Something for the garden

With the weather warming up, we have been looking for some garden furniture ever since the most severe lockdown restrictions began to lift in September, but almost all of reasonably priced wooden furniture has sold out and no-one knows when more will be delivered. Living at the bottom of the world has its advantages but access to products and materials while shipping containers are in disarray all over the planet due to the pandemic is not one of them. Most imported items, from cars to sofas, have been subject shipping delays of a year or more.

We ended up settling for a garden lounge set that isn’t as comfortable as some of the display sets we looked at, the seats are a little too long in the base but that is easily fixed with some additional cushions. I spent this weekend making a set of cushions and some matching fabric coasters / “wrist-warmers” for the the chairs.

Cushion covers are very easy to make and a great beginner’s sewing project so I thought I would share my method with you. I hope this isn’t too patronising for the more experienced sewers among you.

  • I started by cutting 2 squares of fabric, the same size as the cushion inserts, plus a 1cm ./ 0.5″ seam allowance on all 4 sides. A 60 cm sqare cushion needs 2 pieces of fabric measuring 62 x 62 cm.
  • Placing right sides of fabric together I stitched along what will become the bottom edge of the cushion cover, leaving a 1 cm seam. If the pattern on your fabric has a right way up, making sure this seam is on the bottom will ensure your zip is out of sight on the finished cushion.
  • Press the seam open with front of the cushion facing towards the table (I was lazy and pressed it open with my fingers rather than getting the iron out, as you can probably tell from the crumpled state of my fabric! 🙂 ):
  • Lay the zip, right side down, so the teeth line up with the line of stitching. Pin into place and using a zipper foot, sew down both sides of the zipper tape. Tip – the zip does not need to be the full width of the cushion, I think the zipper looks more professional if it stops an inch or two before the edge of the cushion. You can cut the nylon zips to make them shorter if you have one the right colour but it is too long.

Sew across the bottom of the zip so the zipper will not be able to run as far as the metal staple.

Using a seam ripper, remove the stitching holding the two sides of fabric together, stopping approximately 2 inches before each end (and before the line of stitching you placed across the zip).

Open the zip enough that you can easily pass your hand through the hole.

Fold the 2 squares of fabric so the right sides are together again, pin into place and stitch around the 3 reamining sides, leaving a 1 cm seam allowance from the edge.

Open the zip the whole way and turn the cover the right way out, I like to use a chopstick or pencil to push the corners out so they are nice and square.

Insert your cushion and close the zip! et voila!

I also made some fabric, wrap-around coasters to protect the arms of the new furniture from the condensation cold drinks often shed in our warm, humid climate. I started by making a sheet of felt and cutting it into four rectangles.

Then, using the chairs as a guide, I cut out a rectangle from each end so they would wrap around the arm either side of the upright piece of wood.

I cut a slightly larger rectangle of fabric and trimmed it so it was about a cm wider than the felt shape (see the piece on the left) before using fabric glue to fold over the edge of the fabric and tack into place on the felt.

Once the glue had dried, I stitched around the edge of each shape before attaching a piece of velcro to 2 tabs on each coaster and wrapping around the arm of the chair.

I am looking forward to spending the rest of the summer sitting in our “granny and grandpa” chairs on the veranda now 🙂 Fingers crossed the chickens don’t roost on the chairs and poop all over my new cushions….

Christmas is Upon Us

Apologies to all the “Bar-humbug-ers” trying to take the ostrich in the sand approach until Dec 24th, but Christmas is officially just around the corner… It must be!…The supermarkets are stocked to the rafters with Christmas treats, I have been discussing the logistics of making Christmas stockings with the same group of children who made the autumnal pictures and I attended my first Christmas fair this weekend.

I have 3 more fairs before the end of November and keep running out of stock (granted this is a much better problem to have than having stock that refuses to sell!)

This was my corner of the West Surrey Guild of Spinners Weavers and Dyer’s table at the Christmas Fair, it was a fun day out with Elaine and Heather, who you can see in the photo, and I sold the beret and snail hat you can see on the top shelf. The snail hat went to a young lady who I think will actually wear it around town, not just to music festivals which is brilliant, I am so happy he found someone to love him 🙂

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The bathrooms at this site were less than wonderful portacabins, but when I happened to look up I saw this and thought it rather pretty, it reminds me of eco-dyeing:

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Today was spent furiously making scarves and another hat to replace some of the sold stock so I don’t have to turn up to the next few fairs empty-handed. This will be a beret and the scarves I made are busy cooking in the dye pot.

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A few weeks ago I saw an advert for a short millinery course at my local college and on a bit of whim signed up for it, I’m not sure the cut and sew techniques we have been using so far will replace the more contemporary felt-making techniques I normally use but it is interesting to see how some styles are constructed and of course the engineer in me is already trying to work out how to make similar shapes in seamless felt…. 🙂

This is the first hat from that course, I would call this an “Andy Capp cap” after the well known British cartoon but this probably doesn’t translate very well across the Pond, what would you call this style of hat?

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From above

Are you ready for Christmas?

Machine Embroidery

The past couple of weeks I have have been fighting an infection and been feeling pretty grotty. All my great plans for felting over the long Easter weekend went completely out the window. After 2 days of napping and watching telly I was bored and needed something to do but didn’t think I could stand up for the lengthy periods that felting requires.

I came across this stunning photo of “Aisa” by Ebru Sidar on Deviant Art several months ago and thought it was so beautiful I saved the link.

This was my inspiration for some machine embroidery.

Here it is after the initial outline sketch:

And the finished and framed piece, it was really tricky trying to get a good photo without reflections in the glass.

A close-up of the stitching

Linking up to nina-marieoff the wall Friday