Friday, May 29, 2009

In Between....

Couple of things going to journal on a little - would love to have a big project, I have the energy and mind set for it now, (like a couch or two, or a whole room) but these small projects will tide me over until something bigger comes along. (Post Note: Be careful what you ask for! Slammed with work in one day - Posts will be scarce next few weeks). Small straightforward projects that finish in a day or two each, gives an immediate feeling of accomplishment, and the customer is happy that they get their item back so quickly. Or even while they wait, as in the case of Joe Savage's boxed cushion seat top that he uses nightly for playing pedal steel guitar. Must serve doctors and working musicians immediately, as any delay might affect their important schedules!

A slim-lined mid century rocking chair has come in and this will be done in qood order, as I've done a few of these (will post later to show the variety of fabric effects). This one was purchased by client at a garage sale for $3.00 and just think how it's served in it's time and how contemporary it still is. The final bill for this on par with something a person could pick up from Ikea, but it's life span triple, quadruple that of anything from a big box store.

We won't bother with applying decorative tacks to this new covering, they'll just get lost in the pattern and I do love to blindstitch as you can see, I chose to close the back in this way as well. Why riddle the thing with staples? It'll make it that much quicker for the next upholsterer - in 20 years.

A wicker chair probably from the 20's has come in to have a better fitting cushion made for the seat and to upholster the small portion of inside/outside back. A DIY was attempted here, then abandoned as the owner ran out of time to do it themselves and wasn't quite sure how to go about it.

People often ask to repurpose an older textile or something they have around the house for a new upholstery application. I'm happy to oblige when possible. It should arrive clean and ready to take apart or already have been rendered down ready to reuse. One woman gave me a suede skirt of hers to cut up and use as welt cording! I don't mind this at all, if the customer is willing to pay for the extra time it takes to create the desired effect. Here, I'll just find the best sections and use the customer's old softly faded cotton velvet drapes, for a desired "well worn" sculpted cushion and upholstered inside-back for the antique wicker chair.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Susan E. Brown Interiors

Local designer Susan E. Brown presents a workroom with textiles and projects for her clients that even if difficult to handle due to the delicate nature of a given fabric or combination, are so gorgeous to work with that it's easy to get absorbed in color and pattern. Several hours later, the project is finished, delivered to residence, and the result of each new sewn or upholstered project added to her artistic mix is inspiring.

Lovely grounds of Minnesota lake home.

Indonesian, African, North American Native Arts featured throughout home, mixed with specially selected textiles for upholstery and soft accessories. Designers Guild Chittogarh/Ochre embroidered silk pillows with Brunschwig and Fils Marabout Rastignac brush fringe difficult to sew. The thick carpet-like trim with scant 3/8" seam tape all but makes needle and foot of machine disappear.

... a luxurious finished edge.

Beacon Hill's "Bibiana" on two 13th century Chinese chairs.

In the media room, plenty of plush seating for film viewing. "Beanbag" chairs of Bergamo, Kravet Couture and Robert Allen, a short row of theater seats and in the back, a pair of mohair chaise lounges with silk boxed pillows.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Sunbrella and Outdoor Interiors

Time to decorate our outdoor interiors and many of us turn to fabrics we hope will hold up to the elements as they sit exposed outside all day and all night. Sunbrella is a name brand that's gotten regular noun usage over the years, much like Formica and Naugahyde became the catchword for all countertops and vinyls, whether it was the actual company's product or a competitors. What you want is an outdoor fabric that's 100% acrylic polyester or both; mold, moisture, chlorine and UV resistant. Today they come woven and printed in some pretty spectacular patterns, some with such a luxurious hand you won't believe it's the same stuff as good ol' striped awning material or stiff marine covers. I have to admit there is an appeal to the solid color traditionally seen on outdoor furniture like high school-gymnastic-mat blue or forest green awning fabric for that retro look on your old 50's glider...or the widest stripe imaginable on a low slung deck chair. Sure, you can still have that but get some new, why don't you so at least you have something clean this year to start off the next several years of enjoying your outdoor seating. Instead of marine blue you may be tempted by Tangerine. Or instead of black and tan stripe - maybe something more tiki in nature...there's a lot to choose from and as you can see, French styles, Hollywood Regency and iron frames are all the rage and not too hard to find.

Vintage iron furniture in Stillwater. Groundworks Solarium "Floral Tracery" by Lee Jofa.

A variety of methods help keep cushions in place, from tie-backs, D-Rings plus clips, snaps, buttons, loops to hang back cushions on so they don't blow away - many styles can be employed to keep cushions wind-stable.

That last image belongs to a patio grouping pictured below and their cushion mates are stationed up on a second floor balcony.

I love this client's choice of lime with pink and khaki, Sunbrella patterned seating cleverly using the "wrong" side, which is more intensely colored with solid pillows and an Amy Butler-esque print for the small one. I want to include a few scenes from the cool and collected self-designed interior of this client's Cathedral Hill home, she has quite a touch...

One of my favorites, "Hibiscus" from the now discontinued Pindler and Pindler's Lanai Collection. This 2 piece set had been painted and original spring cushions fully restored, was sold and now happily resides at a lovely Kenwood home in Minneapolis.

3-Season Porches throughout the Twin Cities gets their highest use now through October, and many use any fabric that's appropriate for the piece or the owner's delight, such as this Erja Hirvi designed "Lumimarja" by Marimekko on an Edwardian wicker. This one was actually a cotton and curled hair mattress cushion fill, to wear soft and sculpty.

I have many outdoor fabric lines to choose from, and they're usually shipped within a week's time. My sewing machine is eagerly loaded with Anefil outdoor thread and new cushions can be sewn up for you in a matter of just a day or two - depending on how many you have.

Monday, May 18, 2009

More Drop-In Spring Unit Seats

Lots of spring seats lately... 6 more came in and I thought I'd photo and post to help out those who may be attempting a DIY. Most people will go at the simple dining chair pad at one time or another, and they can with good results. Some designs though, have a little cut-out notch in the back that's tricky to work around and you also just want to make sure you layer things up correctly if there are springs, with a new burlap spring cover, original or new felt, straw, or curled hair pad, then fresh cotton.

That greyish wooley lump in there is like a carpet pad or felted material that is still in good shape - these chairs are old, but I don't think they'd had a whole lot of sitting on them. That pad will go back on the new layer of burlap with new cotton over it. The true joy of recycling...being frugal by not spending money on replacing supply that's still good!

All is smoothness.

I like to lay them all out assembly-line style and go to them all at once. Then you have an evenness of hand consistant with each other. Smooth edges is what you want, no finger marks or places evident where you handled it tight here, then slacked off there, just smooth edges. Not easy with exreme slanted sides like these. Some dining are more square and are easier to do - less wrinkles for the Do-It-Yourselfer.

From Start To Finish

Here's a post from a while back that had lost it's image links.  Someone was asking about Cogswell chairs just yesterday, so...