Wednesday, 9 January 2013

The Little Chair

It started with a chair,….a very small chair. This was gifted to my little monster for Christmas and is a really adorable size. It definitely needed some  pretty-fying…some comfy-fying….something squishy for my son to sit upon. Yes my friends….It needed a seat pad!

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Have you ever made a seat pad before?? me neither. So I thought I’d write down the steps as a tutorial of sorts. It is a bit wordy though so if you don’t want to go through the chaos of a Deryn Du make then here is a sneak peak!

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Here’s the story of the little chair cushion

I found some fabric that suited just right – not too childish, not too bright and not too twee. I tend to go for bright rainbow colours but I thought this chair needed something a bit funkier and unique. What do you think of the choices? Cushion Cover Tutorial (3)

My foam seat pad is way to big for the chair so I take a sheet of the free newspaper and fold it to size then simply pin it onto the foam block. No rulers needed. Just fold the paper and pin down.

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Then cut the foam to match your template. A word to the wise here make sure you consider how large you want the pad to be. I made mine to cover the entire seat but the section just under the back of the chair doesn't need to be covered. So once you have your template to fit your chair then chop up the foam. I tried scissors, rotary cutter and in the end found a razor blade actually worked the best but the edges weren't always the neatest! Go for as neat as you can get it and remember that you are going to cover it so a super smooth finish is  not necessary! Trim

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Trim down any large bits that got missed on the edges and then try in on the chair for size.

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Now you can reuse your paper template to cut two squares of fabric which will be the front and back of your fabric (if you’re doing a circle cushion then go for circles!!). I left a 1/2 inch seam allowance and actually went against my ‘wing it’ instincts and marked it out in biro before I cut them out.

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Next up you need to measure the depth of the foam pad. An envelope cushion just isn’t going to cut the mustard here. My foam  pad was 1 1/2 inches deep so I went for 2 1/2 inch strips. If you have enough fabric to make it all the way round the cushion in one go then go for it! I had to piece mine as the colour I had chosen just didn’t have the width. Check it goes round. If you don’t want a zip fastening then it should go all the way round and then you can skip down to the sewing up. I've e opted for a zip as I am sure small fingers are sticky fingers and SPILLAGE is my boys middle name these days making washing a must! If you are going to add a zip then you need your strip to cover three sides and have a bit of seam allowance

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The next stage is to make the zip fastening. The trick here i found is to have two strips for the length to that you don’t have to worry about seam allowances. Zips can be fiddlesome things! I must confess that before I throw any clothing that isn't good enough for charity I snip out the zips so for this project I dragged out an old cushion cover zip and removed the old material. Make sure your zip will be big enough to fit the cushion through.

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Look closely at the photo above and you’ll see I marked out the beginning and end of the zip closure for my cushion. I don’t have a snazzy fabric pen yet so I just used biro. Now to sew the Zip there are some great tutorials on the net. I just ironed the seam allowance of my two fabric strips then sewed each one onto a side of the zip. You open the seam out to sew it so that when you fold it back it looks mice and neat and covers the stitching.

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I am no genius when it comes to zips and I forgot all about having a zipper foot but do you know what? everything is salvageable and doesn’t have to be great first time…The first sewing of the zipper was too far from the teeth so when I turned it over the zip was still visible. So I went back to the sewing machine and stitched it closer. It was easier as the zip was already in place and no one is any the wiser (so long as they don’t read this!). Sew in two horizontal lines where you want the zipper to start and stop.



Turn the zipper over and it magically looks like this!

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Now is the time to trim down the depth of your zipper section to match the other strips (I didn’t do this and it leads to a lot more confusion! Sew together all the side pieces to make a tube and check the fit on your foam pad. If it needs tweaking just sew the seams closer.I forgot all about needing ties at this point and sewed the whole lot together. So if you are suing ties don’t forget to sew them in  as you go. If you are a numpty like me and forget then don’t worry There is hope!

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I was so proud of my zip and the fit that it took a while before I realised the mistake of no ties. I got some binding tape and folded it right sides together  and sewed down to create a tube. I then cut it into four equal lengths and sewed one end of each to create a nice finish. To turn them out I actually found using a pliers the easiest way! but however you do it turn all four pieces right side out and iron.


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If you have forgotten to add them like me then just get your seam ripper and make a small hole in the seam. Just big enough for the ties. Poke them through and then just re-sew over your seam. Good dodge!

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Admire the fact that you have gotten away with it and check the fit!

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Now to add the front and back panels. Put the side panel on the foam wrong side out then lay the front fabric on the pad. I pinned it to the side panel but I think a better and easier finish could have be done by actually hand basting the fabric.

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Sew all the way around. The corners are fiddly and I’m sure there is a way of improving them. I just sewed up to the seam allowance left my needle down and rotated the fabric creating a little pleat. This worked well for the top panel but not as well for the underside.

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Check the fit and give yourself a clap.

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Repeat the process but only pin THREE sides (you have to get the pad out somehow and pins aren't sturdy enough to take the battering of squeezing the cushion in and out. Also remember to UNZIP the zipper!!

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Sew around the edges, turn right side out and then check the fit…..this isn’t quite the Ta Daaah! I was happy with the front fit

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The other side however needed some work. Can you see how it gets baggy towards the right? The bottoms corned also looked a but too puckered to live with…The side panel on that side was also noticeably narrower. I think as you only pin three sides its easy to go astray with the final fit.

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So i turned the cover inside out again and rectified a bit of sewing. The corner was down to a wonky seam and some fudged folding so a bit of un-picking and a small re-sew and it was acceptable

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I ripped the side seam where it had gone wonky and sewed closer to the edge. While this released the green fabric and made my side wider the back panel was still baggy so I folded it over on itself and sewed it along the new seam seam so the panel was adjusted without messing with the depth of the green side panel

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Once you are completely happy with the fit and all the tweaks have been made then trim up the cotton ends (especially those near the zip) and Ta Daaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah!

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I am super pleased with the results and earned myself a cookie by tidying away so that after all this sewing my workspace looked like this!

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1 comment:

  1. I love this little chair! Cuteness for a little bum! It looks very comfy.
    A suggestion: try to use a carving knife when cutting foam I believe you can get smooth edges that way.
    More impressive is the tidy space you left behind! Keep up the good work crafter!