stand back, I have a staple gun....

Tuesday 30 June 2009
Sadly no garment sewing done again this week but I have been drooling over the past few issues of BWOF dreaming, so hopefully soon. I have been doing some more home dec sewing again, but this time it was so quick and simple that I almost didn't have time to get bored with it. Plus there's always fun to be had wherever a staple gun is required....

I had an old footstool liberated from my grandparents but it was covered in cracked green vinyl and my husband was complaining about the amount of "junk" I hoard. So to shut him up, and because I had some of the fuschia chenille fabric left over from my recent chair recovering the solution was obvious:

Now one of my real life friends is going to ask me how to do this when she spies these photos, so here is a step by step for her and anyone else interested. The rest of you more experienced sewers who could do this in their sleep please feel free to move on to a more interesting blog and ooh and ah over their new gorgeous outfit!

Step One: Firstly pry the old cushion off the stool and let your dog push it around the backyard and tear it to shreds before picking up all the pieces to put in the rubbish bin! And then buy some new foam cut to size. Quietly choke on how expensive foam is.....

Step two: I covered the foam in some polyester wadding, using spray adhesive which works really well but I also roughly sewed the edges down to join them together so I could slide the cover on later without the wadding being pushed down.

Step three: From the fabric I cut out a circle for the top and a rectangle for the sides measuring off the finished dimensions of the foam with the wadding already on because the wadding will make it bigger(remember to add seam allowances and some extra to the rectangle to stretch underneath the footstool). Also I cut out a long narrow rectangle to make some piping.

Step four: Sew the long thin rectangle in half over some cord using a zipper foot to make the piping, and sew the short sides of the other rectangle together.

Step five: Sew the piping to the circle fabric piece, remembering to put the piping on the inside and the seam allowance to the outer of the circle.

Step six: Sew the rectangle to the sides of the circle fabric piece, close as possible to the stitching line of the piping. After sewing, clip the seam allowances every few centimetres to allow it to open up properly.

Step seven: Slide the cover over the foam and hope it fits well. If so continue, if not, put it in a cupboard for a few months until you feel like doing it again. Just kidding! That's how you get a ginormous UFO pile, just ask me! Also try to put all parts of the clipped seam allowances to one side (doesn't matter which just be consistent) because otherwise it will look lumpy, which mine does a bit but I can't be bothered going back to fix it.

Step eight: I used some of the spray adhesive to stick the foam to the top of the footstool and then stretched the sides of the fabric to the underside of the footstool and went staple crazy. I also added a fabric covered button to the top of the footstool since it already had a hole in the centre of the wooden base and was just crying out for it. You can see I used a highly technical device of a matchstick to secure the thread there in the centre, but if you had a button big enough to cover the hole that would probably do a better job.

I used the selvage of the fabric for one side of the rectangle so I didn't have to finish the edge of the fabric or worry about it unravelling, but I may still cover up the edge of the fabric and staples with some duct tape or similar just to make it look neater but it's not really necessary.

For the thread for the button I used four strands, pulled through beeswax to make it stronger, but it's still not that strong so don't pull it too hard! Again I know that from experience. I used a bloody big needle (another technical term) to push it through the foam:

Step nine: All done, turn your footstool over, ignore screaming children and barking dogs for a little while and sit back and put your feet up instead!

Monday 22 June 2009
I can't believe how fast last week flew by! When you don't really have any set routine day to day (ie going to work) the days seem to go slow, except last week I had things I wanted to get done but for various reasons I didn't find the time. On Saturday night just gone I had my first night out without the baby since she was born (yes we have been joined at the hip for the last 5 and a half months), to celebrate a friend's birthday with dinner at a fancy French restaurant. So I decided I needed something new to wear to mark the momentous occasion of going out without the baby.

After seeing this gorgeous top over at Amanda's blog, I wanted to make BWOF 11/08 top 114 in a lovely red floral printed silk satin I purchased from the Remnant Warehouse a while back. The fabric is so vivid that I thought this style would be simple enough to let the fabric shine:

I envisaged wearing this with a black pencil skirt, a thin belt and a silver cuff bracelet and I would look quite the yummy mummy. Well, luckily I made a muslin for a change because this was a MAJOR wadder on me! I think maybe the sleeveless version is better than the long sleeved version, 'cos it just looked about 20 times too big on me even though I traced a size smaller. And since there are no reviews over at Pattern Review for the long sleeve version, I'm guessing that no one else thinks this one is a winner either.

Anyway I ended up wearing a dress I'd made previously and now fit back into (yay for me!) and wore a pair of super high heels for the first time in ages - I literally had to wipe the dust of them before wearing them. And dinner was great - very little baby talk since none of the friends there that night have kids, lots of swearing and obnoxious raucous chat that was very non child suitable. But I really needed some time out from Anna and being a mum because I've been very cranky with her and just about everyone else lately over the smallest things so it was definately time to recharge the batteries. And Michael didn't mind staying home since the rugby was on the telly.

