Tuesday, 29 October 2013

I promised you home decor...

Slip-covered chair by Cicely Ingleside

My blog description says that I have an interest in home decor, but I haven't posted much in that area to date. I have kind of fallen down the sewing rabbit hole. When I started reading blogs, I was seduced by 'easy DIY posts' (I call them the gateway drug), but became more and more addicted to sewing.

BUT .... I have finally completed a couple of the many home decor projects on my list. And only one of them involves sewing. Even though the wallpaper I bought last spring is still sitting in the box on my kitchen floor.

First up is a rocking chair slipcover!

Here is the before picture:
Slip-covered chair by Cicely Ingleside

My grandmother gave me this chair as a present when I pregnant with my first child, and it has received a lot of use, nursing both my kids every night when they were babies. Now it sits in my daughter's room. As you can see, the existing cover had ripped. The colour was a bit bland anyway and I had always meant to cover  it.

I bought a fabric called "Ghost Wing" in Aqua by Anna Maria Horner, which is a linen/cotton blend. I love it!  Pink and turquoise, which is very much my M.O. I couldn't resist making a shirt with the rest, and hopefully not too many people will realise I am dressing like my furniture. AND I bought the same fabric in another colourway to make some Christmas presents. 

I improvised by tracing the existing pillows, and first making a white cotton cover, which I used as a lining. Then I tried them on the pillow and made adjustments, then made an identical piece with the good fabric. The back and seat pieces were fairly uncomplicated to do, and I added velcro at the bottom and back to keep the pieces on but removable and washable. The arm covers were complicated though, and I don't think I did an ideal job - but hey, it looks decent enough. 

I think it's all a big improvement though!
Slip-covered chair by Cicely Ingleside

Audience, for my next project I present to you some spray-painted side tables!  Here's the before picture:

Spray painted side tables by Cicely Ingleside

Very ugly and chipped particle-board. Never again will I buy this kind of furniture from a mass-market store. However, these are my very functional living room side tables. My water (okay, vodka and lemonade) glass is sitting on one as I type now.

I should have sanded these before painting them, but I was lazy. I thought it might not matter with spray paint. But it would have been better. Lesson learned. Also, I originally took off a little doohickey from the spray paint can that I realised afterwards wasn't supposed to come off, and the first coat was drippy and uneven. In the end, I needed three cans to cover two tables.

It was very easy, though. I simply put the tables on a drop cloth outside and followed the instructions on the spray paint can. Don't remove any doohickeys from the can unless instructed to do so.

Spray painted side tables by Cicely Ingleside
The truck was helping to weigh down the drop-sheet since it was windy!

The blue colour went on more evenly than the pink. Even after three coats, the pink is not totally fully-covered, or matte.

For better results, sand beforehand!  I have instructions for simple sanding in this post. Even adding a coat of primer wouldn't be a bad idea either, I suspect. 

Here they are now in the living room. Once again, a definite improvement on what they looked like before!

Spray painted side tables by Cicely Ingleside

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Silk Velvet: 1920's Style

Silk Velvet Dress by Cicely Ingleside

The last time I wore velvet was my Grade 12 Grad (that’s Canadian for “Senior Prom”). It was the 90's. Picture a fitted black velvet bodice, with a voluminous taffeta skirt in dark purple. A big purple taffeta bow on the back and taffeta shoulder straps.

I haven’t been very interested in velvet since then, especially the un-breathable polyester velvet that is so often used for girls’ fancy dresses.  But then last spring I was watching Season 3 of Downton Abbey, which is set in the 1920's. And the characters were wearing these really gorgeous velvet dresses. Around the same time, I came across this pattern on the BurdaStyle website, and loved the rich look of the velvet.

I ordered myself some real silk velvet and silk chiffon from the Etsy store Silk Fabric.  It is really lovely fabric – the velvet is silky, soft, rich coloured and lightweight – and the silk chiffon really is iridescent.

Silk Velvet Dress by Cicely Ingleside

But I was too scared to make the dress!  Then I saw that one of the themes for ProjectSewn this fall is “Fashion Eras”, and I decided to use it as motivation to sew it up as my ‘20s era fashion.  Besides the fact that I sewed the zipper on wrong three times and had to unpick the shoulder straps more than once, it wasn’t actually that bad to sew the velvet. I used my new walking foot, and boy was that a worthwhile $40 purchase.

Silk Velvet Dress by Cicely Ingleside
I have to say, though, HOW BAD this pattern was when I originally downloaded it. The formatting was crazy, and, for example, it didn’t even indicate that a zipper was needed or how long, but in the last step made reference to sewing one in. I was so frustrated I emailed Burda with a million questions. 
They do have good customer service, because in about a week they emailed me back. They apologized and said that their older patterns are not formatted properly on the website, so they sent me the pattern formatted nicely and legibly. Although this was WAY better, it was still frustrating because the only picture on the pattern was the cutting layout, which I don’t normally use anyway, and so there was a fair bit of guesswork as to how the pieces were supposed to fit together. Also there are no seam allowances. (Seriously, why????? There is this thing called computers which I’m sure could easily add them for the Burda pattern designers.)

BUT, it all came together in the end. I didn’t have enough silk chiffon for the bottom pleated part, so I cut apart an old thrift-store skirt I had and sewed it on. Fortunately that worked well. I wonder if should put the sequins all over the front of the bodice like the pattern picture has?  

Silk Velvet Dress by Cicely Ingleside
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