Sunday, February 15, 2015

40 Years of Saturday Night Live.....What???

That first year...those first 5 years were awesome.  Technology was not yet more important than the creative content. Just look at this tv set complete with chairs seemingly (probably) picked up from the curb.....In 1975 at age 17, I wouldn't have imagined that in 40 years I would have a couple of chairs just like this in storage waiting to be reupholstered by me.

And, I have chairs from other shows too. What are the odds, considering I'm a serial curbside furniture saver....  
I bought a couple of these chairs from two different  consignment booths here in Lafayette. Perfect for the kitchen table I will be sitting at some time in the near future, drinking coffee while watching the birds and squirrels and other wildlife in the front yard. After I bought them, I saw them in the saloon of the old movie "Rio Bravo" with John Wayne, Dean Martin, and Ricky Nelson. "Hey! Those are my chairs!!" They're in storage now, but  will be repainted and fitted with new cushions to sit at the table in my newly remodeled kitchen....someday....
New Year's resolution #6 - Remodel....I'll be posting on the progress of these chairs soon!


Saturday, January 17, 2015

Of Barber Shops and Days Gone By

I had a chance to restore an antique bench that once sat in a barber shop. Do men still go to barber shops? It made me remember when my son was little. He has 2 older sisters, so on haircutting days I would take him with us to the salon. One by one we would get our hair "done" while the rest waited on the purple and pink sofa reading the women's magazines and breathing in the aroma of nail laquer and perm chemicals. 

Billy was so cute. The beautician (beautician! wow, that term dates me, huh?) made a fuss over him. She got him to say the cutest things. At the time "The Lion King" was playing in the theaters, she asked him what his favorite song in the movie was.  "weem a wap a weem a wap" was what he sang (In the Jungle, right?).

When he got a little bit older, and it seemed like he needed a hair cut every other week, his dad started taking him to a barber. Not only was the air less toxic, but the visits were short, and much cheaper. I'm sure, also that the waiting benches were much like this one:

Black vinyl, iron frame, utilitarian. Not fussy or pink or purple.
The arm caps on this are molded plastic.
This face! My darling! Can't you just hear him singing along with Timon and Pumbaa?


Sunday, January 11, 2015

Buyer Beware

They don't make it like they used to! Newer furniture looks good, but, boy, you really have to do some research before you can be sure the piece is worth the money. Sometimes the small details can make a huge difference in customer satisfaction.

I was called on to fix two sectionals recently purchased for a sorority "bum room" (rec room). They are fun colors, comfortable, they fit the space, 

 but the cushions kept slipping forward. The back cushions are attached to the frame, so it wasn't easy to shove the seats back under them.

2 sectionals with 5 seats each, that's 10 cushions to wrestle with!
They asked the furniture manufacturer (who, by the way, caters to commercial clients, and they aren't cheap!) if they would fix it. Their solution was to send an envelope of random hardware with no instructions, and expect the house mother to install it herself...
Trust me, this is a job for a professional.
(Shame on you, sectional maker!)

Here's what I did. First I took the back feet off each piece, then each dust cover,

Then the backs had to come off so that I could staple down the elastic straps with clips that would clip on to the cushions.

The cushion covers had to be removed so straps with D-rings could be sewn into each side of the band.
And this is how it all came together.
On the end:
And in the middle:
Once it was all put back together, you'd never know I had it all torn apart.
The clips and straps are holding everything in place now. No more sloppy cushions.
Selfie of the day captured in the mirror across the room :)

A good upholstery shop can provide the great customer service that the brand new furniture stores won't.


Friday, May 9, 2014

Pretty Brushed Cotton Slipcovers

This recent slipcover design was inspired by a photo found on the internet.
My customer knew she wanted the back to close with ties, and a ruffled skirt.
 She wanted a loose fit for a "cottage" look.
 There are two of these comfy club chairs and the ottoman. The photos don't do justice to the soft, almost chenille feel to the fabric and the beautiful Robin's egg blue color! 


Friday, May 11, 2012

I Love My Job

How about some old school garage band punk for a Friday workday in the shop? I watched VH1 It Might Get Loud last night and looked up this old Jack White (The White Stripes) recording from when he was a teenager apprenticing at an upholstery shop in Detroit. I had read an article about this early colaboration, but didn't know they recorded an album. They worked all day, then swept up a place large enough to make some music.

I play lots of music while I work. Well, not personally, but it plays on the stereo computer. 

