Thursday, August 8, 2013

restless

I figured out why I'm feeling restless in my sewing lately... I'd don't have my hands in any big projects right now.  Usually I'm planning/sewing for an upcoming class or planning/sewing for a quilt-along or planning for a community event like Scrap Attack.  With the Penny Sampler class I did almost all the sewing in advance, so my work now is to steadily turn notes and photographs into lessons.  So far, so good.  My pace to that end feels really manageable and apparently I have extra energy?  Apparently, I need a new big project?

At the moment I have three ideas.

no.1 - Babies

complete Briar Rose at FabricBubb

Like everyone else I'm smitten with Heather Ross' new Briar Rose.   I'm particularly fond of the strawberries, clovers and nanny bees.  So, what's stuck in my head is to make two Geranium dresses in size 6-12 months, just in case we do get pregnant when we plan to and we happen to have a girl.  (Yes, that's a lot of "maybes".)  And because I'm thinking big after all, I'd like to also make a Geranium dress in Aria's size.  Plus, why not some bibs and burp cloths too?


These are my three favorites.  I think the Nanny Bee for Aria and the others each in a baby dress would be so sweet.

Now I've already considered how I will feel if the baby does not come to be, but I think I'm OK with making stuff without knowing.  I'll be disappointed no matter what if things don't work out, and time spent making things is not likely to be my biggest concern.  Of course I could gift things or donate them to the local pregnancy center.  At least, that's how I rationalize it....

no. 2 - Reupholster

Ok, I'm going to show you a picture of the armchair that I've had on my to do list for ages.  I'm showing it to you as a sort of virtual accountability.  I know I want to reupholster it. I know it really needs it.  I know it's not so hot looking.  Plus it's in a dark corner of my sewing room, which is also our entry.  So people open our door and... voila!  But, feel free to tell me all those things again because I keep getting wimpy about this one and trying to talk myself out of it.


I'm intimidated because I've never reupholstered "real furniture" before.   Plus, I don't know what fabric to use.  I've been waiting for the "right thing" to appear, and since it hasn't I'm starting to wonder if that is a delay tactic.

Field Study linens at Sew Love Fabrics

Questions - Is it unwise to reupholster in quilting cotton?  Do I need to use decorator's weight or what about linen (like Anna Maria's Field Study)?  Would large, irregular patchwork on this chair be too much since my sewing patchwork chair (small squares) is already in this room?  I wish I at least had a fabric chosen.  That would be a start.

no. 3 - Tobacco Leaf Quilt

Last week a friend mentioned a pickle dish quilt, and my mind immediately flew to the Tobacco Leaf quilt in Denyse Schmidt: Modern Quilts, Traditional Inspiration.  I know I will make this eventually.  It's going to be really time consuming... so why not now?

Denyse Schmidt's Tobacco Leaf quilt

At first I thought it might work in yesterday's fabric stack, but upon further reflection I would want to make it in fewer colors so that this twin-sized quilt would be more mature and timeless, easier to translate into different decor styles.

for a Tobacco Leaf quilt?

Kona Ruby & neutrals

I decided this gorgeous Kona Ruby is perfect as the background fabric, and eventually realized I'd love to see the leaves made in black, cream and gray neutrals.  Simple and classic.  And then I realized that this could work as a new quilt for Aria (both kids are promised new quilts in the next year).  She loves this color red and likes the fabrics I've chosen.  She wants her room to also include navy blue, but I think we could do that in pillows and other accents while keeping the quilt simple, color-wise.  Excited!  I haven't gotten to make a quilt for my kids for ages!

Ok, so how to choose?  Baby Projects - enticing, but not really practical.  Upholstering - doesn't sound fun, but I'll be so glad I did.  Tobacco Leaf quilt - well, obviously, I'm powerless against a quilt.  I have to do that one.  So, let's do that one and one more.  What do you think?

46 comments:

  1. I would use a home dec weight to reupholster Rachel. I haven't done a wing back chair like that but I've done others. It IS a big task but like most things it really helps if you have the right tools. Frankly sometimes the biggest thing is making a new seat cushion cover.

    If the chair needs new cushions or batting/support anywhere you might want to consider paying someone to do it...just because that is getting even deeper into the structural soundness of the chair. But if it's just a trial and error kind of thing, then definitely give it a whirl. It CAN be done!

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  2. I have a chair of my own that's been giving me the eye every time I walk past it. It's a great chair, but it desperately needs a change and I don't know if I'm up to that kind of commitment. I'd love to hear any tips you get on the process!

