Monday, July 22, 2013

Reupholstery: Final Reconstruction!

On the previous reupholstery post, I had finished sewing the new cover. Now I needed to attach the cover to the frame.

The first step was attaching some padding around the rim of the chair. If you remember from the beginning posts, I removed padding that had been stapled around the metal ring:

So I went out and bought a cheap, second hand quilt to use as the new padding.

I pulled the stuffing out of the quilt and stapled this around the metal ring.

Voila! Next, I added another layer of the old quilt to the seat of the chair and put padding over that last part of the metal you see in the front.

Then I started attaching the cover to the frame. First, I needed to cut some holes in the back of the burlap seat for the ties to reach through. This anchored the whole seat cover into place. Then I tied and stapled the rest of the ties in place.

After that, I had a friend help me to stretch the fabric over the padding and secured the seat cover in place with my staple gun.

Then I slowly went around the rim of the chair and lined the edge of the cover with staples.

I actually removed the first round of staples and replaced them with a neater row because I needed the space behind them to attach the last piece of the cover.

After the cover was in place I added the last backing piece.

Now only the staples from attaching this piece were visible. Then I put the legs back on, and the chair was finished!!!



Up next, I will be making a wedding dress for a friend - it's a Halloween wedding and they will be dressing as Beetlejuice and Lydia!!! Stay tuned!


Saturday, July 13, 2013

Curtain Update and Other Projects

I found some gold tie backs for the drapes and I also added a sheer backdrop for each window so that the light could come through and not blind anyone and so you can't see the glass.

I'm so happy with how these turned out!

I always have lots of denim to repair for friends: here are some old cutoffs that I patched up. I will often cut out a new panel that reaches up to the top of the pockets and down to the crotch seam. This covers any holes and also reinforces the worn surrounding denim. I always use an overlock machine to finish the edges so nothing frays.

These are the standard shape I use. Sometimes I need to custom shape a new panel if the pants are an unusual design, but these two usually work fine. I always check the shape against the pants first before I cut patches and if these shapes aren't perfect, I can account for the change.

This is what the new panels look like on the inside.

And the outside! You can easily make these patches blend in or stand out depending on thread color. At first this kind of patch can feel bulky if the pants are a tighter fit, but after a. Few wears and washes they feel back to normal. I always advise my customers to cut any loose threads short and never pull on them since that will make the patch less sturdy.

In addition to patchwork, I had the opportunity to make some costume robes for a music video by Needle Points!

I made the middle three. I had limited time and fabric so the construction was pretty poor quality but I was able to take a few measurements like arm lengths and then construct some flowing sleeves and droopy hoods. I kept this very simple, and the whole length of the robes and the side panels were one piece.

Check out their music and video!


Reupholstery: Assembling New Cover

The two panels each consisted of one layer of vinyl, one layer of foam, one layer of burlap and a thin layer of material that should have been stretchy, jersey fabric but I used a sheet. The sheet fabric didn't really serve its purpose since it had no stretch and I won't be using that material for the back covering.

Sewing this material was tricky because it wouldn't slide under the presser foot smoothly so in order to sew I had to use tissue paper and put that between the top layer of vinyl and the presser foot. I actually started with paper towel because that was all I had, but for the second panel I used old gift wrapping tissue paper which was so much easier to remove from the stitches later.

Here you can see the paper towel stuck in the stitches. I grabbed a small cup of water to dip my fingers in and once the paper towel became a bit wet, it was much easier to remove. My mother suggested using oil when sewing with this material so that the presser foot would slide easier across the vinyl but I wouldn't suggest that method unless the project was for an outdoor slipcover or something that would see weather. I didn't want to use that method for an indoor chair like this one.

Here is the second panel. You can see the layers and the sewing lines I drew across the top. This was necessary to keep the lines straight since theses panels were pretty thick.

There are the two finished panels. I sewed across the edges as well so that I had lines to follow when I sandwiched the pieces together and sewed up the side seams. This ensured that there would be no gaps in the vinyl.

