Thursday, May 28, 2009

Finished Upholstery Project

Our back porch and is one of the most heavily used rooms in the house, and the furniture needs to be up to the challenge of it all. This beloved glider belonged to my mom since 1934, and she put this lime green vinyl on the cushions in 1974, can you tell!?! (Hey! It looked really farout then:) Luckily, the vinyl is still in really good shape even though the sun shines on them all summer and fall. This is probably because I've been making covers for them since I inherited it in 1998. Before then, they sat under a shaded awning year 'round.

The last few years these cushions were covered in a Waverly lilac print made from old curtains we no longer used. The fabric is getting faded and I wanted something that looked more amenable with our interior color scheme. I ordered this Lattice Garden print in Sun Shade Fabric by Waverly from Fabric Mart online and received it months ago. At first I was disappointed with the color, but its growing on me. It's more orange than the maroon I wanted, but that's what happens when you don't get a swatch first. No one to blame but myself. It does complement the furniture inside well enough though, and that's important because the wall adjoining the living room to the porch is totally glass. The lines of the lattice print are very easy to work with, too. I'm liking it. We'll get several seasons from these by rinsing the dust from them in the washer before storing everything at the end of the season.

The method of covering the cushions changes every year. These cushions have inner springs which make them much heavier than they look. Every time I've sewn new covers, I've tried different methods to secure the covers in attempting to reduce the amount of wrestling I have to do every year. I think I've got a good method this time.

For the seat cushion, I have placed four strong elastic bands running the length on the bottom of the cover, then the long sides over the bands and meet at the Velcro tabs (a pair every four inches apart) to hold the whole cover securely. Again, my major concern is keeping everything as square as possible with use since the linear design is quite noticeable.

The back cushions are wrapped as you would a gift box. The long sides are secured together by two size #3 snaps, first. Then I fold one side, tucking in the corners, followed by the other side, with the corners tucked nicely. At this point I decided to just sew the overlapped sides together with upholstery thread (100% nylon). I think this will hold better than Velcro or more snaps. At the end of the season, I can just snip the threads to remove the covers. A couple of tacks along the middle of the overlap, for good measure to help avoid the covers shifting, especially since these have a strong linear print. Finally, a couple of pillows covered in the coordinating fabric for accents, and, voila. Done. From start to finish, it took about six hours (one hour measuring, cutting, and hemming, and five hours fitting and sewing the closures) and the cost was about 35 dollars. Not bad!

Since these covers are exposed to the sun, water and dust, I chose a 65% polyester quilters thread for the hemming. It's strong, yet flexible, and the polyester blend will stand up to the elements a little better than 100% cotton. Upholstery thread would have worked well, too...I just didn't have any that matched on hand.

Tomorrow, we begin working on the bridesmaids' gowns in earnest. Since Katie's home, I can fit the pattern to her in the morning, then cut it out in the afternoon. She's off to spend the weekend with friends in Athens, so I'll have two days to work on it. She'll be back on Sunday, and I should have the shell done for her to try on. I'll keep ya'll posted.

1 comment:

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