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  3. As far as upholstering the chair in regular quilting cotton....do you actually use the chair or just look at it? If you actually use it, then no I wouldn't. If you just look at it, maybe. I think the main thing is that it is so hard to get really smooth clean lines when you upholster something with a fabric that is so thin, where as a thicker material hides a bunch of bumps and bulges. Does that make sense? Also think about someone sitting down with something sharp like keys that snap just right...easy to tear through quilting cotton, not so easy with heavier weight stuff. Now if you don't use it, I do think the AMH Linen will work just fine....I think it is just think enough. But of course all this is my opinion!

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    1. Oh that what supposed to be "just thick enough" not just think enough.

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  4. I think you're on the right track. You'll be happiest making the quilt...and so will your daughter! Just my two cents worth.

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  5. If you go with the chair, which definitely looks like it could use some love(!), I would recommend using home decor fabric for upholstering, based on personal experience and the advice of others. About five years ago, I upholstered the seats of some dated dining chairs in quilting cotton despite the warnings of the little old lady cutting my fabric at the store. They looked festive for about six months, but the fabric was too thin to withstand frequent sitting, especially from our furry family members. A heavier weight cotton or linen might work, though. If you still want the quilting cotton/patchwork look and/or can't seem to find the exact decor fabric you want, you could always upholster in a simple/neutral decor fabric and make a festive (patchwork?) accent pillow for it, perhaps! :)

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  6. I agree. It'll be visible on cotton where people sit and there will be bulk created by ass which won't disappear. Not worth the work. Do yourself a favor and don't go there.

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  7. i recovered a footrest last year with quilted patchwork. sadly, it's not going to hold up for very long and i'm a bit sorry i used such great fabric for it (AHM good folks!). regarding your tobacco leaf quilt idea... gah!!! absolutely wonderful with the ruby red!

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  8. I've only ever re-upholstered the seat part of chairs, never a full stuffed chair like that and I agree with those who commented above...you are just better off using heavier weight fabrics. An alternative is doing a patchworky-thing (think crazy quilt), then you can use different types of fabrics; but will likely need to reinforce them with a lining of some sort.

    That quilt looks like it's going to be alot of fun, can't wait to see your progress.

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  9. Upholstering is terrifying for me, so I vote the Geranium dresses. I actually didn't realize that there was a larger sized Geranium dress pattern until you posted this, I'm going to have to put that on the to do list for my daughter.

    That tobacco leaf quilt looks amazing, I can't wait to see what you do with it!

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  10. I would LOVE to watch you do that Tobacco Leaf Quilt. I badly want to do it myself but am giving my "chops" another couple of years to develop.

    Making baby things is so lovely, and full of the best kinds of love, faith, and hope. I love the Geranium Dress. Briar Rose will be so lovely for that pattern! Remember you get to choose a contrast bodice lining, so that may be a chance to choose three more prints! ;)

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  11. I think you should upholster the chair first. Find a friend that maybe wants to help? Things always go better with a friend! I'd use a heavier weight fabric for that. You'll be glad you did it every time you walk past it.

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  12. Oh, that Ruby is to die for. Go go go go go! I want to see it!

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  13. P.S. I can get behind the chair, too. I have a giant stack of County Fair that I hope to use for a sad, tired looking, but once-very-expensive Craigslist find.

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  14. I would use decorator weight fabric for sure. Perhaps use one print on the seat and back and something fun on the arms? That way you're not too matchy with your sewing chairs.

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  15. Yeah, as gorgeous of a selection as there is among quilting fabrics, they will not last if you upholster with them!! There are a lot of ways to try to find a good fabric...Jo-anns' has a home dec section you can special order fabric from, which has a bit better of a selection than what they carry in stock. But you might find a reupholstery place where you can order fabric. You'll find someone who has a lot more knowledge about what you're ordering. If you are able to have another baby, you'll want something that can endure a lot of wear and tear and be spot cleaned easily, so you'll want to keep washing directions in mind with any fabric you buy. And a busier pattern will help with that too. And don't do it in white (speaking from experience...lol!). I've found a lot of really good books on reupholstering at the local library. The best way to go about something like this is to spend a long time looking at the chair. Try to figure out what they put on last (it's probably the fabric on the very bottom of the chair, as in, if you flipped it over) and start by taking that off. But every time you take a piece off, take notes, photograph it, number it, etc., because you'll want to attach everything in reverse order of how you removed it. Good luck!!

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  16. Super excited to see the quilt come together! What a treat to look around and say, "Hmm, I need a project..."

