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Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Slipcovers: The Cording

There are a few things you will need to purchase before you start sewing. 

5/32 cotton welting
 I buy my cording in bulk. You can find yours at Joann fabrics or another local fabric store.
You will need about 35-45 yards for a large 6 cushion couch and 20 yards for a chair with 2 cushions

 Zipper Tape
I also buy my zipper tape by the yard in bulk. The zipper pulls come separate. You can cut the zipper to the length that you need and then add the pull. You have no waste! 
You can purchase some here: beacon fabric
I have never had much luck at the local fabric store with this.

           available at your local fabric store. You will only need about a yard.

Rotary cutter and board
           This is not necessary, but very helpful. The large board and cutter are around $45.00 at your local fabric store. If you use a 40% off coupon it helps!

Lets start!

Unroll a few yards of your fabric out on the floor and measure down about 3 yards.
 Cut up to the opposite top corner making a triangle.

Take the triangle piece and fold along the longest edge (the hypotenuse, for you math people).

Fold in half again.

Here is were you will want a rotary cutter and cutting board.
We are going to cut 2" strips for our cording. It goes so fast with the rotary cutter!

Lay your fabric down and cut any unevenness off the top.

Start cutting off 2" strips, as you work your way down the fabric.

You should end up with a pretty good pile.
To sew them together, lay the ends of 2 separate pieces, right side of the fabric facing up, on the table in front of you.
Take the piece on the left and flip it over on top of the right piece.

Pivot the top piece, to line up the salvage edges.


When you turn the piece over you should have a continuous strip of fabric. You can trim off any unevenness later.

Keep sewing until all your pieces are sewn together.
Take your cotton welting and place in the middle of your strip of fabric. Fold the fabric in half and sew as close to the fabric as you can using your zipper foot.

To finish the edges, you can use a zig zag stitch on your machine or run all the cording through your serger. 

Set the cording aside. You will need it very soon!

Friday, January 27, 2012

Back to Toddler Future: Growing In Grace

While pregnant with Bridget, I remember thinking about what my child would and would not be like, what I would allow, and what I would not allow. I remember seeing a screaming toddler in the grocery store and thinking to myself that "My child will never do that!" I had grand ideas about parenting and training my children. 
     What I hadn't really taken into consideration was that this little person would have a will and mind of their own as well! That they were just as much God's child as I was; that they would have a life time of learning and growing and failing just like me; that they needed guidance, but most of all GRACE!

Grace: unmerited favor or kindness

God has used my children to show me over and over how I have needed to grow in grace. From the days when I was sure I would be the perfect mother, only to yell at them two seconds later and have to ask for their forgiveness with tears of regret in my eyes, to the days when they would come to me, marker still in hand, a little gleam in their eye, and an entire couch to wash.

The first week after my son came home (he was 2.5) I had to run an errand at Bed Bath and Beyond. I had just gotten him in the cart when the fit began. A loud, all-out toddler screaming fit!  He really didn't even know me yet. There was no real relationship. He was barely responding to no. I was not even to the point of training, much less discipline.  For all he knew I was just another baby sitter. We were just trying to survive! We hadn't had more than 3 hours of sleep each night since he came home.  What could I do?  I grabbed the things I needed as fast as I could, all while making a huge scene! When I finally got everyone home and down for a nap, the Holy Spirit began to convicted me. He reminded me of all those other grocery store mothers I had been self righteous, arrogant, and graceless towards.  If only I could go back in time and have those moments to do over. I would to see each of those women differently. I wanted to be able to go back and ask each of them if they needed help;  I wanted to be kind to them, because I had had no idea what was really going on in their lives! 

 I was a humbled, changed mother.  I have never forgotten that day. 

2 Peter 3:18 "But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ."

For all my adventures yet to come, may I be ever growing in Grace. 

Thursday, January 26, 2012

slipcovers: Washing fabric

My fabric came like this
To wash, Just roll off about 8 yards and cut. I know that we spent a lot of time planning our cutting out and you are probably wondering if we  should take that into consideration before we cut. The short answer is, we shouldn't.  There is no way to figure out how much the fabric will shrink. You can plan all you want and then you will be mad because it is 3" to short or you have a left over 10".  So, 8 yards is about the perfect size to wash well in a large washing machine, and it really will work out ok when you cut, trust me. 

