Monday, June 13, 2016

again with the home improvement!

 Reupholstery is now on my list of unknown talents!  I tackled the 6 dining room chairs, and we are nearing the finish line!  I say "we" because I couldn't have done this without Bob's help.  The upholstery business takes some muscle!  These chairs and table were purchased in the early 90's and have been our every-day eating area ever since then.  The fabric was wearing very thin and started fraying on the edges.

This is the "before" picture.
I had done a couple very easy things before, like recovering a foot stool.  But this needed to be done as neatly as possible and look close to professional.  I did some reading and scanning through some videos to get started.   I picked out a fabric that I really liked, even though I have some reservations about the light color.  But I decided to give it a go and see how it turned out.

Bob removed 1 million staples holding on the fabric, piping and dust cover.  And they were tough to pull.  I know because I started out doing it, but it was really hard on my neck and shoulder.  The staples needed to be pried out with a pointed tool, then removed with a second tool.  Those staplers were very thorough!

I had planned to replace the foam cushion, but struggled to get it to shape around the edges smoothly.  At that point, I threw up my hands and abandoned the project for awhile to think about what to try next.  By this time, however, 4 of the 6 chairs were missing their seats!  So there was no going back!  Still, I procrastinated for awhile, toying with the idea of just giving in and paying someone to do it for me.  But at that point, Bob urged me on with promises of help. 

So, I ended up just using the old foam padding, since it already was shaped just right to fit.  While the seats were removed, I washed and scrubbed the nooks and crannies of the wood frames.  There was a bit of accumulated spilled milk, squished vegetables and who knows what else in those hidden spots!  
After we were satisfied with getting the fabric all stapled down, I went to work on making the piping (welting) to finish off the edges.  The picture below shows what that will look like when it's stapled in place.  I cut the fabric strips on the crossgrain of the fabric, so it could be aligned with the stripes in the front of the chair.  So I have a few (quite a few) more yards of piping to prepare and then see if I can staple it neatly in place.

We did make a couple of rookie mistakes, but this has been a "learn as you go" project.  
One lesson learned:
Although I was very conscious of measuring and centering that wide navy blue stripe in the center of each seat, I did make one big oops.  This stripe is an uneven stripe.  The color pattern is not mirror-imaged.  If you look at the "before" picture, that stripe is an even, mirror imaged stripe.  Well, one of the seat covers got flipped around and stapled on in the reverse of the other 5.  Big oops!  But our mutually agreed upon decision was to not remove and replace that seat cover.  We were tired!  That's going to be our Amish chair, bearing a mistake to remember us to be humble.  And either be more careful the next time or hire someone else to do it!

Meanwhile, we have had a good period for our growing plants outside!  Two quite different kinds of purple iris have been blooming.

And the garden seeds that we planted a week ago are sprouting up.  Along with the weeds!  We had 2 days of temps over 90, so that really gets things going.  The garden is in full sun, so that's very favorable for growing but also prime sunburning.  So I look for less sunny times for garden time!

Monday, June 6, 2016

mundane monday mending

I know mending isn't hip or cool.  But it's still practical, and sometimes necessary.  I'm lucky I have some of the know-how to look at a garment, or a pillow, or a curtain, or a pair of jeans, and feel sort of positive about what to do with it!  Some people hate the mending, but I think it's fun to turn that frown upside down, and salvage something!  I have to say, I think I got pretty good at mending jeans.  The kids gave me all the practice I needed, and I found out what worked and what didn't.

Sometimes, it's brand new stuff that needs some kind of alteration.  This example is a simple sleeveless white knit top that I found on the markdown rack at the Marshall's discount store.  I really liked the fit and shape of the shirt, but right away I noticed a problem with the armholes.  The little serged edge that is turned over to the inside would roll out and show.  Still in the dressing room, I thought to myself, "Self, can you tolerate having that rolled edge on your mind and still enjoy wearing this?"  The answer was NO!  After studying it awhile in the dressing room, I thought I would give it a go.  Plus, it was on clearance.

This picture shows the problem with the rolled edge.

This is the neckline edge, and it has a little row of topstitching along the edge which is just what the sleeve needed.  Why didn't they finish the job?!

So I finished the job with a little bit of careful stitching and matching thread.  And I used the #5  foot on my Bernina and it worked like a charm to keep the stitching straight and neat.

And now I can wear my new shirt without a second thought about those armhole edges rolling!

I think my can-do-mending attitude rubbed off on Dan.  He has one of my old machines, and can mend his own jeans, tailor his shirts to fit, and a few other things.  I bet Brita would mend, too, if those little boys ever gave her a moment to do it!  On my next visit, I'll see if there's anything I can mend for her if I can borrow a machine!