Friday, October 19, 2012


I made this awhile ago and forgot that I hadn't posted about it. 

I just wish I could have hand delivered it - would love to see that little girl!

Monday, October 15, 2012


I have heard, that if you wash them in bleach water they last longer. So mine all got a bath.

I love Fall, and I love Punkins!

Try saying it my way, it will make you smile and people will look at you funny :)

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Sofa Restoration Part 3

This will hopefully finish up the details of the sofa project. I would like to say that I've been enjoying my sofa in my living room for about a week or so and I love it!

Here is the layer of horsehair, pretty odd right? The burlap around the edge is called edge roll, I think. It   helps to shape the edges and make them solid. Thank goodness I didn't have to remake this, I have no idea how it was done!
I loosely stapled this layer on around the edges, just to hold it till the next layer was put on.

The cotten layer, again just stapled it on enough to hold.

And the dacron! The dacron is in a sheet which gives it a nice, smooth, uniform look.

In these pictures I'm trying to arrange the back fabric. (Even though the original sofa had side seams on the back, I thought I could use one, solid piece of fabric. Boy, was I wrong!!)
The inside corner was at such an angle that there was no way I could stretch the fabric smooth.
My husband told me it wouldn't work, but I'm stubborn and had to find out the hard way!

I had to remove it, remeasure and sew these seams a few times to get it right, and even so, it was very challenging to get these inside corners smooth.
I'm sure it was luck that they turned out so well, I'm learning that sewing isn't my strong point!

This was my "Hallelujah" moment!

I guess I didn't get pictures of putting on the layers of the outside back. Here's what I did: Stretched and stapled scrap fabric tightly to the back. Then stapled the layer of dacron on top of that. I then just wrapped my layer of fabric and pinned it on. I worked from the middle stapling closely to keep it smooth. And then I trimmed it.

This was the easiest part of the whole project!!

 This is me trying to sew on my Mother's commercial machine. It was quite scary - like learning to drive stick-shift. The presser foot was extremely sensitive and I nearly sewed my fingers to the cord several times! It eats up the fabric!!
By the way, check out the child carvings on the base of the machine! I think we all carved our initials but, my little brother Stephen?!! what's up with the swastika? I mean really!!

But what was great about it was that the underside of the foot has these two grooves that the cord stays in, making a much more uniform double cord.

I hot-glued the cord to the sofa.
This fabric raveled rather badly so I had to spend a lot of time trimming threads at the end.

I also went to my Mother's for help with the cushion. It was down, which I loved but it would go flat fast and get uncomfortable when we sat on it. We used 2" foam, (which she happened to have - love that!) and I put it in the new form that I made. (same size as the old) The form fabric is actually drapery lining, I got it at my Local fabric store.

We put the foam in and then loaded the old down in around it. This is probably not the correct way but it did turn out great!

It made a huge mess, though.

It's snowing in September!!

My Mother suggested putting a zipper in the down form and I'm glad we did - the down has settled a lot and I may have to add more.

This is my Mother sewing the cushion. I love this picture because it reminds me of all those years that she and my dad spent trying to make a living, sacrificing to provide for us.

She has spent so many long hours turning out furniture. For me it's just a project, but she would upholster a chair in a day, a couch maybe in a couple days. Just trying to pay the bills and put food on the table. 
 This project brought back so many childhood memories, the sound of the staple gun, the sound of the machine, how we would run out to the shop barefoot and rarely get tacks in our feet. I still don't know why :)

The last step was to put cambric on the bottom. This looks and feels very much like interfacing.

It isn't woven so if you stretch it too hard it will tear. But otherwise, it was easy to put it on.

And... finally done! What a relief!

I want to thank my husband for helping me through every step of this project! 
He let me use his awesome shop space, bought me a staple gun, completely disassembled the frame, glued and re-assembled it, helped me haul the sofa around, and most of all, he was supportive and impressed with what I had done. (which meant so much)

And my Mother, she gave of her time and ability so readily. She's the kind of mother that would do anything for her children, I hope to learn from her example with my own children. I am blessed!!

The fabric came from UFAB, a local store that is, I think, quite wonderful. Their prices are much lower than many others and the staff is very helpful. If you are local, I would definitely recommend!

