Tag Archives: Sewing

It’s been a while…

They say that absence makes the heart grow fonder. Well I think the past 8-9 months have definitely proved this to be the case.

Back in April when Chris and I moved into our dream ‘fixer upper’ home, I fanatically wondered over the many projects that we would undertake to build what would be our perfect house…both inside and out. Lists upon lists were written of what we needed to finish each and every room, magazines were thoroughly leafed through and pages torn out for creative reference, conversations over the differences of 50 shades of light grey were had and also what seemed like personal financial investment was given in places like B&Q, Wickes, Farrow&Ball and the local reclaimed Wood Store. However, it was what we always wanted. A project, something we could mould to reflect who were are and something we would fall completely in love with.

So, here we are 9 months down the line and I can safely say that we are on our way to achieving just that. With the main rooms of the house done (apart from the bathroom…we are still deciding between the wet room option or the traditional bath/shower combo…oh how our lives have changed), I am finding myself missing my smaller, more personal creative projects. Decorating a house is a challenging project in so many ways, that I have found myself craving my sketch book, staple gun and sewing machine.

I decided a step change was needed, therefore I took to our basic wooden chest with an idea to give it a bit of a make over. 

Wooden Chest

Inspired by a recent trip to a Flea Market in New York, I wanted to see if I could give this tired looking piece of furniture a trans-Atlantic makeover. The overall look for the chest was to be a more worn out, shabby chic look with a bit of an urban twist.

I firstly painted the wooden panels of the box with my trusty Annie Sloane chalk paint in three different colours – Grey, Off White and an Olive Green shade. After which I decided to add a numerical detail to the front of the chest using a stencil I made myself (the numbers turned out to be a bit wonky, which I kind of liked).

annie sloan paint

painting panels

sanding chest

painting numbers

After the paint was dry, I cut some upholsterers foam to size to fit on the top of the chest and softened it around the edges with some wadding. This was then covered with additional wadding and a large piece of cotton to ensure a comfy finish for the seat. I managed to buy some old sacks from the Saturday Market in Brighton and used these as my upholstery fabric layering an additional printed sack over the top as a design feature.

with seat foam

seating covered

I then used some thicker thread to hand sew the patterned sack into place and stapled all layers to the reverse of the chest lid, finishing by covering the messy edges with a neatly cut and sewn square of sacking.

finished product

The chest itself has already found pride of place in our study/creative space where I hope to use it as a perch to sit a doodle away in my sketch book, dreaming of more creative projects to undertake.

Simply Bunting

Last time I made bunting was for a very specific occasion…a summer of Britishness, and what a summer it was! I think I am still dreaming of mobots and Jubilee street parties. But now that 2012 has left us and we have 2013 to look forward to, I thought I would take a bit of inspiration from one of our (be it wetter) Summer holidays and some really simple yet gorgeous bunting.

It’s really easy to do and looks great as an easy decoration in the house and not just for special occasions.

Firstly you need your cardboard template. I wanted my bunting to be a bit smaller than last time so I measured it out at 10cm across the top and 13.5cm from top to bottom.

template

As before in my Very British Bunting blog post, I used a cardboard template to trace around. I picked a heavy canvas in Navy and in White to create a bit more of a nautical feel. Well, we do live by the beach. Anyway, after tracing around the templates on the white and then the navy canvas 6 times each I cut the pieces out.

triangle template on fabric

 

cut out fabric template

After all of the templates were cut out I used my herringbone tape and folded it over the top part of the bunting. The great thing about this bunting is that it is really easy to do in that you don’t have to sew two triangles together each time. It’s simplicity creates a great raw feeling that I love – it doesn’t matter if a few strands of the canvas comes loose around the edges, that just adds to the whole look.

fabric tape

Use your sewing machine to stitch along the tape making sure your canvas triangles are correctly inserted into the tape.

sewing of bunting

Instead of leaving a gap between triangles this time, I decided to sew them side by side in order to create a more compact look. I actually put my new bunting up this morning and it’s already made me feel like spring is on it’s way.