I didn't get around to sewing the dress I've had cut out and pinned for the last two weeks though, because my overlocker has decided to have a few issues with the black thread I've put in it, even though I've used that thread many times previously. The tension is all over the place, and the upper threads keep snapping and I've spent time cleaning it, coaxing it, trying all different tension settings to no avail so it is probably time for a service.

Before I changed the thread though I made Anna a new sleeping bag from some quilted cotton and flannelette I picked up from a garage sale a while back because it's gotten pretty cold around here lately. Gotta love making a sleeping bag for next to nix when similar ones (albeit cuter more embellished ones) sell for $80.

I also made some simple pants in a stripe stretch corduroy because Anna wears far too much pink on pink for my liking, although I also made her this pink fleece jumper so I guess it's hard not to dress a little girl in pink. She's also discovered the joy of blowing raspberries hence the expression on her face:

This week's plan is to get the overlocker fixed so I can sew the dress because I want to post it over at Sew Retro for the June competition, as well as find time to decide on a new kitchen benchtop colour so we can make arrangements to finish off the kitchen sometime this decade! And before anyone asks, the house renovation is still not finished because there has been weeks of sometimes torrential rain so the backyard is still a muddy mess with unconnected drainage pipes sitting in puddles of water. The supposed three month renovation is now entering it's eighth month........

the long and the short of it

Monday 8 June 2009
Thanks everyone for your delightful comments regarding the fabric stash, it still lifts my spirits every time I go in to my sewing room and see that wall of rainbow goodness. I could talk about my fabric stash all day, in fact visitors who dare to enter get a glazed look after a while, sort of like looking at other people's holiday slides..... But since you asked, here's some answers:

Anne LO asked if I was worried about fading the fabrics since the room is so sunny. This is a definate concern since a lot of that fabric (ok most of it) will sit there maturing for many many years before being used. I was toying with enclosing the shelves with fabric curtains but the reason I chose open shelving instead of cupboards was for the visual impact (ie if I see it I'm more likely to use it), so I'm going to make curtains for the windows instead to block the sun out when I'm not in the room.

Nancy K - I totally agree with you on the lack of complementary shoes for brown and tan colour clothes. Although I sometimes wear red shoes with tan colours, but then again I wear red shoes with practically everything (but not red clothes, that would be way too much!).

Paola asked about remnants. Well, as I have openly admitted I am a major hoarder and I find it difficult to throw out fabric scraps of practically any size, even though I'm not a quilter which is the logical use of them. I am hanging on to them for Anna to play with and make doll clothes from, or for potentially embellishing clothes. That said, I have way more remnants than I will ever need, but I just can't throw them in the bin. This red, white and blue stripey bag next to Anna has all my fabric scraps and remnants after I had a major throw out of the smaller pieces:

Tracy you're right about not getting into bad habits early just because it's funny like putting Anna in the washing basket. I have bought a cheap highchair from Ikea which is at the same height as my sewing desk, and Anna has been sitting next to me quite happily observing so I think this is a better solution.

georgeina your question about folding the fabric to get them all the same size is not uber-nerdy at all! I tried doing it quilting style, ie folding the fabric around a piece of rectangular cardboard to get the same widths but that may work for fat quarters but doesn't really for long lengths of fabric or chunky fabrics. So I just eyeballed it, and if you look closely they aren't exact but close enough. It does drive me a little crazy though, and I wish they were exact but obviously I have significant obsessive / compulsive issues....

Littleredhen - frustration levels re lack of napping around here reached all time high last week, almost to the point where I wanted to go back to work to get a break! I spent 30 minutes settling Anna to get only 8 minutes of napping, but mostly she is still only napping 20 minutes at a time. I've started feeding her solids now to see if that fills her up and makes her sleepy - it's how I feel after Christmas lunch so I thought I'd give it a try (yeah I'm not up for mother of the year award that's for sure!)

Anyway, having organised my stash has really got my motivation going since last week I made Anna a pair of pants and a little jumper, two pairs of boxer shorts for my husband and I've cut out and pinned a dress for myself but I need to change the thread in the overlocker before sewing it up. I didn't finish cleaning my sewing room though, just enough space around the machnes to work LOL.

I made the jumper and the pants for Anna from this 1980s pattern picked up from an op shop, and once again they were way too big. The jumper is now put away for a few more months time, but the pants I figure need to be a bit bigger since the fabric I used doesn't stretch and it needs to get over her big cloth nappy butt. I used some caramel coloured fine wale corduroy, chosen because it was in the stash and it's not pink! I know little girls are supposed to wear pink, but she has way too much pink clothing so I'm trying to balance it out with reds and neutrals. I also sewed a pocket on the back not because I'm expecting her to use it but just so I know which is the front and back when I'm dressing her.

The boxer shorts I made for my husband also came from stash fabric, and were made from a vintage sewing pattern for men's swim shorts. Apart from an Elvis costume and a kilt type skirt made novelty fabric (both for fancy dress) this would be the first clothes I've made for him. I really just wanted to make this pattern so I could post over at Sew Retro, but I won't tell him that!

So the pants and boxer shorts are pretty boring right? Well the funny thing is the extremes in size (ie the long and the short):

And I guess when you see the two wearers together you can see why!: