Check out my Finished Items on the second page

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Okay - back to my life! Upholstering my chair!

So..... my upholstery course had a little hiatus, due to circumstances beyond my control! But as my chair is only half finished, and knowing that this course is something mummy would wholeheartedly approve of, i booked another term!

At the end of the last upholstery post I believe I had re-foamed the arms as i wanted them with a little more padding than they had. I could feel the wood of the arms if i leant on them, and as i knit in chairs, i decided to take the opportunity to add a little "give".

Then cutting out a rectangle to fit over the arm from down inside the seat up and over and down around and under the outside. It doesn't make sense writing it like that really, but this first photo shows the outside under the arm - that's hard work stapling in there!

 This second photo shows the inside - the fabric is tucked down alongside the seat and stapled under the seat wherever i could.
 The next job was pleating the front. not as easy job - and i needed to remember that i would need to match the second side so the pleats had to be even and a sensible number! - I tried to do it with temporary tacks but they wouldn't hold the pleats so in the end i stapled each pleat as i went

 And then tried to match the second side. its not perfect, but then if i'd wanted a perfect job i'd have paid someone to do it! I want this to be my accomplishment - and it seems even more important just now.
 So this is the end of week 7.

In my last week of last term, i made some piping and put it round the back and down the wings. I cut my velvet on the bias (didn't need to be a full 45deg but a definite slant!)  then wrap it round piping cord and sew it down nice and tight to the cord using a piping foot. It's then attached to the chair with staples as symmetrically as possible (I laughed a little at that!)

 And I stapled a bit of poly wadding on to pad out the wings a little and give a little plumpness under the fabric!

So, today i went back, and had pretty much completely forgotten how to do anything! I had already cut the two wing pieces out so checking my nap comes down the chair, i used a cardboard tape at the top and staples to secure the wing fabric under the piping as tightly as possible. Stopping just before the curved end.


With a little poly wadding to give something to pull down over!

Then pulling that down tight and making a few anchor points a the bottom and back with temp tacks

i started to fold the last side inside the piping and pin it in:

Lots of slits on the inside hem to allow the fabric to curve, and lots of pulling it down and out! (there's a lot of that in upholstery!)

And finally sewing it in, using ladder stitch (which I call mattress stitch)  and a curved needle (still pricked myself plenty!)

No photo at the end of the day - cos I'm a ditz! but basically the two sides are very nearly complete. Just need to staple them down at the back and bottom.

In other news, my little lady, Spot went to sleep for the last time at the end of October last year. It was just the week before Mum passed away - maybe she was going to help Mum over the bridge - she always did look after her.  There's not much more to say. My best friend, my girl and I miss her.  There are two new kids on the block though! - More about them another time.

T'il soon ❤️

Tuesday, December 06, 2016

Mummy 1942 - 2016

There are no words that I can say
To make our sadness go away
But memories do ebb and flow
To remind us that our love still grows

You taught us how to see the sun,
The colours, the smells, the rivers run
You stopped us often and said “just look”
And mental images we stood and took

We had fairy paths, and frosty walks
We had golden sunsets, and nonsense talks
We sang along to favourite songs
And if we felt it, we danced along

We had our times of heat and stress
But quick to blow and soon to rest
You taught us strength and independence of mind
How to be generous, and fair, and kind.

We got off light around the home
But somehow, still know, how things should be done.
We’re both good cooks, it’s fair to say.
(But I think my dusting skills went astray)

Our holidays were filled with (I want to say food)
Lifelong memories of times that were good
France and Spain in the long summer months
Bacardi & Coke and a sleep in the sun

In winter time, we skied in the snow
You weren’t so good, if you needed to slow!!
Chair lifts and strudels and big furry hats
Pastas, hot chocolates (with a brandy in that!)

Oz, New Orleans, Mauritius and more
Every continent you stepped on, the things that you saw.
There wasn’t a place where you didn’t make friends
Your smile, your charm, your joie de vivre knows no ends.

We watched you and Dad dance nights away
A Jive, a smooch, eye to eye did you play.
The music was always the beats of your hearts
The love that you danced with, set you apart.

 I cannot fail to mention these last four years
Your strength, your grace, and a few tears.
You taught me more about myself than I could ever know
That I was stronger and braver too, (and I even learnt to sew!)

 Although this is farewell for now, I will see you every day
When I look into a mirror, you’ll look back at me some way
When I see my sister smile at me, your smile I will see too
And my nephew’s laughter will echo, with the things we used to do.

