Wednesday, 30 April 2008

The Chair Unveiled! Ta da!

So here it is (see previous posts for the saga of The Chair!). I am so proud of this. It has involved a lot of work, but it has been incredibly satisfying.


I still have to fix the material in position, which will involve more staples (read the original post for my moans about the number of staples that were in this chair!). But I love it.

Tuesday, 29 April 2008

A ten year old's Roman dress: any advice?

I wanted to post my daughter's idea for a Roman dress for her Roman day at school. This is put together from the fabric she was given on freecycle to play with, and so is her first project.
I have no dressmaking skills, so I'm amazed where this has come from, and I've no idea how to sew it all together - please, advice if you have any!
So, she has basically pinned it to her mini-mannequin (a pressie from somebody else), and made it up. But I think the design is looking brilliant (and this was all her - I gasped when I went into her bedroom - though, of course, I am biased!):

If you can suggest how she proceeds, please, please let us know.

Friday, 25 April 2008

Wallpaper heaven

I had a piece of luck yesterday. I was lucky enough to find three rolls of a gorgeous Hamilton Weston toiles paper in a local charity shop for a £1 each.

I knew they were rather special, so found their site:

Lovely papers, but no prices so don't know what it would cost to try and match my paper. Any ideas anyone? Anyway, from thinking I would use the toile to cover old shoeboxes/files/storage boxes/etc, I thought I ought to make better use of it. It seems a bit of a waste to just use it up on small projects. Following on from that, I realized that three rolls may just be enough to do our understairs loo!

So I delved deeper and came across what must be the best wallpaper site in the world:

Just have a play - every wallpaper you click on, for those out there who love papers, this is truly wallpaper heaven, shows a room style with it! How neat is that. You don't even have to click - you just hover your cursor over the wallpaper you like.

So I'm now thinking we could use it for the loo, by using panelling on the bottom and the paper (which is obviously quite a strong print) above. Do comment if you have any suggestions, or good links for wallpapers.

How cute is this:

Well, that's kind of the look I'm going to aim for.

And I want to try and find where these papers are sold in the UK: aren't they fantastic. You could do so much with a paper from them. And all from a thrift find!

Roman blinds for beginners - if I can do it!

Morning all (if I have any readers - doubt it as my blogs such a baby in terms of what is out there!). But welcome if you have dropped by. I'm currently (inbetween rushing to my baby blog) giving the chair its first coat of primer/undercoat this morning. Boy has it been hard. I'll give you a peek soon. It's looking good! However, I tried to cut a corner by priming before filling in those pesky holes, and they show. Duh! So am also filling holes, and will have to sand and reprime, I guess. That'll teach me to cut corners.

I'm also currently trying to tackle the thorny question of a small window in my son's room which is covered with a bit of flowery material at the moment. (Because his bigger sis has just moved out, and there's bits like this left over!)

He's chosen a Cath Kidston print, and I am going to try making a small Roman blind: very scary if you've never done this before. So I'll let you know how it proceeds. Here's the fabric and blackout lining.

Today I've managed to map out how much cord and how many eyelets I'm going to need. I had got a couple of books from the library, and they differed in their advice.
What I have done is:
Drawn up a mini plan of the blind, which I did to scale on graph paper. The window measures 105 cm by 60 cm. My graph plan looks like this:

So each big block is 10 cm. The red lines mark the three lines for the cords. They are 5 cm in from each side, with one central. The crosses mark where the eyelets will be - every 20 cm down the blind, beginning 20 cm down from the top.

Tonight I plan to lay out the fabric and blackout lining, and cut out, allowing an extra 2 inches all around on the fabric and cutting to the size of the window on the blackout lining.

I've finally finished it, and it was, looking back, surprisingly easy. In fact, I loved doing it. So here it is. I'd say, if you're considering doing one for the first time, go for it!

Tuesday, 22 April 2008

Decision time on the chair!

The chair is now more or less ready for a decision as to painting or not painting. I think I'm coming down on the idea of painting a creamy white, adding a pretty fabric, and settling down in it to enjoy the fruits of all the hard work! Here's a mock up, with a Laura Ashley print I found in their sale this weekend.

Saturday, 19 April 2008

A ten-year-old's inspired thank you!