I do not measure with a tape measure, just eye ball it, or use your arm as a guide. Your nose to your fingertip is roughly a yard.

Wash with warm water and use a mild detergent. I do not go to a laundry mat! You never know what was in the machine before you got there. I use a lot of white fabric. Grease is your nemesisAlso if you are using a dark fabric, left over bleach can be in the machines. Not a good thing. If you wash 20 yards of fabric at a time it will stretch out of shape and you will have a mess on your hands.

Put the fabric in the dryer. You will have to untwist the fabric about every 20 minutes. Sorry, there is no way around it. It turns into a rotating fabric ball, and the center never gets dry.
As soon as it is dry, remove immediately, or you will have a wrinkled fabric ball on your hands! I usually don't re-roll my fabric on the bolt. I just fold it as smoothly as I can to prevent wrinkles. I usually use my husband for this; his muscles are better than mine!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Well, I was hoping that I would be able to give you all the great news that we finished our homestudy, but I can't.

 I made a  mistake on some paperwork and forgot to sign the money order that paid for our background checks. Ugh! They came back and now they have to be resent again....

I also misunderstood our last meeting. I didn't think Quentin had to be there...he did. So that had to be rescheduled!

When our social worker left, I sat down and cried! 

Setbacks! UGH! 

God's timing is perfect, and after a good cry I really mean that and believe that. Our little one will come home at the perfect time in spite of my mistakes! 

I also wanted to pass this along..

 Super Bowl winning couch Tony Dungy and his wife Lauren, who are adoptive parents, have done a 3 minute video for people to show at the Super Bowl half time. The goal of the video is to promote adoption awareness. Here is the link to go and  watch the video and learn more about it. adoptionjourney

I also put it at the bottom of my blog. I couldn't figure out how to put it in the post. Sorry, I am still a little blogger challenged


Friday, January 20, 2012

Back to the Toddler Future

1996, the year I became a Mom.

My cell phone looked like this.

I couldn't pay at the pump, and the average price of gas was $1.27.

My daughter's stroller was this very bulky thing, and
I couldn't even find a picture of her car seat that would buckle without a base! Gasp!

What I really wanted to find was a picture of my old diaper bag, but alas, I could not... I am afraid I was never very good at taking pictures.  What I did notice however, is that there is now a much better selection of diaper bags to choose from.

The back pack

The stylish, yet enormous, carry-all style

Petunia Pickle Bottom Cake Society Satchel Berry Chiffon Cake

Perfectly sized by Petunia Pickle Bottom, this is a great, but pricey option.

JJ Cole Diaper Bag System 180 Green Stitch

Not just a diaper bag, but a diaper bag system by JJ Cole

The purse style from Timi and Leslie

I have come to the conclusion that, like everything else in my life, my diaper bag must be a multi-tasker! If it only fulfills one task, I probably don't need it. I probably have something else that can do the same job just as well. Now, I know there are flaws in my logic. For instance, my toothbrush. It only, and ever only, will brush my teeth. (ok, occasionally it has brushed my kids teeth on accident.) A toothbrush is an acceptable uni-tasker. A diaper bag should not be... other wise I will end up with 87 bags everywhere I go. 

 I decided I just wanted a purse!

   1. I am smarter in my old age! I have carried large
       diaper bags with everything but the kitchen
       sink in them.      "Just in case!" Its silly. I will
       be fine; the   kid will be fine. Stash a few extra
        things in the car if I need to...

   2. I will only carry 1 bag. My purse, with all the kid stuff        
        In it.

   3. I am not spending money on a bag that I will use for one
      specific season. I want a good quality bag that will last and 
     work for all seasons. I think that is possible. 

   3. I got a better quality purse/bag with lots of great storage 
     that will do all that a diaper bag will; it just didn't come 
     with designer diaper bag price tag.