Joyce Margaret Young (née Lowman) 1945 - 2016

Joyce Margaret Young 16.4.1945 - 14.11.2016

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Upholstery week 5

I'm just about to head off to week 6, but here is quick run down of week 5.

Firstly all the curved bits were snipped so the fabric sits nicely. These areas will be covered with the outside upholstery but i still needed to be careful to snip enough to make it smooth, but not so far that the snips will show when the outside fabric is put on.

Then I decided to put an extra layer of new 2cm foam on the arms and stapled it down well, and covered it with wadding. The foam is to give it better "squish" (technical term!) as the old stuff was a bit mean! and i can feel the wood of the arms through it. Given that i will mostly knit or crochet in this chair, it needs good arms. The wadding is to smooth over the lumps and where the staples are so you can't feel any bumps.
This week i will hopefully be putting fabric on the arms.

Hopefully back with more photos later
T'il soon ❤️

Monday, October 10, 2016

Upholstery Course - Weeks 3 & 4

Well the wings took me two weeks. Those pesky pleats!

I covered the foam with poly-wadding (like what you put in quilts really) to even out any lumps and just give it an extra bit of squish.  Then cut  2 x rectangles. Covering the measurements of the length of the wing and the width of the widest part right through the back to the frame.

Once I'd got the fabric square on the wings i then temporarily tacked the bottoms to hold it in place then started working on the pleats above.  Of course the first one went quite well, and then the second, which needs to match the first in direction and number and approximate size - didn't go so well at all.  Which is why the wings took me two weeks! I got there though. 5 pleats facing down - pretty much pointing to a central point (if they had all been longer they should meet at a dot - mine was a big dot but it was a dot!)    In the end I stapled the pleats because the tacks weren't holding them very sturdily and that was making it harder. The velvet i am using is a bit thick and the tacks slip if i don't get them in far enough - through all those pleats i'd have needed a sledgehammer for the job!

So eventually, with a lot of gentle persuasion I got the wings looking smarter and then cut a notch in the bottom of the back to be able to straighten and tighten that.  It's all beginning to look a little smarter.

It's still only tacked in the main so there will be improvements as I staple it later in the course.  This week (week 5 already?!) I will be adding extra foam to the arms and hopefully starting to cover those.

T'il soon ❤️

Monday, September 26, 2016

Upholstery Course Week 1 and 2

As i enter my third week of my course - i realise that if I don't blog my progress now it's going to take too long to catch up!  This is as much for my own memory - i feel that 10 weeks is going to come and go so quickly and i wonder if at the end of it i will have any memory of what I did along the way.


I have an armchair, a very comfortable armchair. But, I bought it second hand and i think the previous owner had a cat that also thought the armchair was comfortable. It badly needed re-upholstering.

Other pets have apparently liked the chair too (M&D's dog Bonnie in 2013)

So in searching for a local upholsterer, i found Sarah, who offers a 10 week course whereby you take any piece of furniture you choose and she teaches you to upholster it. Score!

So in our first week we are encouraged to take photos of the Before item:

During my first week I had to make her nude!  I've never seen so many staples and my hands hurt for two days after. I decided to take her home for homework as I didn't finish in the class and didn't want to spend another week doing it when I could be learning the next stage. So........ at the beginning of week 2 she looked like this:

She is quite a modern piece really and quite possible every part of her had been upholstered separately and then bolted together as a finished item. Consequently getting in to some of the nooks and crannies was not easy. But scissors, staple and tack removers and a strong set of carpenters pliers meant that i didn't do too bad a job in the end.

So, in the second week I padded the back foam with a little extra poly-wadding and attached my first piece of furnishing fabric (I was very excited because everyone else in the class has much older and more traditionally upholstered pieces, so they are all busy with hessian,  coconut and cotton wadding, and calico. - I could re-use my old foam in place of the older methods of cushioning  and immediately attach my fabric.  So a quick measure of the back - then a longer measure as i realised I had it wrong *rolls eyes at self*, cut a rectangle and poke it through the bottom and over the top and through the sides. Sarah made it sound so easy - oh no it wasn't.  The middle of the rectangle had been notched so we didn't end up on the squiff, but even so it was tricky to get it straight, and the previous method of manufacture meant that there are big gaps where it's a bit of a surprise, and no gap where one would be useful.  Still, in the end I got there and the back is temporary tacked in to place:

This week- week 3. I will be wadding out the wings and hopefully upholstering them too.

T'il soon ❤️