Friday, May 28, 2010

What's Wrong With This Picture, II

Ahh, Minnesota. Land of ten thousand lakes, the call of the loon near the shining Big Sea water.

The ice cold St. Louis River tumbles over shale rock and has plenty of walleye, northern pike, muskies, small mouth bass and...  

... a recliner in the middle of nowhere.  Actually just before you enter Jay Cooke State Park.  In case anyone wants to  wade out there through the weeds to retrieve this beauty and take it home with them.  Or sit and take a load off.  And look, it's one of those horrible mauve velveteen overstuffed things, with the drapey attached pillows over arms and back.  Unbelieveable.  One day, Planet Earth is just going to give a mighty shrug to rid itself of pesky man who continues to litter all over everywhere with his/her trappings of so-called comfort and convenience.

Or how about an early misty morn in Minneapolis, contemplating a lovely pile of trashed furniture.

Are kidding me? An Eames chair unceremoniously dumped. It's looking at us. It looks like the robot maid in the Jetson's. The other one's not too bad either, in an 80's mod kind of way. Upholstered arms and legs, all 90 degree angles, could do, could do..

This perfectly-fine-to-fix black rattan (I forgot the brand, this picture is a few years old), chucked in Bryn Mawr alley.

And one more tasty tidbit to leave you with - these just found recently - another Parking Lot Abandonment case, this one in St. Paul. Now here's a couple of keepers for sure.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

What's Wrong With This Picture, I

These came to me recently from a designer who's client insisted on using an upholsterer of their own choosing. It was not known to me if they'd had a long history with said upholsterer, or if they were less expensive, or simply chosen because they were near the client's residence. Whatever the reason, the results were not great, and the designer said fear not, I'll see if my upholsterer (who is me) can fix them. I never saw the frame of this Baker sofa , but I was to tackle the uneven welt on the cushions and bolsters, tighten up the top and bottom plates of cushions (they "wrinkled" when sat upon, complained the client) and make all nice again. The fabric to deconstruct the cushions and salvage what I could - a gorgeous raw silk that hadn't been backed the 1st time, and a 3 yard remnant knit-backed, I set about to see what I could do.

They had caught extra fabric in the sewn seams and let them leave the work room like that. Without cutting the welt cording material on the bias, they'd also sewn the fiber of cord into seam, causing a great deal of puckering and wavery lines of uneven width. And what's with the black zipper against a light colored fabric?

The seams were not a consistent 1/2", because of running over the fiber cord and when the straight-grain corded welt didn't want to make a nice smooth circle, they sought to ease the seam by clipping. This doesn't work real well. A lot of people quote lesser amounts of yardage required and cut welt with the grain, and in a pinch, maybe - and okay for squares and straight edges, but not circular shapes or "T" or "L" cushions. You should just figure the extra necessary to bias cut your welt'll be glad you did. Still, some people don't like to do it.

Ah, that's more like it...

You should be able to crimp the welts circle like a pie crust into the sleeve of an already zipper-applied tube that is your bolster - without slashing the seam allowance for ease.

Begin pinning at 4 quarters of circle - east, west, north and south. If you've measured correctly it'll fit perfectly and you won't have to adjust a thing. The crimping kind of puffs the bolster's ends out and accomodates a larger-than-finished feather down cushion just right. You'll have a beautiful round bolster. And a similar colored zipper is always a good idea, unless something is absolutely not going to show.

Nice if the bolster tube will kind of stand on it's own at the machine plate - then there's no poking or prodding, only smooth guiding that results in a perfect bolster.

If you've sewn your welt cording on first, make sure that you sew just inside of your previous stitch - this way it won't show when you turn bolster right-side-out.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

My Enemy - Compound Curves on Antique Settee

Rough several hours on this darling antique settee, that on first glance, didn't appear to need all that much work and and for it's size, certainly no brain-teaser. WRONG!

I should have known. Tim from Prairie Woodworking stopped in and supplied me with the jargon I didn't know, but was well acquainted by this point with the physical difficulty of asking a diagonally woven and heavily printed cotton, to biasly go where it didn't want to go, then back and under and over itself again. No ordinary fabric either, but pattern "Granada" from Fortuny.. Fabric challenges aside, 1st a look at the Dry Wood of the Ages dilemma...

I was going to have to fill the holes and splintered off areas with a mix of glue and sawdust, to give myself new surface to staple into, otherwise they won't hold. So many reupholstering's down thru the ages make for a very holey frame. And very dry this one.

I put the curled hair pad (seat) back on then hand sew it to new burlap and webbing. Then cover with new muslin because the old one was shot. The inside back doesn't get 1/2 the wear and tension that a seat does, so I did not disturb it and it's webbing was okay.

I didn't know the stretcher piece that gets sewn to the bottom of the inside-back plate was cut with a curve (to allow more stretching or bias) and pleated then stapled to back rail, so that it would smoothly follow the compound curves, (which if you click the above link you'll know is "a curve made up of two arcs of differing radii whose centers are on the same side, connected by a common tangent" - huh?). Well, the first stretcher I cut and sewed did not stretch and I tore the Fortuny!! AAARhhhMadness! Luckily this big piece could be used on the outside back, because I did not have any extra to spare and could have been a very costly mistake.

Those two pictures literally give me a cold sweat just to look at them. I place them here for all to know - I make mistakes, but in the end - I fix them! I vow to let nothing leave my workroom that doesn't exceed the last perfect job that went out...well, that's the goal anyway. Next post: correcting a job that was allowed to leave someone else's workroom, less than perfect.

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...