Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Refashion: Women's Skirt to Girl's Dress

Yesterday I set off for the thrift store in hopes of finding a woman's dress that would provide me with enough fabric to make an Easter dress for my daughter. In the dress section I came up empty, but I hit the jackpot in the skirt aisle.

This size 16 women's skirt was perfect. Lovely floral print and colors, breezy cotton fabric and beautiful details.

The front had a nice pleated section in the middle, with a white satin ribbon running around the whole waistline.

But I think it was the ruffle that sold me. I love the fuller white ruffle underneath that looks like a petticoat.

My next stop was the fabric store to find some coordinating fabric to make a sash. No luck. I really wanted to bring out those sweet aqua flowers, but the closest I could get was this turquoise, which was too dark. So I tried bleaching it but it only turned into a minty green color (which isn't really showing in this photo very well- and I'm not sure why the skirt has a pink cast to it).

I didn't take any process photos of this project because I really wasn't sure how it would turn out, and I was kind of just figuring it out as I went and working from only my daughter's measurements.

But honestly, I'm tickled to death with how it came together.

(Really not loving that sash color, though...)

I added some knife pleats to the front bodice for a little more coverage, which my uber-modest six-year-old appreciates.

Determined to use the side zipper from the skirt, I added a piece to either side to make it wide enough.

The pleated detail shows on the front bodice.

The ruffle is my favorite part.
Today I was hoping to venture out to another fabric store in search of a better fabric for the sash, but with all 3 kids at home and rainy weather I'm not sure if it'll happen. It may have to wait. But I'm definitely changing it and will post new pics when I do.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Chairs: before and after

I took a couple of chairs to the consignment shop today but made sure to take pictures first. This little pink chair was a garage sale find and was pretty cute to start with, but it was a bubble-gum pink and I wanted to tone it down some. Okay, I wanted to tone it down a lot.

It got a coat of the creamy white I used on The Nasty Chair, then distressed it eeever so slightly.

Love how that pink peeps through the white.

The other chairs taken in were a pair I bought on Craigslist for $5 each.

Someone had done a good job of distressing them, but I think they overdid it a bit. They were both painted cream, one with a base coat of this weird green and the other navy blue.

First I painted on the same creamy white color...

... then Fate stepped in and helped me to mix the most wonderful Robin's Egg Blue paint I've ever seen. Seriously- I'm in love.

The distressing almost killed me because I didn't want to remove one tiny speck of that lovely blue.

But in the end I loved how they looked and almost cried when I drove home without them.

Okay, not really, but I am in love with this color. I want to paint every wood piece of furniture in my house this color. If this color was food I'd eat it with a spoon.

I'd paint myself this color if I thought I could pull it off. It's just so fresh and happy and Spring-y.
Unfortunately I only mixed a yogurt-sized container of this paint, so I'm going to take what I have left and get it color-matched for me at Home Depot next week. I bought an antique dresser on Craigslist (surprise, surprise) recently that is begging to have this color applied. And it will remain in my possession forever and ever and ever, and I will smile and sigh and hum "Zippety Doo Dah" every time I look at it.

Friday, March 26, 2010

A new bed for Hakan

Craigslist came through for me once again today. I've been on the hunt for a nice, like-new twin sized mattress and box spring for my son for a couple of months, and today I stumbled upon a post for one. I know there are probably some of you for whom the ick-factor of buying a used mattress is insurmountable, but here are my reasons for it being okay with me (this time):

a.) This is for my almost 4-year-old son, and he doesn't care.
b.) It doesn't have any stains or weird smells, and comes from a clean, smoke and pet-free home.
c.) It's practically new and even has the tag still on the end.
d.) I will soon be purchasing an envelope-style mattress cover for it.
e.) It only cost me $75.

Craigslist also provided me with the bed frame a couple of months ago, so I was super excited to finally be able to rearrange his room and include his new big bed and sweet new quilt.

The quilt is from JC Penney and even though it went on clearance after I bought it (doh!), I still love, love, love it.

This antique dresser was also a Craigslist score and the wood tone matches the new bed perfectly.

Please ignore the stacks of boxes in the closet. I have a serious problem getting rid of fabric.

I love his new bed, mainly because it reminds me of his old bed.

This little bed was an antique given to us by my Grandmother whose mother used it as a child. While taking it apart tonight I got a little sad that it now has to go into storage.
It's one of those things that I'd try to save in a fire.
It's one of those things that is irreplaceable and I feel privileged to own.
It's just precious.
But it will be used again, and will probably be needed before I know it.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Finnley's quilt

Don't worry- this is a non-chair-related post. Are you sick of that chair project yet? Heehee, sorry. :)

I was feeling pretty tired yesterday, but with 5 kids running/crawling around my house I couldn't nap like I wanted, so instead I sewed. Remember the quilt I started for my baby last month? I finally finished it.

I was waiting for Joann to restock on binding in the color I wanted, and quite honestly kept forgetting to look when I'd go. During a trip there the other day I actually remembered and they actually had it!

Binding this quilt was frustrating. I don't know what it is, but me and quilt binding do not get along. There's some hard feelings and baggage and, well, we just don't understand one another. This time it surrendered- it would bind my son's quilt, but in a very sloppy, lumpy, twisty sort of way. The backing was my old shower curtain.