Thrift Shop Shirt Makeover

Quite frankly I can’t keep up with the weather. I have lost count the amount of times I have had to switch between a jumper to a dress, from boots to espadrilles, from cut off denim shorts to a coat (you get the picture). Don’t get me wrong I never say no to a glorious bit of sunshine, it’s just I find it a little exhausting planning the daily wardrobe when you have to factor in such a changeable climate.

With that said, I found myself with a slight clothing quandary on Saturday morning when I was woken by the searing sunshine piercing the blinds in our bedroom. Filled with the joys of summer, I rummaged through my wardrobe looking for the perfect summer outfit. I was off out for lunch with friends and wanted to make an effort. However, and as I can imagine all the ladies out there can relate to, I couldn’t find anything that I wanted to wear. Through all the clothes I had, nothing quite matched what I was thinking.

That was until I found a mens shirt that I had bought at a local charity shop, which I had planned to make into a sleeveless tie front top. Perfect I thought, this is exactly what I need.

So, here is how I made a lovely summer top out of an old mens shirt.

1. I had to firstly cut the sleeves off the shirt. I measured out exactly where I wanted the new sleeve seam to sit by trying the shirt on and marking out with quilting tape on one sleeve. After taking the shirt off I matched the exact same measurments on the other sleeve. I then used my fabric scissors to cut a clean curve and sew a new seam on both armholes.

2. I then repeated this with the hem. I measured out with quilting tape where I wanted the back hem to sit and followed this line through to the front of the shirt. I then used the tape to create a slight ‘S’ shape that curved towards the bottom of the button placket to create the ties. Again, I cut away the excess fabric and used the sewing machine to sew a new hem.

3. I then decided to ‘pretty up’ the shirt by cutting the existing buttons from the shirt and replacing them with new ones.

4. A quick press with iron, some denim cut-off shorts, a necklace and some red lipstick and I was ready for lunch with my friends.

So there we go, get your hands on your husband’s, boyfriend’s, dad’s or brother’s shirt (or you can also search your local charity shops) and get cutting. They really do make gorgeous summer top’s that keep you cool in the sun.

A New Throne for a New Home – Part 2

Tah dah, we finally did it. Now I know that this sounds like a fairly small triumph in the year we have Olympians breaking all manner of records, but nonetheless, it is with great pleasure we’d like to reveal our latest DIY achievement. Our lovely new chair.

Yes, I know what you’re thinking, but you’ve upholstered a chair before. Nothing new here. Yes, that’s technically true, but around this time last year we would have never thought this possible. You see our blog URL is just nine months old this June. It was this time last summer when we stumbled upon the idea of ReMadeIt, and look how far we’ve come. So without further delay I’ll stop gloating and let you know how we did it.

In our last update we spoke about how we had three main things to cover. First up, the right arm was in pretty bad shape with a large crack down the middle. After some careful inspection, it turned out just a little bit of wood glue and some clamping was all we needed. A collective ‘phew’ and we’re on our way to tackling the next thing – a large hole where the cushion straps used to be.

To be honest, I thought ‘d have this done in a flash. I mean, how hard can strapping upholstery webbing to the chair be, right? Well how wrong I was. It turned out that you needed the hands of a five year old to get in between the frame to staple it down. After much cursing and two tea breaks to de-stress it finally came together. Thankfully all I then had to do was paint the chair. The upholstery is Anna’s bag.

 

To re-upholster the chair we adopted the same method used in our previous story – a lovely chair for two. This involves carefully laying out the old fabric pieces and using them as a template for the new fabric. A top tip is to not undercut, you’ll need to do a fair amount of stretching. Better to have too much which you can just trim off afterwards.

We seemed to be sailing through this until the discovery of a very sad looking cushion. It’d clearly had some mileage and perhaps a rather large previous owner. No problem for Anna, who managed to carve a new one with nothing but a square of foam and a very sharp bread knife. Yes a bread knife, in fact my new bread knife which has now been renamed the cushion knife.

 

Finally to finish we have discovered something brilliant, decorative nail strips. Now I know this does not sound that exciting, but with just a few taps of the hammer we were done. Who needs a fiddly trim eh! Anyway, we finished just in time for the new house move and our new throne sits proudly in our new home.