The White Stripes are a favorite from when I had to borrow all my son Billy's cds to play before internet radio or spotify. 
Funny story about Billy and The White Stripes...My mom got me a guitar for my 46th birthday. I struggled to learn a few chords and practiced until I could haltingly strum through one song. I sucked. Billy picked up the guitar one day and mastered it in hour. (I gave him the guitar.) The first thing he played for me made me think he was a little slow in the head though. Duh da duh duh da duhhhhh duhhhh....
Then I heard this on the radio and had to laugh. He'd figured out the first seven notes of this song:

This post is dedicated to all of my creative upholsterer cohorts everywhere!

Oh, and go kiss your mother.
Happy Mother's Day!


Friday, May 4, 2012

Welt Cord Tutorial

It's that time of year to update outdoor cushions, change out the sofa pillows, and put on the spring slipcovers! 

When sewing a pillow or cushion with covered welt cord (piping), you can join the ends by simply lapping one side over the other and sewing down, or you can actually sew the ends together for a nice professional finish.

It takes a bit of practice, but once you get the hang of it, it's easy. Refer to this post to see how I cut the welt cover in strips and join them.
(for single welt, I cut the strips 1 1/2")

Have you tried this method? How do you sew welted pillow covers? Would love to hear from you!

Have an awesome weekend!


Saturday, April 7, 2012


Purple as a home decor color.....risky?
Purple could come off as an Easter pastel.

While working on this beautiful camelback sofa in Michael Jon Designs Prima Velvet (gumdrop), everyone who came into my shop commented. "Oh! Look at that beautiful purple couch!"
This picture doesn't show the richness of the color and sheen - but I wondered how many of them would actually be able to pull off the look.

But when I saw how my customer had accessorized...whoa! THIS is how you do purple!

Happy Easter!


Saturday, March 10, 2012

Antique Indoor/Outdoor Chairs and Double Welt Tutorial

Remember that old eastlake style chair I was going to start on? It's been painted (love it!!), but put that aside while we worked on 2 others. I'll post pics of that when it's done. We got these chairs sprung up and upholstered. All the padding and fabric is appropriate for use in a protected outdoor area, or a powder room.

What we started with

And now!

 I'm going to show you how to make the double welt that is used to trim out the edges

How to sew double welt on a walking foot machine

My industrial machine is a Chandler that I bought last year from Bob at Toledo Industrial Sewing Machines.
It's the second machine I got there - great place. Go there to buy yours!

Ok, start out by cutting your fabric strips on the bias. I cut mine 2".  You'll want enough strips to make the length you need...

Then sew the strips together like this. I don't show it, but trim off that corner to reduce bulk.

I use a double-welt foot. Makes life easy. The 2 channels ride right on top of the cords. This is for 5/32" cord - which is what I use in my shop.

It's a 2 step sewing process. Sew in one cord, then the other. With fabric right side down, place cord on the left.

  Fold the fabric over the cord from left to right, just enough to cover. That cord will be fed in to the left channel of the foot.

(when you come to where you joined the strips, finger press that seam open and continue folding over and sewing)
Next take the welted fabric out of the machine and turn it around so that you can sew in the second cord. 

Notice you start right side down, second cord on the left. Now tuck it in close.

Hold on to both cords and fold over from right to left. You'll be sewing on the right side of the fabric now. Makes a neater double welt and draws the 2 cords together nicely.

Stitch in the ditch...or right over the first stitch.
See how the 2 channels of the welting foot ride on top of the 2 cords?

As you feed it in to the foot, use your left hand to tuck the cord in close, the right hand to fold the fabric snug over that cord.

Then trim off the excess fabric

And you've got yourself double welt trim to attach to your chair!


Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Just a quick post to get started here. I'm starting to really enjoy painted wood.
Especially like on these sweet dining chairs I reupholstered this winter.

I like the light, clean look.
Sometimes it's distressed and worn looking like this set I saw over at Dreamy Whites
Or not so distressed like this one at Kate Forman's

I'm going to try my hand at recreating the painted look of these antique painted chairs
using Miss Mustard Seed's technique which she offers Here and Here.
I happen to have an Eastlake style chair begging for a makeover.
I've also got a crazy notion to put outdoor fabric on it so I can put it on the front porch.
These fabrics from P. Collins, Ltd. are yummy.
I'll let you know how it turns out.
I'll even throw in a tutorial on how I make the double welt trim!


Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Great news! I'm in the process of updating this blog - stay tuned for a fresh new look and lots of new posts!