My ten-year-old has suddenly discovered she loves to sew, which is fun. She was given a half-size adult's sewing machine for Christmas (having been given a plastic child's one which didn't work at all and had to go back). Unfortunately I can't keep buying her endless fabrics, and we were running out of ideas, so I asked on freecycle. She wanted to be free to experiment, with her own fabric stash. She's thrilled with the result, and this was her way of saying a big thank you (all made with the generous freecycle fabric). She was also lucky enough to get three patterns for children's dresses thrown in, and is planning to try one out. This is difficult for me, as my dressmaking skills are frankly appalling. Will have to stumble along somehow, as I'm doing with my chair project!

Friday, 18 April 2008

Chair renovation project

Well, this is a first for me. I've decided to shabby chic this chair, which I got in a pub clearance for £5. I'm blogging about it to encourage me to keep going as this seems such a big deal to me!

The cover was hard to get off, as it turned out to have been reupholstered three times, with each layer covering the previous and secured with buckets of staples. It's truly lovely underneath, and it's left me confused as to what to do with it. I wanted to shabby chic it - paint it slate grey, and recover with some lush Cath Kidston material or similar, but I don't want to cover the slats, and I don't know that I should paint it - though this leaves the problem of the damage done by the staples. So I just don't know what to do now. But the wood is very glossy.

I thought I'd also post a picture of my tool kit for the job: very simple really! The pliers were fantastic, as they gripped even the smallest and tightest of the staples.

However, although the chair is coming on, my hands are incredibly sore. I was hoping to uncover the other side, but have only just managed to get the seat pad separated and de-material-ised and de-stapled. I can't wait to see the slats from the front, but I don't think I can get there tonight. Will keep you informed! This is certainly harder than I expected.

And now a picture of the uncovered slats: phew, I'm beginning to appreciate why reupholstery is so expensive!

And finally, fully uncovered, aside from the seat pad.

I've decided to paint it with F&B Dimity, which I used for my sewing box.

Monday, 14 April 2008


I love dressmaker's dummies. But cannot afford them! So I decided to do my own. So my second post is to let you have a peek at my mannequin: not finished, but so close. This was a tatty old dressmakers dummy, with an adjustable but broken plastic moulded body.

It's been a hugely fun project to do: I've kind of made this one up as I went along.

Ready to begin: The sewing box

Here goes with my first post. I've created a blog as I've realized, or rather I am hoping, that it will help to inspire me to get projects I begin finished. My first project to blog about is a £3 sewing box I picked up at the local scout's jumble sale. I actually disliked it, but wanted to try a small project.

I now absolutely love it. I've painted it in F&B, and lined it with a Laura Ashley remnant I found. It's been an easy first project.

How I did it

It was easy to take apart, but I didn't think to code each piece - if you are planning on doing one, make a plan and mark where each box is. Otherwise it's virtually impossible to put it back together right.
So I took it apart, sanded it and prime/undercoated it in one.
I then gave it a light sand and painted it with the Dimity.
It could really do with a second coat, but I wanted to finish, so skipped that bit.

When it came to lining it, I decided a Laura Ashley remnant I picked up in the sale for £3 was a good match for the paint finish. It had been lined with a fairly functional blue plastic, wrapped around card.

I recut the card and used the LA to cover it, using PVA to stick it down. I would have used Bostick, but we didn't have any. But the PVA worked fine. I padded the two lid bits, as it gives it a nice look, but I didn't pad anything else - thought this would result in pins getting into corners!
So without the card it looked like:

I have to admit, it's not perfect, but I adore the result. And I'm itching to complete another project. One tip if you're lucky enough to find one (and please do send me a pic of before and after if you do-I'd love to feel this has inspired somebody to save one from landfill!): don't put it together and then try and line it. Line the sections and then put it together, as you can't access the back of them easily. I learnt this the hard way. Also, I used the old lining as a template, but still had to trim the card insets back a bit.
My children now want one for their bits and bobs! It would be fab for kids, actually (but they are not getting this one!)
One of these could be used for all sorts of things - you could paint one in pastel shades for a child's lego bits and bobs, etc. Possibilities are endless. And all for a sewing box I nearly walked past at a jumble sale.