4/1/10 - 5/1/10

Main Posts Background Image

Main Posts Background Image


How to Re-Cover Couch Cushions (includes the world's best sewing technique ever!)

 It's Frugal Friday at Shabby Nest...a blog with a long list of great ideas for your home every Friday! Be sure to visit! This is my entry for the blog hop. Enjoy!   

And a Special Welcome to visitors from Wardrobe Refashion...the best blog for Frugal Sewing I've ever seen! If you love to sew...you have got to go see what their community is posting. It's sewing heaven!

The best barter I ever made was between Angela Frye at Large Order of Fryes (darling blog!!)and I. My DH had been on the road for months and had no time to do car repairs and we couldn't roll the window up and down on the left with the little electronic button.   She asked if I would consider a trade. Her DH would fix my car door and I could re-cover her bay window couch cushion.

I had never done one in my life..but I've never turned down a challenge...So, with warnings not to expect too much in the way of 'quality work' I agreed.  It was a great lesson in covering couch cushions!  I'm so glad she asked me because the experience I got from doing it cross-applied to so many things.

Getting Started
So...you really think you want to do this? Okay... Then I will share with you what I know about re-covering couch cushions, but be ready to roll up your sleeves!. I only got a tiny peek in a re-upholstery book in the bookstore one day, as we were heading out the door but that peek has revolutionized the way I sew! The principle of just covering this one cushion, can help you do so many creative things!

Just for starters, you can use this same basic principle, to alter mostly made dresses to fit you perfectly. (Leave the sleeves for last.) You can alter skirts to fit you just the way you like.You can slip cover just about anything! I covered a book shelf shaped like a podium with black poplin. I put a velco flap in the back. It looked so good that my husband's company used it as a podium for demonstrations at their annual oil convention.  The front was curved and the back was flat. It fit that shelf like a glove!You can make fabric covers for portable table tops too. 

Note: Be sure to use either upholstery thread or machine quilting thread...something durable or doulbe stitch every seam. Do that anyway! There will be a lot of stress on the seams.
The basic idea is to pin pieces of fabric that are the general size and shape of the item's various planes on wrong side out.  Pull the pinned cover off, sew up the seams (leaving an opening) and when you put it back on right side out, it will fit...to a T!  I love love love this sewing technique!!
I'm not a professional, but I did re-cover the bay window cushion pictured just above and included piping. It was my first time to do it ever! And I've done four cushion covers so far for my mother, so I hope these pictures will help you. 
FIRST,  take good pictures of every little detail of the existing old cover that you are trying to replace. How is the zipper installed? Are there flaps covering the ends? How do they stitch it? How do they reinforce the seams? Do they use piping? Believe me--once you rip the pieces apart, you will not remember how they went together! If you skip this step, you WILL kick yourself! Don't blame me :o)  if you get in hurry and decide not to take pictures. I did warn you! :o)
 Rip the whole cushion cover apart. Be careful to save the zipper 
and any other construction pieces that were used.

Lay out the pieces on your fabric and pin just like you would a pattern. 
Be sure to cut enough of each piece.

Then cut out the pieces.

First we will sew the lengthwise seam that we will be attaching the zipper to.  
Measure how wide the seam allowance is.

Fold the largest piece of fabric in half with the right sides together. 

Pin that far from the raw edge of the fabric. 

Stitch with a basting stitch.

Open out the seam allowance.

Press flat.

Now lay the zipper right side down against the wrong side of the cushion cover  
matching the teeth with the seam that you just basted and pin in place.  Then hand baste in place.

On my cushion, they made the zippers extra long. 
About 2 inches of both ends of the zipper hung off each end.

Now remove the pins and change to a normal stitch lenghth. 
Top stitch the zipper in place making sure to stitch an even distance from the seam on both sides. 

Note: You will eventually have to move the zipper pull to stitch all the way to the end on both sides.  Be sure to stitch from the same direction both times so that you don't end up with puckers!

