Friday, May 9, 2014

Go Team! Bleacher/Stadium Seat Cushion Up-cycle

     Am I the only dance team mom whose family walks away from day-long competitions with a sore bum? Doubt it!  Since I'm usually backstage, I wanted to make my family's fan experience more enjoyable by giving them some bum comfort!  So, to continue on my up-cycle theme from my last post, I made over these mildewy old seat cushions from 2007 we had stored in the barn into darling seat-saving beauties!  Here's how I did it...the photos are in order of assembly, so be sure to follow along!

     I started by disassembling the old seat cushions using a seam ripper. I wanted to use the old covers as my pattern, and the zipper, foam insert and handles were still in good shape.  Of course, if you're starting with all new materials you'll need to do some shopping.  You'll need a foam insert, 14" zipper (depending on your foam insert size), double-fold seam binding, strap webbing for handles, and oil-cloth.  I bought 1 1/2 yards of cloth, which was more than needed, because I wanted to match the pattern. But, if you select an all-over pattern you won't need to do this. Of course, now I've got lots of scraps for more projects!  And, don't forget to add enough to each side of your square of oil-cloth to wrap half-way down the side of the foam and for the seam allowances.  
So, moving right along, you'll see in the photos above, that I used the original cover as my pattern (I photographed the measurements in case you're starting from scratch!)  Be sure to pin your pattern down in the seam allowance when using oil cloth, because it will leave a small hole.  Now you're ready to cut your pieces, you should have a front, back and pocket piece.  I used a remnant piece in a contrasting fabric to tie in the school colors, but of course you do what you like!  Now, to personalize my cushions a bit more, I added some school letters (simply print off a bold letter style as your pattern, pin to fabric and cut) and the narrow double-fold seam binding along the upper edge of the pocket.  Position the letters at high-center (allowing for wrap and seam allowance) and zig-zag around the edges.  Like any good sorority girl, I learned this technique in college for letter sweatshirts! Just be sure you stop at the corners with your needle down, then lift the presser foot to pivot the fabric.  The completed pocket now gets pinned to one side of the cover (right sides up, not facing!)  Now, insert your zipper.  I like to keep my projects flat as long as possible, so I put the zipper face down and sew using a zipper foot to each unassembled side of the cover. Turn over, and top stitch about an 1/8" from the fabric edge.  You're now ready to affix the webbing sure you don't have a twist! I just zig-zagged across the bottom edge of the webbing, and once again about an inch up from the edge.  At this point turn the whole project right sides together (leave the zipper open so you can flip!), and stitch around the three open sides. Now, the only sort of tricky part to explain is the corner...once side seams are sewn, you will pinch corners flat, and sew across them at a distance of 1 1/2" from the point of the corner.  Once flipped, this creates the box shape of the bottom.  Insert the foam insert, and you're done!  It turned out pretty darn cute don't you think...complete with a pocket for the competition programs.  Be sure to share pictures if you make one for your own team!
You're at the finish line...

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Up-Cycled Denim Table Runner

     I'm the first to admit I have a problem...I can't seem to throw out all those bits of fabric left over from other projects, including all the legs I've lopped off jeans when making cut-off shorts for my daughters.  But, as you'll see in this post I'm really glad I didn't! 
     It all began when we decided to throw a BBQ themed birthday party for my oldest daughter.  Party planning is a favorite around here, and really gets my creative juices flowing.  So, I began where I always do by pulling out all the items we have around the house and barn that tie into the theme and color scheme and see what I'm missing.  In this case, I needed some sort of tablecloth or runner for the table.  Aha!  I remembered I still had all those scraps of denim!
To begin, I cut all the leg sections into 3 1/2" strips hori-zontally using a rotary cutter and a quilting ruler.  Then I simply cut open the loops of denim at one side seam and laid them flat.  Once I had lots of strips (I used 7 or 8 pairs of jeans' legs, but this depends on how big you want your finished piece), I started the assembly with the help of my youngest who's learning to sew, by making long pieces that had each section sewn together at the short cut edge.  As an aside, be sure you use a heavy duty needle for your sewing machine as the seams will be bulky! I also topstitched each seam with gold topstitching thread for that authentic look.  
     You'll see in the photos that I purposely flipped some of the pieces to the reverse side, and off-set the seams when assembling the long strips to each other.  I really like the random pattern and texture it created.  You may need to trim the assembled strips to equal lengths as the initial strips you cut won't be the same length.  As for finishing the edge of your tablecloth or runner, you can either leave it unfinished and frayed, or cover it with some seam binding (Wright's Notions has a denim-look binding at JoAnn's).  



     Below you can see the runner on the table...pretty cute, huh?! And the best part, I didn't have to buy anything but the thread and my scrap bin is just a little bit smaller!