    The baby clothes would be cute too, and I love Briar Rose more every time I see it. I think I like florals more than I used to. And they would be very easy to gift if things don't go as planned, or if you have a boy! When I was pregnant for my 2nd I made a dress thinking (hoping?) I would have a girl. When he turned out to be a (wonderful) boy I still had fun giving it away.

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  17. Hi :) Love the quilt but I'd love to see you do the chair! I have one that I need to do also and maybe seeing your success it will motivate me to do mine :)

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  18. wonderful plans. I especially love all those fabrics you chose for Tabacco Leaf quilt, it will look amazing. Now, I have a question, are you pre-washing that beautiful red fabric to prevent any discoloration of neighboring prints?

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    1. Oh, gosh! You're so right. I'm going to prewash right now while I'm thinking of it. I don't usually prewash, but in this case, it's quite wise.

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  19. A patchwork covered chair could be possible. If the integrity of the fabric currently on the chair is still good, consider making a custom fitted slip cover instead. You could make your patchwork pieces and attach/quilt them to some plain canvas or duck fabric (no need for batting unless you want a true quilted look) then cut and sew together for a slip cover. That way you'll have the look you want with the fabrics you like without the commitment of having to actually deconstruct and recover the chair! I don't know if you've been adequately scared by the online tutorials that exist, but unless it's absolutely necessary, I recommend the slipcover over a complete reupholster.

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  21. OMG that wing back chair would look fab in some wild home decor fabrics! To make it fun I'm seeing a multi pieced back almost like a fan!

    What ever you decide, enjoy!

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  22. Put me down as a vote for the chair project. I love all three projects, but I think that given the fact that you want to get pregnant, you'd be better off tackling such a big project now rather than later. I think I felt more tired in this most recent pregnancy that I did with my first two... and then once baby comes, your time simply isn't your own for quite a number of months. If ever there was a good time to tackle that chair, now is certainly it! And I'm with everyone else on the fabric... definitely choose a sturdy upholstery fabric if the chair is destined for regular use. I can imagine it would be rather heartbreaking to put in all that work only to see it wear out in less than a year of use.

    I love your quilt project – you should definitely go for it. The colors are lovely, and it will certainly be one that Aria can love for many years. She won't ever grow out of it.

    As to the baby clothes, I can so completely understand your yearning to start on them. If it were me, I'd perhaps consider a romper instead of a dress (you never know, you may get another boy!!)... maybe with the shamrock print so it could be used for a boy or a girl. :)

    xoxo

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  23. Tobacco leaf quilt! Obviously! Good choice.
    Does Denise's pattern suggest foundation paper piecing for the tiny triangles? Paper piecing will make it soooo much easier.

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  24. I want the feathers everywhere in my house....so I have to say A Feathered Wingback Chair!
    I have recovered my nursing rocker in three different AMH fabrics - not matching....I just can't decide!! The seat is velveteen, the arms are garden party and the back is covered in a whole cloth garden party throw(volumes).....It's insane, I should really decide :)

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  25. I covered my sewing chair with a quilting cotton, BUT I added a sturdy interfacing to the back to make it more durable. I use it regularly and haven't had a problem, but we aren't exceptionally rough on furniture and we don't have kids. I'd factor that in. Do you think one of your kids might curl up in the chair while you sew? If so, I'd go with something more durable.

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  26. Do the quilt. If you do eventually upholster your chair you must use upholstery weight fabric or it will not last. I think this chair would be a difficult first attempt--start with something simple. Also, this chair will take a huge amount of fabric--up to 7 or 8 yards--you'd be amazed at how much fabric is required. There are some basic books on upholstery that will give you the idea--start with an ottoman, then try an armless chair. I don't do upholstery but have a friend who gets good results but she has had a lot of experience.

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  27. Now I have to pull out denyse's book and look at that pattern! I love the fabrics you've laid out. Go for it!

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  28. Oh, I know how you feel about that chair. I do think it would look absolutely amazing in those linens in your improv patchy style. Don't know anything about practicalities though!
    That geranium dress is so sweet! I would especially love it in the yellow grasshoppers you chose. If it were me, I would probably choose the dresses, even though the chair would have bigger pay offs. But I know that's because I wouldn't even know where to start with upholstery! Happy choosing!

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    1. Oops! Didn't realise I was signed in in Tim's account. That was actually me! ;)

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  29. I love the list of possible projects, I do the same thing. My vote goes to the chair. I vote with everyone else...if you are really going to reupholster, then go with a home dec weight. Those rub tests the upholstery manufacturers do make sense...quilting weight will not hold up to a family full of rub tests!