Now rip out the basting stitches so that the zipper shows from the outside.

Next, turn the cushion cover,  which is still just a tube with a zipper in it, wrong side out again.
I keep the zipper closed and push and pull until I get the cushion worked all the way into the cover and it is smooth and even on both ends.

Turn the cushion on it's end and lay one of the end pieces on top of the foam. 

Pin evenly left, right, top, bottom, alternating each time, until the whole end piece is pinned to the side tube.
I usually pin about a half to 5/8 of a seam depending on how much excess there is. Don't take up too much seam allowance not allowing enough for the other end.

Now pin the other end in the same way. You may have to adjust the pins on both ends 
to make the seam allowances even.   Now hand baste both ends and remove the pins.
 You are almost done!! Great job! 

Here comes the tricky part. Open up the zipper and I know it's hard to do when the zipper pull is facing the inside of the cover.  Now push and pull on the cushion to get one end out. Once you do that, the rest of the cushion will come out pretty easily. If I don't baste first, I almost always have to re-pin a few pins that come loose in the process.

Now, stitch the end pieces onto the cushion tube taking the seam allowance you pinned. In this picture, I had not yet thought to baste. It made the ends pucker sometimes, because it's so hard to turn corners and not lose the pins! You will get much better results if you hand baste first . Stitch all the way around once.Then stitch again about an 1/8 inch away for reinforcement.

Now turn the cover right side out and insert the cushion. Beautiful!!

Here are some more views. If you have any questions about your particular cushion, just send me a picture and I will give you my advice.  I will be doing some cushions with those end flaps on them next week and will post and addendum to this tutorial.
Wow! Three down and nine more to go! Have a great weekend!  

Don't forget that there are two more days to enter my Followers Are Special GiveAway! Click  HERE for more details. Winners of signed copies of  The Artistic Mother by Shona Cole and The Ultimate CheapSkate by Jeff Yeager will be announced on May 1st.

Happy Sewing!


Readers’ Q and As: Discerning Your Child's Natural Gifts and Abilities

Every day I get a question or two that I think deserves a ‘public’ response. Today’s post will answer one of the best questions I received over this last week or two. I love a good question or thoughtful comment!

Q: Caroline asked: How do you figure out what your child's giftings or ‘natural abilities’ are?   
Caroline from Church Sexy was responding to my article: Making Time for Your Kids.  I don't have any scientific answers for this question. I can only tell you that I've been very purposeful in trying to figure that out for each of my children from a very early age.

A:Watch them at Play
The easiest way to tell is to watch them play. What sort of pretend games do they like? What do they like helping you do?  My youngest child’s first word was ‘ball’. The neighbors regularly had to rescue their basketball from our yard. He could dribble very well at the ripe old age of 2!  Computer games were also very telling to me when my children were young. Matthew liked war games, planes and drawing.  He’s now a Marine and also learned to fly Soar Planes in high school. Andrew liked Zoo Tycoon and Pizza Tycoon etc. He is now a business major and worked at a bank for his first job. But he also loved  raising bugs and animals, cooking and fishing. Rebekah wanted the PetZ series and Horseback riding games.  She learned ride horses and competed and she also worked at dog kennels and pet stores. Watching them play is the quickest way to figure out their what they will one day be 'good' at.
 family photos debate and basketball 013
Also, what do they draw and how do they do it? Some of my kids were obviously artistic (we come from a long line of artists), but Jacob's drawing was on a first grade level at ten! He was really dyslexic and didn't learn to read until he was almost ten. He spent all his spare time playing with beanie babies and Betty Luken Felt books. He played for hours in an imaginary world all his own. He didn’t want to be called Jacob. His name was lizard…or frog.  Most interesting though were his drawings which were extremely poor and childish, but very detailed.  They were full of stick men doing all sorts of interesting things.  It would take him an hour to ‘explain’ his story. In spite of his poor drawing, I eventually realized that he was a true story teller. It didn't matter that he couldn't write well or spell. He was a writer in the making!  He actually told me, only a year ago, that he used the felt figures and beanie babies to make up stories in his head.