I sewed the bottom seam first and reinforced that seam a few times after I added the ties to the back. As I mentioned in some past posts, I am using a 99k Singer machine. These machines are very strong and will sew through most anything you can fit under the presser foot. The right needle is also important - I am using a larger sized denim needle and heavy duty upholstery thread. I didn't break any needles, I am thoroughly impressed with my luck.

Here you can see the old ties and how those were assembled. It was much easier to sew through the two layers because the burlap was against the presser foot and the feed dog.

These ties are actually tied around the base of the structure to anchor the seat cover.

Here you see the burlap seat is stapled in place. I have to rip holes in the back of this piece to wrap the ties through and I might add a second layer to this seat piece to add strength.

Here is the finished cover before it will be tied and stapled to the chair frame. Yay it's done!!

The next step is to secure padding around the circular rim before the cover goes in place. Updates on other projects to follow and then the final assembly!


Friday, June 7, 2013

Reupholstery: Patterning

After ripping out remaining staples and laying out the smelly pieces, I began to trace the old pieces onto the new materials.

Here is the old seat with the side seams ripped.

Here you can see a detail on the sides where an extra triangle shape is added.




Tracing out the dissected vinyl:

For the layer between the vinyl and the foam I used an old sheet, but I should have used something with stretch.

The burlap:

The foam:

Coming soon: Reconstruction


Thursday, May 9, 2013

Reupholstery: Dissection

Yay! It's time to rip into this chair finally! The first layer off will be around the back of the chair along with the piping underneath that layer.

These are my tools - that screw driver really sucks and I'm probably gonna need to find a better one...

Stupid screwdriver broke immediately, but my friend gave me a better one, 'old yeller.'

I'm having a hard time understanding all the sunflower seeds....

I already gave myself Tetris with a rusty staple.

Gross: mold and old grode. This will be an easy piece to pattern.

I'm beginning to understand the sunflower seeds. That white stuffing underneath the layer of cardboard here is actually the remains of an ancient mouse nest.

I have no idea when these mice lived here but it was over 5 years ago because I have been moving with this chair for about 5 years and it has always been spewing these sunflower seed shells. Also I've never had a mouse problem....

Really gross.

They had a roomy place.


I removed the legs of the chair, the cardboard and the mouse nest. It's looking like I should have gotten more burlap - I couldn't tell that the vinyl was backed with burlap when the chair was put together.

All along I've been taking notes on the construction as I'm taking this thing apart. You can see there are 4 ties at the seat of the chair that have been sewn to the bottom seam of the seat and then stapled to the wood. The ties are blue and yellow in the picture above.

After removing the rest of the pink vinyl, there was some padding around the rim of the circular edge of the chair that was stapled to the wood underneath. This came off pretty easily and revealed some pretty rusty chrome. This chair may have spent portion of its life out in the weather, probably after someone realized that mice were having a party in there.

The last piece was the burlap seat support. Wow, that's disgusting.

Also all of this fabric smells really bad since I ripped into it. It was never a smelly piece of furniture when I lived with it. The smell was released after I took the nest itself out and the sun hit it.

That water mark is presumably mouse pee.

My last step of the day was sanding the rust off of the metal. I have some bronze rustolium that I'm going to paint over the metal with which will keep it from rusting any further and make the chair legs look awesome.

Unfortunately I can't pattern this disgusting fabric right away so I have to fold everything up and store it in my home again until I have the time. This is really disgusting, I know, but I'm quite invested in this project as you can see.

I am re-thinking my fabric choice after seeing the water damage on the materials. I think I might use a similar vinyl instead of the groovy polyester I have. It would be really sad to have a spill on the new threads after working so hard redoing the upholstery.

Also I may simplify the pattern of the seat of the chair if I find that it will still be strong enough to support a human.

I need to buy more burlap and also some padding for the rim job :)

Til next time...