Thanks, you all for all your kind, encouraging comments!! It meant so much! I hope this can be helpful for anyone trying to sum up the courage for a project of their own!

I'm sure you are ready, as I am, to see something else other than a sofa on this blog!

Bye now,


Friday, October 12, 2012


I think I'm ready for a low-key, relaxing weekend. All the busyness has been good but it's time to cozy up with some pillows and a blanket and do nothing. (We'll see how that goes..)

This little girl is very good at it.
Must take notes!

I'll be back soon, hopefully to finish up the sofa tutorial before moving on to the next project.

I'm excited to volunteer in my Son's kindergarten class for the first time today. And a little nervous - what will I have to do to keep those little people happy?!

Missing my little nephews - hope I can visit next week!

You all have a blessed, lovely weekend!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Sofa Restoration Part 2

Warning: this is a very long, picture heavy post!! I am including most of these pictures in case there is someone out there who is doing a project like this who could find this helpful. I know that I searched and looked at as many tutorials as I could find! So, please know that I won't be offended if you tire of this before getting to the end. :)

 I left you last time with springs showing and everything stripped down to the frame.

It was my first time using Annie Sloan Chalk Paint and I have to say, I love it!
Because it is so easy to sand, in fact, I got a little carried away with the sanding!

My daughter had fun helping.

These pictures show it before the wax.

And after the wax.

I did go over it with more clear wax because it felt too brown. Rachel from Vanhook &Co. suggested mixing the clear and dark waxes to lighten it up. Great idea, I'll try that next time.

Now I realize there are some photo gaps, there should be a picture of the webbing going on the back of the sofa, and of the material that I stretched over the springs. 

I made a lattice of webbing on the back using a webbing stretcher to get it tight. Then I stapled ugly scrap fabric over that to make a solid base for the back padding. You can look at the first post to see how it was when I took it apart. I basically just reversed the steps.

Then I stretched some more scrap fabric over the springs. (great way to use up that ugly old fabric that we all have) 

Below you can see the cotten batting in place. I was very fortunate to be able to reuse this. It was in good shape and already kind of molded to the right shape. 
 I took an old sheet and using the old fabric for a pattern, sewed a seam in the front so that I would have an edge to hand sew down.
Here i am sewing with a curved needle which, by the way is very helpful.
I'm just sewing a large whip stitch using a heavy thread. I sewed it to the fabric that was covering the springs. (Hope this is still making sense!)

 This took quite a while for me, but it became fun, you just have to connect with your inner "Tailor".

 Next, I stapled the fabric tightly in the back.

By the way, remember that with upholstery, tight is the key. I pulled fabric so hard that my hands would ache afterward. Maybe that's why my Mother always said it was such physically hard work.

I do think next time I would use something more sturdy than a sheet for this step. The staples ripped through the fabric a few times.

 After I did the back, I pulled down the front and stapled it.
This was a cool, misty, early fall morning and I just rolled it out of the shop to work :)

After stapling, I trimmed the edge.
If I hadn't had to take the couch down to the frame, I may have left the old seat fabric on and just sewn the new fabric to that. It depends on if the old fabric and padding are in good condition and it won't show through the fabric, etc.

Ah, here are the pictures showing the webbing on the inside back.
and they also show the sheet fabric stapled down along the back of the seat.

next, I used the old seat fabric for a pattern and made my first cut in to the fabric!
Make sure that you cut something like this at least a few inches bigger than the old pattern, you may need it!

Here I am sewing tape along the edge where I will have to sew it down.

It's pretty much a repeat of the last step, get out that curved needle and start sewing!

I listened to a lot of upbeat music during this project, and raided my husband's shop refrigerator for sodas and his frappuchinos :) He spoils me!!

You do want to measure so that you have a straight line, I think I pinned down the edges on either side to make it tight while I sewed.

Then I pushed the fabric to the back, notching out to fit around the wood frame pieces.

Pulled it very tight and stapled along the back.
(This is the back view.)

Rookie mistake: I somehow cut the corners too close, I had to take out some padding and pull it very, very tight to make it reach, very scary!!

I stapled the front down trying to keep it as smooth as possible.

 And here it is! 
Next up:

Upholstering the inside back!