Reupholstery Part II: Deconstruction

So, I know this seems like a big daunting project. You might have a piece (or pieces) of furniture you have been wanting to reupholster for years. You can do this. Seriously, you can. There is actually very little sewing involved and you get to use a Staple Gun, so that’s something. Don’t worry about all the steps, just methodically go through one step at a time and you can do it!

IMG_2120

Once again, I’m no expert, and truly there are TONS of great tutorials out there on the right way to upholster/reupholster furniture. I would recommend reading a few of them and even watching some YouTube videos before you start. My purpose, and what I want to leave you with, is  to show you that if I can do this project, so can you!

So, we’ve gathered out tools and materials, given ourselves a little pep talk, and it’s time to get underway. Yay!

1.  Take pictures of your chair. Every angle you can think of. Pay special attention to different seams, and connection points. When you go to reassemble your chair, you will find yourself asking, now how did “they” do that again? If you document it well, this current piece of furniture is the best tutorial you could ask for.

IMG_2129  IMG_2123   IMG_2134

2. As you take pictures of your chair, conduct a careful inspection and figure out what the last piece on was. Depending on your chair, it could be mesh on the underside, it could be the skirt (which was how mine was), or it could be the back panel. Whatever the last piece on was, will be the first piece off.

IMG_2118   IMG_2125

3. Deep breath, it’s go time! Figure out how to remove that piece that you determined was the last one on. It might be stapled or “they” might have used a metal piece called Pli-Grip (see pic below). For staples, I mostly used the flathead screwdriver and sometimes the mallet and/or pliers to get these out. I kept a small Tupperware container next to me to put all the removed staples in. If they used Pli-Grip, use your screwdriver to pry it away from the chair and then screwdriver/pliers to remove the tacks or staples used to keep the Pli-Grip in place.

IMG_2126   IMG_2128

4. As you remove each piece, take a Sharpie and label the crap out of it. I wrote what the piece was, right, left, top, bottom, etc. Again, the better you document now the easier it is going to be to reassemble it correctly later. IMG_2176   IMG_2171

5. Continue taking pieces off and labeling and taking pics. I also kept a list of the order I removed things, because again, the order you remove things, informs how you put it back together just in reverse. Keep everything, any little cardboard strips, piping, etc. Again, all important. Have I said that too many times?? 🙂

You will literally remove a kajillion staples. Yes, a kajillion. It may seem like the process will never end. But don’t worry, when you feel like you could build your house with number of staples you have removed, you are almost there. 🙂

–h

Monster’s Inc. Boo Halloween Costume – Part III

The long-awaited and much-anticipated final post on Kyrie’s Halloween costume is in!! I know, pins and needles, right?

Teeth, check.
Hood, check.
Now onto the body!

Ok, so I really had to think through the design and construction of this costume. One sleepless night, and I had a plan! It would have been easier if I didn’t want to finish the inside, but I want Kyrie to be comfortable so it just took a little extra brain power to get it right. One thing to note, you don’t actually need three pieces for the body, I was going to put a zipper in the back and after I cut out my pieces I remembered that the hood is attached to the back, so the closure will need to be at the side-seams. Typical me. Oh-well, live and learn. 🙂

Back:
So, I started by just closing that center back seam. You can baste the batting and exterior (purple) fabric together. Then, right purple sides together, sew, trim, press. Then separately (because I want a finished interior) sew the right sides of the exterior (gray) fabric together.

Then right side purple to right side gray, sew one side seam starting 1/2″ from the top (don’t forget the arm hole). This seam will be a finished edge with Velcro to attached the front to the back. Trim, clip curves, turn out and top stitch. Leave the other side unfinished at this point.

IMG_3899     IMG_3901    IMG_3902

Front:
Next, I did the Velcro edge of the front of the costume. Same process. Baste batting to purple fabric. Right sides of purple to right side of gray sew one side seam (the one that meets up with the back of the costume). Again, make sure to do the arm hole. I added an extra half-inch to the “depth” location of the arm hole to allow for the overlap of the Velcro. It’s kinda hard to explain, hopefully this picture helps. Trim, clip curves.

IMG_3906

Now for the top edge of the front of the costume. Don’t forget to insert the teeth between the gray and purple fabric. Then then sew along the top edge of the costume, ending about ¾ of an inch from the unfinished side. Trim, Press. Turn out and top stitch both side and top seams. Next top stitch a channel (3/4”)  into the top front of the costume for another piece of boning. Slip the boning in.