I found my bag at TJ Maxx.

It is a beautiful B. Makowski with pockets everywhere. Not to big and not to small! super soft leather and a very fun leopard print inside!

When I found it, I walked away from it! I decided to wait a little longer. I did, however,  take a picture of it and I showed my niece to see what she thought. (She is my fashion consultant!) She loved it and gave me her approval. She is currently driving a very stylish yellow B. Makowski bag.
I just had to hope the bag would still be there for a couple of weeks. 
Well, the very next night, my niece walked in the door, bag in hand, and gave us a baby gift! 
Thank you Anna!

I did find that the bag is also available at in gray, black or red!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Slipcovers: Measuring for Fabric

Today I will try to have more pictures than words! 
Lets figure out how much fabric I will need.
You will need:

*a cloth tape measure
*piece of paper

Here is the couch that I will be slip-covering. 

The cushions are in great shape, and the frame is solid wood. Well made, and worth investing the money in. Both things worth considering. I always recommend that you go look at new furniture and price what it would cost to replace what you have before you consider a slipcover. That way you have a fair price comparison. 

Take all the cushions and pillows off and start with the base.

 Get you measuring tape and start on the back side.
I am not doing a skirt. If you are, you will start measuring at the bottom cording line. Measure up to the top seam and add about 4". (We do not have to be exact here. We are just getting rough measurements to make sure we order enough fabric.) 

Measure horizontally as well, from seam to seam. Write these measurements down on your paper. Using your paper like a piece of 54' fabric. Your horizontal piece will take all 54" of the width and the part of another width of fabric. We will piece it on either side. You don't usually want a seam running down the center of your couch. 
Your paper should look something like this.

Face the front of the couch and do the same thing.

Your paper should begin to look a little like this....

Notice that I am using as much of the space as possible. It is kind of like a puzzle. You want to plan out how you are going to cut things out so that you use as little fabric as possible! The blank spots we will fill in with cushion pieces.

Now on to the arms.

Measure over the arm and just under the curve. I call that piece the inside arm. Do not go all the way down. We will do the bottom half in a separate piece called the outside arm.

Have no fear, we really will use some of that side fabric on the pillows.

Measuring the outside arm piece.

Now we just have the little front piece. shown above. This piece also has to be pieced because of the length. You should be able to fit the side piece in up by the main back piece. 
The only piece we have left on the body of the couch is the front arms. You can just measure a rough rectangle around the curve of the arm and put it in the best spot on your paper. 
My 2 pieces of paper now look like this.

We just have the cushions left!

Measure across the top horizontally and vertically. Add a few inches for seams. (We will get more precise when we actually cut out, don't worry). Add to your paper.

Don't forget the banding! Measure horizontally and vertically.
It will take a few widths of fabric to get around each cushion. Add and extra 1.5" to the width. You also want to add 2 extra band widths to your finished number, not for each cushion. ( If you need 6 widths of fabric to get around your 3 cushions, allow for 8.)  That will allow for cutting out wider widths for the zipper section. (Don't worry I will show you when we get there). Add to your paper.

Don't forget the top cushion. A rough rectangle is fine.

Measure and add your pillow. Fill in as many gaps on your paper as possible! Please also notice in the 2nd picture the black lining of the couch. I call it the decking. You will need to measure that vertically and horizontally as well and allow enough fabric to cover.

And finally, add and extra 3 yards for your cording if you are doing a couch and at least 1.5 yards if you are doing a chair.
Yes, you want to do cording! It really will make your life easier when it comes to sewing everything together!

Here is what my paper looks like. Please note that I did move the Front back side pieces around to fit better. I just crossed them out so you could see what I did. 

Now we just have to add up all the measurements (usually just the numbers on the right) and then divide by 36". That will tell us how many yards we need.

I came up with 12.97 so 13 yard
Plus 3 yards for cording
2 yards for shrinkage- we are washing it!
18 yards
I would get 20. Why? Because I am human :)
If you are doing a skirt add about 5-6 yards. It takes a lot to do a nice hemmed, no seams showing, pleated skirt!

next step: washing our fabric