I had to take the bumper off of Finnley's crib since he'd just stand on it and make it all squished and flat. Even though the teething guards are still on, I'm glad he's got his quilt to add some color back to the crib.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Part 5: The Final Installment (maybe)

The Saga:
Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4

Okay, just one more reminder of the utterly disgusting, dilapidated state my latest project started out in. I paid $5 for a chair that probably should have gone to the dump, or at least come with a warning sign.

Here she is now.

Yesterday she got "dressed", so she's no longer Nasty Chair or Naked Chair, but Nice Chair (weak, I know, but it's the only "N" adjective I could come up with).

I have a confession- it's not completely done. I still need to apply some trim to the back to hide the staples, and I'm considering adding some nail head detail around the bottom of the seat. What do you think?

Here's another confession- I goofed up a lot. Luckily staples aren't too difficult to pull out. :)

One final confession- it's not perfect. There are bumps and lumps and dings in the paint already, and there are techniques that I need to get better at. But I've never claimed to be a professional, or even good at this, so it's okay.

There is no denying, however, that this chair has a brand new look and several more years of life left in it now.
(*insert contented sigh here)

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

The saga continues...

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
I give you, Part 4 of The Saga of the Nasty Chair.

I can honestly say that the Nasty Chair is no longer nasty. It's still Naked, though, so its initials will remain NC for now.

Yesterday morning I applied another coat or two of paint (I've lost track of how many it has now) and let it dry all day. Then after I'd gotten the kids to bed I began rebuilding the seat and back.

First I put on the webbing, which is really, really easy to do.

I used a method that the nice upholstery guy suggested, which is to basically double the webbing over itself so you've got twice the support. You can kind of see the double layers going in each direction in this photo. (I only did that to the seat, though, because the back doesn't have to sustain as much pressure and I was running out of webbing.)

The webbing gets covered with burlap to keep the stuffing from falling through.

Next I piled on the cotton batting. LOTS of cotton batting.

Upholstery Guy said that if I want a 4" high seat cushion, I'd need 8" of cotton batting because it compresses so much. After I took this photo I realized it was probably a little much, so I took off a layer. This stuff can be cut with scissors, but I mostly just tore it with my fingers to get it the right shape then teased out any lumps and gave the front a smooth curve.

Before I put the cotton on the back rest I had to secure the cotton on the seat with a layer of Dacron (a sheet of polyester batting) so it would stay put when I layed the chair down. Dacron is stretchy but will tear, so I had to be careful when pulling it over the cotton and smoothing it down.

Now Nasty Chair has become Naked Chair and just needs to get some fabric on her! Oh, I'm so excited! My hubby's in Mexico for work this week so I hope I can get this done before he comes home Thursday night. I keep telling him how cool it's going to be, but I'm not sure if he believes me.
I can't blame him. I mean, look at this tragedy!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Little update

Paint coat 1 of 3 has been applied.


Crap. I just noticed I missed a spot. Blerg.

Saturday, March 20, 2010


Just to kick things off, let me show you what my garage looks like right now.

I think it's time for an intervention. This can't be healthy.

As for NC ("Nasty Chair"), progress is being made. Yesterday I restocked on fine grit sandpaper and bought a 2-pack of masks.

This morning I spent a blissful 3 hours alone in Boise, during which I visited a local upholstery shop. See, I have this book.

It's a great book. It's helped me realize that upholstery isn't all that hard or scary and is just so well written and photographed that I'd recommend it to anyone who wants to teach themselves how to upholster.

At the front are several pages reviewing basic tools, materials, different fabrics, etc. Then it gets into various projects and shows how to do almost every step in photos and text. So last night I found a project in the book that's very similar to mine and began making note of what materials I'd need for NC. Some of them I knew I wouldn't be able to find at my local fabric store, so this morning I called a couple of upholstery shops until I found one that was a.) open on Saturday and b.) willing to sell me the supplies I needed.

The upholstery guy was super helpful, especially since I brought my book with me and photos of my project so he'd know what I was looking for. (He actually has this same book, too!) He gave me some pointers, helped me figure out how much I'd need of each material then gave me about 3 times that amount and wished me luck with my project.

I spent $15 on (a lot of) the following:

cotton batting


hemp burlap

4" webbing

This afternoon I spent about an hour sanding the paint off of NC. Towards the end my head was pounding and I felt sick to my stomach, so I had to call it quits.

I didn't get every bit of paint off, especially on the front legs where there are lots of curves and grooves. But I think I got all of the spots where the paint was loose or cracked, which is all I was really aiming for.

Oh, yeah. I splurged and bought one of these today, too.

Reeeallly, wishing I'd had one yesterday.

I also bought fabric during my alone time today. I'm not entirely sure what it's made of, but it looks like linen and has a great texture that's rough and smooth at the same time.

I'm not sure how true the color is coming through in this photo, but it's a sort of a darkish taupey-mushroomy color. Sort of.

Paint was also purchased- "Cappuccino White" by Glidden in high gloss.

Last night before bed I had to rub hydrocortizone cream around my eyes so the skin would stop itching. Today I'm less itchy, still a little puffy and have been fighting headaches and/or nausea since noon.
But the chair is now paint ready so progress is definitely being made!