IMG_3909

Next, I connected the front of the costume to the back. This is just a little tricky with finishing and the arm holes. Baste purple fabric to the batting. Purple side to purple side, stitch the side seam before and after the arm holes. Do the same with just the gray fabric. You will now have finished edges other than the arm holes. You can press the seam allowance on the arm holes, clipping curves, and then top stitch the purple to the gray giving you a finished arm hole.

IMG_3933

Next, I top stitched four rows into the body of the costume. I just took the length and divided out four equal sections (taking into account the seam allowance for the bottom). I measured carefully and marked my lines with pins and stitched.

IMG_3935

At this point I sewed on the Velcro to the front and back Velcro edges. Be sure to do the back side of one and front side of the other. I did the back-side of the front and the front-side of the back. Now how’s that for a sentence. 🙂

IMG_3941

Almost finished!! Next attach the  bottom. First baste together your layers. I just did purple, one layer of batting, and then gray. This is one seam I didn’t worry about finishing on the inside, it’s just too difficult to get to by hand, and really doesn’t matter. So right side of the costume to right side of the bottom piece, stitch.

IMG_3883

This can be a little difficult because you are sewing a circle to a rectangle, but take your time, it is possible. Remember that the Velcro edges will need to overlap as well. Trim edge, clip curves, and turn out.

Confession: I ended up sewing this piece and ripping it out four times. Yes, four. It seems like when I’m almost done with a project, I do something to make life more difficult. First time, the piece was a little too big. Second time, still too big. Third time, I sewed wrong side to right side. Fourth time – success! Seriously, it doesn’t matter the project, something always gets me. 🙂 My message to you, measure carefully!

Anyway, exciting, it’s really starting to look like a little Boo monster, almost done!!

Monster's Inc Boo Halloween Costume

Next, I attached the hood to the back of the costume. Sew right sides of the purple side only together, you want to leave the gray out so that you can hand finish that edge. Trim and press the seam. Wait to finish the interior.

IMG_4067

Now we need the finishing touches. Boo’s monster has googly eyes and mop like hair. Styrofoam balls, pipe stem cleaners, floral wire, and some cording accomplished that. The Styrofoam balls I picked were too big, like really too big, so I had to go back and buy smaller, lighter ones.

Finally, hand tack the hood lining along the center back seam and hand sew the seam between the of the hood and the gray back lining.

IMG_4093

Voila, we have a sweet little Boo! It’s far from perfect, but it was sewed with love (and actual blood and tears – see Part II).

Happy Halloween! In case you missed them, here are Part I and Part II.

–h

IMG_4123

 

Nailed it! Monster’s Inc. Boo Halloween Cotume — Part II

Ok, so I have to thank my brother-in-law for this blog title and no, I’m NOT trying to brag.

So… I was working hard to finish the Boo costume in time for Halloween when tragedy struck! I went to sit in the folding chair I had next to my work table, sorta missed it, it folded, and I fell through it pinching my upper arm and ripping off my entire ring-finger nail (like down to underneath the skin).

Yah, gross.

1 quick trip to the ER to “fix” my nail and back to work. That’s what we call sacrifice and commitment to a project, right?? And, like my bro-in-law said, I am “nailing” this costume!! Seriously, I think these things only happen to me.

Ready to start sewing? Cutting out is my least favorite part of a project, so that’s done. Yay!!

Teeth:
Yes, oddly, I did the teeth first because they will be sewn into the body and the hood. So I just drew myself a simple pattern and cut 20 or so teeth pieces out of some white canvas I had lying around (you could use any white fabric that has some stiffness to it – you don’t want your monster teeth to be wimpy). Right sides together, sew the top and sides. Clip curves, turn out, press. I then top stitched each tooth to finish them off.

IMG_3884

Hood:
Next, I worked on the hood. I added just one thickness of batting to the hood. Layer purple fabric and batting together (baste if you would like) and sew right sides together down the center back. Trim, clip curves, press.

IMG_3890

Then separately, sew the right sides of the gray fabric together down the center back. Trim, clip curves, press.

Then place right sides together of the purple and gray adding the teeth in between (you could baste the teeth to the gray fabric ahead of time) and sew together. Trim, press the teeth down.

IMG_3891

Top stitch along the front edge of the hood. Then, about 3/4 inch from the edge of the top of the hood, top stitch across the face of the hood a channel where you can insert boning to give the hood structure. Slip boning in.

IMG_3892

Set aside. Finishing the hood will be the final step.

Note: In order to get the teeth to stay down like I wanted, I put binding clips on the hood to reinforce good behavior. 🙂

IMG_3893IMG_3894

We’ll finish Boo in Part III. Until then, happy creating!

