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Tufting a Chair Cushion

20 Mar

I recovered my glider cushions a couple of weeks ago, and was considering tufting the back cushion with fabric buttons.  I decided to go ahead and try it.  I made a tufted headboard a few years ago, and have to admit there is something completely satisfying about making fabric buttons. I think it’s because they are so quick and easy to make, and the buttons look great!

To make the buttons, I use a button kit that you can find at any fabric or craft store.

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I had plenty of extra fabric from the cushion recovering project.  The button kit has a plastic template to trace the appropriate sized circles onto the fabric. I traced and cut out 9 circles to create 9 buttons.

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To create the buttons, you place the metal button onto the circle of fabric and push it into the white button mold with the blue “push” tool.

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You then fold the fabric into the inside of the button, and press in the button back with the blue push tool.

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Here is what the buttons look like when complete.  It’s pretty much impossible to screw these up…I love them!

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After I had the buttons made, I used a needle and thread to sew them into the cushion.  I first figured out the pattern and spacing on the cushion, and started sewing them in one at a time.  Because I wanted to keep my options open for the look of the cushion, I didn’t sew the buttons all the way through to the other side of the cushion fabric. I just sewed them through one of the two pieces of cushion I used to make the back cushion (see my original post for the cushion making details).  This allowed me to have one side tufted and one side smooth.

When I first tried pulling the thread through the cushion, the thread just cut right through, so I improvised and used a thin piece of cardboard from a cereal box in my recycling bin to give me a hard surface to hold the thread in place.  You can see that I started the stitch through the cardboard and cushion  and then pulled it back through the cushion and cardboard.

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I pushed the needle back through to the top of the cushion, pulling the thread taut and knotted the thread before sewing through the button back and completing the button placement. This creates the tufted dimension for pulling the buttons into the cushion.

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To finish, I knotted the thread on the back of the piece of cardboard.  This was repeated for each button until the cushion was complete:

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Recovered Glider

6 Mar

We have a hand me down glider for our nursery that is super comfy, but the cushion fabric is beyond worn out.  So I embarked on a cushion recovering adventure.  I have to preface this post with the fact that I’m not a sewing expert – so please don’t judge my get-it-done techniques!  But I did enlist the supervision of my mom for this project, which gains me some decent credibility.

Here is the Before & After, followed by the nitty gritty:

Before

Before

After

After

I wanted to keep the cushions fairly neutral since I’m incorporating lots of color and pattern into other pieces in the room.  I found some grey polka dotted fabric and decided to go for it. I picked up some white piping to offset the white polka dots, as well as some zippers for all three cushions, so I could wash the covers going forward.

I started by using a seam ripper to pull the existing fabric off the cushions, and marked the pleating on each piece.DSC00027

I then pinned each piece like a pattern to the new fabric and cut them out.

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I transferred the pleat markings onto the new fabric with a fabric pen.  

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To set the pleats, I pinned them in, and tacked them down by stitching the top to hold them in place for when I complete the cushion seams.

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After setting the pleats, I began each piece with installing the zipper.  I’ve never sewn in a zipper before, so my mom showed me the ropes.

Installing Zippers:

  1.  Prepare the seam where the zipper will be placed by pinning the fabric together with right sides facing in towards  each other.
  2. Plan out the placement of the zipper by laying it down on the fabric, and mark each end of the zipper onto the fabric. This will tell you where the seam will be open for the zipper.DSC00067
  3. Start to stitch the seam as normal, when you reach the first mark for the zipper start, backstitch to reinforce the seam, and then change your stitch setting to create a longer basting stitch. (This will allow for you to easily remove the seam for the zipper opening.)  Continue the longer basting stitch until you reach the zipper end mark.  Switch back to your normal length straight stitch, backstitch again like you would when you start a seam, and complete the rest of the seam. In the picture below, you can see that the stitches are much shorter on the right side, and the longer basting stitch begins where the zipper starts and follows to the left:DSC00050
  4. Next, you’ll press the seam open, and line up the zipper onto the seam as you pin it into place.DSC00052
  5. Install the  zipper foot onto your machine.  With your fabric facing right side up, line up the edge of the zipper to the foot.  (It seemed odd and a bit “blind” to stitch with the fabric right side up, but I learned that it does work better this way, since the “zipper hump” under the seam will guide you against the zipper foot.)DSC00053Stitch along the edge of the zipper.  When you get to the end, you can turn your stitch and stitch across the end mark of the zipper, making sure you  have plenty of room for the zipper head to lie down at the top.  I backstitched a couple of rounds across the end to reinforce it.
  6. Repeat step 5 on the other side and end of the zipper.
  7. Now that the zipper is sewn in, use a seam ripper to remove the long basting stitch to reveal your newly installed zipper!DSC00041

Piping:

Since the existing cushion fabric had about a 1/4 inch allowance, it was pretty simple to pin the piping into place, since it too had about a 1/4″  allowance.  I pinned the piping onto one side of the cushion fabric, with the right side of  the fabric facing out, and stitched it into place by again using the zipper foot to line up against the piping.