He loved adventure so much that one year for Christmas, he said he wanted ‘adventure’. Go figure that one out! We got a play fort for him because I couldn't think of anything else to do…it was perfect!  What will he do one day? He wants to go into law enforcement preferably with the DEA..or he may join the French Foreign Legion. I do my very best not to panic!!!  He’s also one of the top ranking debaters in the NCFCA league. Well, there’s no question he will get some adventure and I expect we will get some novels out of that boy too. He has several in progress as we speak. (I weaned him on Dickens and Louis L'Amour novels--books on tape.) As a side note, he just got into the Honor Society by testing in the 92nd percentile with 34th percentile spelling...that meant everything but the spelling had to be in the 98th percentile! He was determined...and he did it!
National Open  Colorado Awards 009
Quiet Children….
But that only covers the surface. Andrew was always doing whatever we did and it eventually became obvious that he didn’t like drawing, Legos, or even pretend games. He liked people. I couldn’t figure out for the life of me what sort of hobby he needed.  It finally hit me one day, when he was cuddling with me, that he was a nurturer. He needed something to cuddle. Up to that time we had no pets, but I begged Tim to get him one. He was like a kid in a candy shop--totally enthralled. He eventually went on to design habitats, breed mice to see if he could change their color etc.  He just loves animals, so we joined a wildlife rehab group at one point and he volunteered with adopt-a-pet at one time. He also adores fishing and did well because he focused on their habits and habitat.  I hope this gives you a good idea of what I mean. Really, playing is where children express themselves. 
Help them explore options with good books, supplies, videos, and field trips.
We, as parents, have to be good listeners. When your kids say, “I want to be….” Do you say, “Oh that’s sweet deary…go comb your hair.”  It’s too easy to brush off those little comments…but I never did. Help them explore those options! Get toys to let them practice what they think they want to be. Buy the dog, or the juggling balls, or make them their own cookbook like I did for Andrew at the age of nine. (He also loved cooking. :o)  Find how to videos. Take them to airports like I did for my son.  Get musical instruments on Ebay or Craig's list and have them handy!   

Be sure to try out lots of different arts and crafts and watch videos about musicians, ballerinas, doctors and artists.  The library is just chock full of material and books to help your children find out what it is they love. As you give them the raw materials..they will begin to show what they like… 
hair cutting 2

The Critical Years: Middle School Age
I have noticed an amazing phenomena and have corroborated this with a friend, a teacher, pastor, and statistician, who had eight children who are all now grown. We were so worried about our oldest who was  in tense and hyperactive beyond description. Mike told us that pre-teens will develop an intense passion…for something! This is when it is most important that you take those, “I’d like to try…” statements! You want them focused on something.  They have the ability to digest adult reading materials and will collect data like an obsessed person!  Haven’t you met kids who could recite every movie or baseball statistic none to man? He told us to do everything we could to get him started on something..anything...constructive or the things he chose would end up being destructive.  Some kids are just like that. So we did..