    However....if it were my chair in my "foyer," I would make a series of seasonal slipcovers. Maybe not all the way holiday, but maybe a quarterly change? Spring, Fall and Christmas would be a good start. The summer cover could be just plain duck canvas, cool and refreshing.

    I grew up in a household with fantastic fitted slipcovers.....made with zippers and completely washable. Crazy 70's Vera prints all over the family room couch and chairs. My Mom would just unzip them and throw them in the washer.

    Good luck with your decision....if the photos you posted are any indication, you are leaning toward the Aria quilt. I look forward to seeing whatever you choose!

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  30. Use a heavy weight fabric.

    I agree with the slipcover advice.

    I love to sew and had a chair similar to yours. I took an upholstery class through community ed from an amazing upholsterer. (I wish now that I'd just paid him to do it.). It two sessions of classes and the ONLY part I liked was the sewing part--of which there was relatively little. I hated the stretching, nailing, tacking, stuffing--and I never was satisfied with the result.

    So, I wish I'd made a slipcover (that I know I'd have enjoyed stitching or I wish I'd had the upholster do it. Either way, use a heavier weight fabric. It will look better and last longer.

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  31. I love the idea of the chair, but I'd never have the patience or nerve to do it - I'd be too afraid of making a mess. Love your quilt idea though!

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  32. Absolutely NO to the quilting cotton. I did my wingback chair with Joel Dewberry's heavy-weight(ish) home dec stuff, and even that is not standing up real great to the wear and tear of life. It stinks because while you have this image in your head of an adorable AMH-style couch, what you will get will be something that lasts a few years at most. And unless you really, REALLY love stapling and stretching, you do not want to re-do your chair every few years. :)

    Still. Do the chair! You'll feel so good when it's done!

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  33. Love the quilt for Aria. Funny my second blog this week to pick that exact quilt. I will be very interested to follow the progress of each - so different starting from the same place. As for the chair I agree with the slip cover idea. I HIGHLY recommend "Custom Slipcovers Made Easy" by Elizabeth Dubicki. I would pick something very neutral in a heavy brushed cotton (so it feels nice) and then make seasonal antimacassars and arm covers. Throw in a kidney pillow and there you are. If your heart is set on reupholstering I think you have the skills to do it self taught. (I did) get a book, take off the fabric and use it to pattern new pieces. Definitly get a new cushion. Recovering won't change the shape and it will look like you cheaped out. (I have experience on that too.) After all that work, you don't want to look at it and wish you replaced the cushion when everything was naked.

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  34. Hi, Rachel.
    I love the deep teal of your chair against your green wall. I thought to myself -- that would look SO pretty in that Field Study fabric I just checked out online and then you said that's what you like... It is SUCH beautiful fabric. As I mentioned before, I am a neophyte at sewing so I don't know if it would work or not, but the colors would be gorgeous in that room. by the way, I learned SO much from your blog yesterday -- clicked on all your links which taught me even more. Thanks for all that you share.

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  35. I really like that chair just as it is! Green and blue like that go well together.

    You should make that quilt. It's really pretty!

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  37. Amy Butler has upholstery fabric. Now I'm getting excited, too! I imagine that chair in a fabulous big Amy Butler print. I just googled it...oh my!

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  38. ohhhhhh! look at this one! http://prairieflowervintage.blogspot.ca/2011/11/vintage-wingback-chair.html

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  39. Do you really WANT to reupholster the chair? Yes, it needs it but do you have to be the one to do it? I ask because I got halfway through a project and then caved. Couldn't put it back together. Sat in the garage for a couple years and finally found the trash. Not that you'd ever not finish it but...do you need the stress? ;)

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  40. do the quilt! It would be so pretty....and you can just throw the quilt over the chair for a fresh look!

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  41. I'm late to the game with a comment but will add my voice to the "don't do the chair in anything other than upholstery fabric" chorus. Not worth the grief and you will need to re-do way too soon. Trust me on that one ;0)
    Here's a thought...why not find a person who does do upholstery, choose a fabric you love then trade making a quilt for upholstering the chair. You get to do what you love and are very good at as does the other person; you get a lovely chair and they get a lovely quilt. Win Win!! The tobacco quilt is going to be FABULOUS!!

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    1. You're right - a trade is usually the best situation for everyone. I don't think I'm going to go that route now that I realize I don't want to keep the chair, but it's a good idea!

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  42. I find when you have questions like these on your mind, it's time to go outside and make some giant bubbles (or lots of little bubbles). While you are watching where the wind takes them, your mind will wander down its own path to the answers.

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