–h

Halloween: Boo from Monster’s Inc. — Part I

Taking a break from the upholstery project to talk about Kyrie’s first Halloween costume! So so so excited!!

One of my favorite holidays has always been Halloween because I’ve always LOVED playing dress-up. What made it extra special growing up was that my mom made special costumes for us each year. We could be anything we wanted and she would create something wonderful for each of us. To this day, I’m not sure how she did it for three kids, but I’m sure it took many sleepless nights to make sure we were all taken care of. Some of my favorite costumes included a little lady bug, Raggedy Ann, a butterfly, a fairy princess, magician… Seriously, a little girl’s fantasy every Halloween. Thanks Mom!

I cherish those special memories. Now being a Mom myself, I decided that I wanted to continue this special feeling for my Kyrie. I want my little girl to enjoy the world of imagination and possibilities. I want to make memories that will last a lifetime!

Sooo, Kyrie is going to be Boo from Disney’s Monsters, Inc. I thought it would be perfect because she looks like a cute little Boo and Ryan would be a perfect Sulley (we’ll see if that happens). Also, since she won’t actually be trick-or-treating, I thought the little monster costume would keep her warm as we carry her around with her cousins.

I didn’t find too much online to help, and definitely no pattern, so I had to dream it up myself. Let me just preface this by saying, I am no great seamstress. I am largely self-taught and have learned by trial and a whole LOT of error. If you are a master seamstress, please don’t judge too harshly, there probably is a better way, but here’s how I did it…

The Plan:

IMG_3871

Note: I ended up using 4 layers of batting for the body and 1 layer for the hood and bottom.

The Materials:

IMG_3875
Note: Velcro and pipe stem cleaners are not pictured.

Cutting Out:

Cutting out the pieces. You can see the measurements and amounts I used on my plan above. Not an exact science, I just measured Kyrie and added in extra space for seam allowances, the bulk of the batting, and Boo’s costume isn’t snug in the movie, so she needs some comfy wiggle room. That’s how I came up with my sizing. She’s wearing 3 month clothes if that gives some perspective. I also decided that because my exterior purple fabric is a flimsy stretch fabric, I would iron on interfacing to give it some structure. Depending on what fabric you use, you may or may not need to do this too. For the arm holes, I went about 1.5″ from the top edge and used one of her shirts to determine the shape/size.

One final note, I realized after I had cut out my fabric, that I didn’t need to have two pieces for the back of the costume (I’ll explain later) so save yourself some trouble and just cut out two of the big piece.

We’ll talk construction next time, read it here.

–h

Reupholstery Part I: Materials

Ok, so I read a lot of blogs and watched a lot of how-to videos before I got started on my upholstery project. One of the things that felt a little overwhelming was all the different tools/materials you need to get started. Many of which I had never heard of and/or didn’t want to afford.

Well, there is a difference between what you could use vs. what you actually need. You don’t need a pneumatic staple gun, for instance, it’s great if you have one, but an electric one will do just fine.

So here’s what I found I actually needed:

Upholstery2

  • Electric Staple Gun and Staples (I used 1/2″ staples)
  • Rubber Mallet
  • Flathead Screwdriver
  • Needle Nose Pliers
  • Thimble
  • Gloves
  • Curved Needle (not pictured above)

I also found a fantastic book that was my constant companion throughout the entire process. Spruce by Amanda Brown. Not only was this book very helpful and it covers a wide range of different pieces of furniture, but it is also a beautiful book! Highly recommend it!

Upholstery3

 

And finally, my materials. I found a great neutral gray upholstery fabric at Joann’s and Ryan suggested we use white piping (which I made myself, and I’ll explain in a future post).

Upholstery1

So gather your materials, and we’ll cover deconstruction next time.

–h

 

Where should I start? Upholstery!

Hmmm, my first blog post…ever. Where should I start? I’m thinking I will share a recent project that was probably one of the most challenging I have ever tackled.

A few years ago, my sister-in-law and brother were getting rid of an old chair they had in their garage. It was a cute old chair with character, so I thought I would keep it and try my hand at upholstery. Since they were just going to throw the chair away, I figured I had nothing to lose. I also secretly noted that since it rocks it would be perfect for a baby’s room. 🙂

Starting pic:

Best tips for upholstery:

  1. Do not be afraid, you can do it!
  2. Take pictures and document every step of the way. Seriously, you can’t take too many pictures.
  3. Clearly label each piece as you remove it, write where the piece goes, which side is up/down, left/right.
  4. Go for it!

More to come!

–h