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DSC00047Next, I pinned the other side of the cushion fabric to the piped piece, with the right sides of the fabric facing in, and the piping sandwiched in between.  With the first piping seam facing up, I again used the zipper foot to follow along the piping, using the first piping seam as my guide.

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Once I completed the seam, my cushion cover was ready to be turned inside out (through the zipper opening), and have the cushion inserted into place!  Once in place, I used some fiber fill to smooth out any loose edges in the cushion.

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Creating a Cushion from Scratch:

Because the back cushion had seaming in the cushion, I decided it would be best to create a completely new cushion.  I figured it would be too much to try and sew the seaming into the cushion, so I picked up a piece of foam, and then traced and cut out the new cushion piece. Because the foam was about half as thick as the existing cushion, I cut two pieces to double up the thickness.

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With my other two cushions, I used the existing fabric to pattern the fabric and pleats, but in this case, I needed to measure and plan out the pleats onto my newly created cushion.  I started by marking the edge of the single layer cushion onto the fabric, and then added another 1/3″ seam allowance, knowing that the seam would run along the center of the two foam pieces, and this would give me a little extra allowance for the doubled up cushion and 1/4″ piping allowance.  I marked these measurements a number of times around the cushion and then cut the fabric freehand with markings as my guide.

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Next, I pinned the  fabric up along the edges of the cushion to plan out where I would need pleats to accommodate the curves in the cushion.

DSC00064 Once pinned into place, I marked the pleat folds with my fabric pen, and then pinned and tacked the pleats into place like I did with the previous cushions and followed the same zipper and piping steps to finish.

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I’m considering tufting the back cushion with some fabric buttons. I’ll certainly let you know if I do!

Ombre It Is!

26 Feb

A few weeks ago I polled The Craftery readers to see which direction I should take next with my Changing Table Makeover.  I had already updated the piece by painting it white, but wanted to also add some color to the drawers.

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After

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The following Ombre Inspiration won the vote!  

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The question was which color?  I had finally decided on my nursery bedding, which was going to help me set the color scheme for the room.  I took it to the paint store and found these paint chip samples to match my bedding. I was either going to go with turquoise or coral for the Ombre drawers.

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After finding a turquoise rug for the room, I decided to go with the coral tones on the changing table.  I picked up 3 sample pints in the darker 3 tones on the paint chip card and was on my way.

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This weekend my husband kindly painted the drawers with each color as well as added a polyacrylic  coat.  It’s so fun to see these colors in the room!

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A Salvaged Seat

14 Feb

I work for a non-profit organization managing volunteers and coordinating donations. Today I spent much of my day traversing the Twin Cities in 15 ft. truck picking up and dropping off donations with my colleague.

We received three great chairs along with a table for our residents, but the seats were worse for the wear after spending some months on a porch.

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I wouldn’t want to sit on that. Would you? So I brought them home tonight to give them a little make-over with some fabric.

I think I’ve already mentioned one of my favorite past-times is garage and yardsaling in the summer.  One day this summer I stumbled upon a woman selling loads of upholstery fabric scraps for cheap at $1 a bag. I also bought some larger pieces between 2 and 5 yards for less than $5 each-also a steal of a deal. I now have a chest full of upholstery scraps that looks like this at the moment.

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In hunting through the scraps I found two coordinating pieces big enough to cover three chairs.

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I first removed the seat by unscrewing the four screws that held it on underneath. I then layed it on the fabric- you can see the wrong side of the fabric and the underside of the seat here.  I used a sharpie as I didn’t have a chalk pen to quickly trace out where I should cut off extra fabric- you’ll see the pink line above.

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I pulled the fabric taut on side and stapled two or three staples along the edge of the side beginning in the middle.  (I used an Arrow model T50 heavy duty hand stapler that I have had for ages with 3/8 inch staples. I bought this years ago to reupholster a footstool and I’ve used it dozens of time since- it really is a worthwhile tool to invest in!)Then I pulled it taut and stapled the fabric on the other side slowly making my way to the corners on two opposite sides.  I then repeated those steps on the other sides- checking my work every few staples to make sure things were taut without stretching it too tight.

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Then I finished the corners. I first folded one corner in more and stapled it.

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I then pulled the other side taut, making folds as I needed to and stapled it again a few times to make sure it was secure.

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This is a finished corner.

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I then attached the bottoms using the same four screws I took out of each. They went in fairly easily and I was able to poke them through the new fabric where the original holes had been covered.

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While the fabric is a bit formal for the blond wood, I think they turned out pretty great and will make some of our resident’s pretty happy. I have to say they turned out well for a project I completed under an hour that didn’t cost me a penny. Stay tuned next week for another project from my upholstery stash!