sure to measure exactly where they need to go to line up with the place they attach to the chair first! (I'm speaking from experience here...gotta love the seam ripper!)

Voila! Seat cushion complete

TA-DA! The seat cushion is complete! This one cushion took me about four grueling hours to complete, but if you have any sewing or reupholstery experience, you can probably do it much faster than that. It was worth the time it took, though, and I am very pleased with the results! Now, on to the back cushion...tomorrow!

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Hello, Blogging World! There's a New Kid in Town.

Welcome to my brand new blog! I have so many things I can't wait to share, from crafts to recipes to all-things-baby and more. So, why am I joining the blogging world? It's actually something I've wanted to do for quite some time. I have many interests and hobbies, and I love sharing my experiences with friends. Let me tell you a little bit about myself...

Photo by http://saraheilwagen.com/

I live in the beautiful city of Nashville, Tennessee with my husband Adam of three years, and our soon-to-be baby boy William Alfred, due to arrive in the coming weeks! We have a strong marriage built on Christ and lots & lots of love. We have an amazing "extended family" at Hillsboro Church of Christ in Forest Hills.

After five years in the classroom teaching 2nd and 3rd grade and one year as an elementary math coach, I decided to hang my teacher's hat to become a full-time mommy. So far, I've enjoyed a typical "teacher summer" with days at the swimming pool, travel, and crafty projects. I don't think it will really hit me that I'm not teaching this year until all my teaching friends are back at work this week and posting on Facebook about their wonderful classes full of amazing students and how excited they are about the new school year. However, I feel confident that once William is here and I get to spend all day, every day with him, any unsure feelings will just melt away.

I have always been a very busy person, and I am happiest when my calendar is covered with appointments and plans. When choosing the title for my blog, I wanted something that would allow me to write about a number of topics. Adam and I love to travel both domestically and internationally, so I will certainly be writing about our future excursions. The world of crafts has always interested me, so I love diving into new projects on a regular basis. Now that I am home full-time, I finally feel like I have time to explore the world of cooking and baking. Becoming a new mom means you can rest assured I will be blogging about all things baby boy, and this fall means my favorite season is coming...hockey season!

Whew! My first post...I can't believe I'm finally launching my blog! I can't wait to share so many things...beginning with a recent project that nearly did me in...reupholstering the nursery glider. Stay tuned! :)