Do we really want them putting all their energies into following the lives of the rich, wild, and famous? 
If you do it right, you can get them focused on horse back riding, debate, acting, or science instead. Your job will be practically done!They will go after their passion with an intensity that will amaze you!And if you keep track of their hours spent, and they are using adult library and internet materials., you could easily document 1-2 high school credits! High school work done in junior high counts towards high school.  Keep an activity log of their hours spent reading, writing, volunteering, doing projects, etc on their passions.  (This link leads to all the home school forms I made for SCCHE)It takes 185 hours to make a Carnegie credit. In four to five years of pursuing a hobby, you will certainly accumulate that.
Kids in Germany 
A True Story…
When my oldest son, Matthew, was 11, he met a little boy who had just been adopted by our pastor. This boy was a Russian and he had lived on the streets and been horribly abused, so much so, that he lost an eye which had to be replaced. Matthew made friends with him immediately and wanted to talk to Alex so badly that he started trying to teach himself Russian. In the process of learning to communicate with Alex, he fell in love with the Russian language. Someone at church gave him a little Russian/English bible and a cheap language course…sort of a travel phrases book. Matthew dove into it with all the passion an eleven year old can muster!  Later we bought an adult course and he studied it regularly all through junior high and high school. I drove him 45 minutes every Saturday to visit some dear friends who had a college age exchange student from Russian living with them. She listened to Matthew talk, corrected his accent etc. We even explored trying to get involved in visits with a local Russian community in Houston. 

Don't let them give up!
The first time Matthew took the aptitude test in the Marines for Russian he failed it. It is the most difficult test you can take. He did score a 97 on the ASVAB…it covers normal subjects plus electronics, mechanics, and physics. Being a pilot—he was also obsessed with planes—he had studied all of these things. He couldn’t fly because his eyesight was so bad, but three years later, he took the language aptitude test and passed! It’s the highest paying position you can get as an enlisted person. I was so thrilled that he made it!! He whizzed through the language school and speaks fluent and flawless Russian. He named his third son, Nikolai, to celebrate. I’m designing a baby quilt using Russian toys.  Remember, he was only eleven when he first started collecting little Russian phrases in a tiny little pocket notebook…. 

Matthew, A Russian Translator for the Marines, with sister, Rebekah, at her Graduation

Help your children follow their dreams!! Even if they don’t seem to make sense at the time. :o) You never know where their crazy ideas will take them. :o) And best of all, by the time they hit college, they will be much more likely to know what they want to do with their life. And they are much less likely to have gotten into trouble because they were caught up in passions  and wasteful activities that are less than healthy…  For more ideas on this topic, read The Creative Home, an earlier post. 


An Absolutely Lovely Mother's Day

Do you have a picture in your mind of the 'perfect' Mother's Day? Well, I can assure you that I do! Is there any mother who doesn't?  My perfect Mother's day would start out like this...

I'd like to have a lovely breakfast out on the deck in the the morning....

and of course I'd like some flowers...like the ones Rebekah arranged for me yesterday...

Walk in the Woods by Christian L. Rodgers

In the afternoon, we could go for a walk in the woods--You never know what you will find around here...

And of course...I don't want to cook. That goes without saying. I'm sure Tim or Rebekah could grill some steaks or chicken for us...

And I might could even talk Rebekah into making us some chocolate covered strawberries... She could just click here for easy instructions for how to do the whole meal  Hint...hint...

Between the whole family efforts, I think we could have a lovely Mother's Day dinner...

And after the dishes are done...(not by me of course! :o)  then we could spend the evening playing board games....

And after the kids were off to bed...we could watch my favorite movie, "Miss Potter"...It's not a movie about motherhood in particular...It's for any woman... It's all about romance, art, imagination, beautiful English countryside vistas, writing, children's story books and even dancing... It does have a great lesson for mothers though..to believe in your children's dreams and giftings. Even your youngest children would love this movie. :o)

And that would be the perfect ending to my perfectly lovely... Mother's Day...

 What would make your Mother's Day....just about perfect?

Happy Mother's Day!

PS. Don't forget about my great Followers Are Special Giveaway. Click on the sunflower on the sidebar. I'll be announcing the two winners on May 1st.  The Artistic Mother and The Ultimate Cheapksate are the prizes!

“There's nothing half so pleasant as coming home again.” ~ Margaret Sangster

Friends of Comin' Home

Thanks for visiting!

Search This Blog


Copyright Comin'Home 2020. Powered by Blogger.

Error 404

The page you were looking for, could not be found. You may have typed the address incorrectly or you may have used an outdated link.

Go to Homepage