Saturday, 13 June 2015

Learning Something New

We are expecting out-of-town guests in a few days. I'll be painting Scooter's room/the guest room next week. We had our new gas range installed today.
On Thursday, I made new cushions for our kitchen chairs. Our butts had worn through the fabric of the old ones so it was time.

All the elements of my world aligned. Fabricland had a sale on the fabric I wanted to use, I found some good videos on YouTube, an online tutorial on making chair pads, and I had the time to do it.

While at Fabricland, I bought the cording to make the piping for around the edge of the cushions. I also bought solid fabric using one of the colours from the main fabric to make the underside of the pads and the bias strips for the cording. Making the cording is a fraction of the cost of buying it ready-made IF you can even find the right colour. The woman at the cutting desk was very helpful with the calculations.

First thing, I made a pattern. I had to tape a couple of pieces of newspaper to get a piece large enough. I did put marks at the centre of the top and bottom.
I also marked where I wanted the ties to go.

Then I made the bias strips to cover the cording. One of the tutorials suggested 1 3/4" strips so that is the measurement I used. I also used this width for the double fold bias tape I made for the 8 chair ties - each 25" long.

I then cut out the 4 pieces from the main fabric, adding about an inch of seam allowance, matching the centre markings on the pattern to the centre of the design. I made little notches on the fabric at those centre spots.

After making the cording, I discovered the #3 presser foot for my Bernina worked OK for the cording. I didn't need to go out and buy a special cording presser foot. The #3 has a little channel in the bottom. I put the needle in the rightmost position. I started in the middle of the back of the main fabric and sewed the cording to it all the way around allowing for 2" overlap. At any curve or turn, I clipped the seam allowance of the cording almost to the stitching, With the needle down, I was able to make the turns, making sure the cording stayed in the correct channel under the presser foot. I trimmed the cording so that the two ends butted each other and finished the seam. Another tutorial sewed the front and backs together at the same time sandwiching the cording and ties but I thought the way I chose would work better for a rookie like me.

I pinned the ties to the correct place, tacking them to the main piece so they wouldn't get caught in the stitching. With right sides together, starting just before one of the ties, I stitched around the cushion ending just after the tie on the other side. This left an opening for stuffing the cushion. I then turned the cushion right side out, unpinning the ties from where I had tacked them - ready for stuffing.

On one of the videos I watched, the sewist suggested buying an inexpensive fibre-fill pillow and using its stuffing. I bought two pillows at WalMart for $3 each.

Before filling the cushions, I cut out thin batting the shape of the cushion, and put it against the inside of the top of the cushion. I could have anchored it in place with spray glue but didn't bother. I then stuffed the cushion with small handfulls of the stuffing from the pillow.

Once I had filled it to the appropriate poofiness, I hand-stitched the opening closed.

Of course, the ties were in the exact spot they were supposed to be in.
I really liked how I was able to custom fit the cushion to the actual chair it was going on.
The piping looks very spiffy.
To eliminate slipping, I cut a bit of tacky shelf lining to go under the cushion. This will minimize excessive pulling on the ties.
And there you have it.
Since the fabric is still on sale, I'm going to buy some more and make place mats.

I really love learning how to do new stuff!

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