It seems I can add light upholstery to my trade resume…back when Highlands Restaurant first opened the owners asked me to recover some vintage chairs whose seat pads had seen better days and cursed tacks were common place instead of staples. Much dust and surprising combinations of horse hair and hay were under some covers while others were light weight wadding. So interesting to see how different techniques were when these chairs were made. Thankfully this time we were working with new chairs that just needed seat pads to make your dining more comfortable.
Brian had already jigsawed the bases from mdf and bought a few yards of wadding which we decided needed two layers to be cushy enough. I loosely stapled in place to make sure the pattern was square and then stretched tight and stapled the whole way around. Easy Peasy!
I measured an extra inch of wadding around the bases to account for the hard edge of mdf
Assemble your tools! Scissors from a local fabric store, literally called Fabric Store…Staple gun from my local Art Supplies store and IKEA tool set that has so many uses it’ll be the best $7.99 you’ll ever spend.
Loosely stapling in place
Then really staple the crap out of it, pulling tightly as go along alternating opposing corners and sides as you go, and finally trimming edges when you’re sure it’s perfect
Ah, look at that, all stacked up and ready to fit
ta dahhhh (part 2)
You’ll probably see there is space between the pads and the chairs, they were yet to be screwed into place but I was too excited to wait for that…so, go exhaust their extensive scotch list and sit your butt on my chair pads – Highlands Restaurant in the West Village.
I have been a little prolific in the sewing department this past week, I have been thinking about my new wardrobe for summer and in that spirit I’ve been buying pieces and altering them. I got this sweet Tommy Hilfiger shirt only it was too big, so I took it in an inch on each side, removed the sleeves and used them to make some big patch pockets. So satisfying to modify a couple of things on the garment and make it completely different and cooler. I plan on doing some stuff like this to put in the make/match/modify store – stay tuned.
After finishing up the last bag a few days ago, I now give you the new and improved army duffel totes! Each bag is one of a kind and this was both the fun and difficult part. Since no two are the same the difficult part is that it’s not possible to apply the same technique to each which can be slow going, each requires a lot of thought and time as to how they are going to be cut so that whatever markings/stamps are retained, this in turn is also the fun part since there is no repetition to the totes it’s fun to sew each one and see how it turns out. But the basic process is to remove the side strap handle and reposition, make any repairs, and finish any raw edges, add straps, machine wash, dry and wax.
The waxing is a new thing for me and after doing some research found Otter Wax which is an all natural wax that gives a matte finish. What I love about their product is that since you have to work it in with your hands you get the bonus of a paraffin wax spa treatment by the time you’re finished. On Otter Wax’s website The Coveted have posted a tutorial about waxing your jeans, which looked pretty simple and gave me the basic guideline to waxing:
I would say maybe this is accurate for already waxed denim, but for 16oz canvas it needs a lot more work than shown above. For my totes, I put some heavy card inside the bag and passed the wax over a few swipes, worked it in with my fingers til I saw it had spread evenly, then you would turn your hairdryer on high heat and do the same. I waited until I had done an entire bag before applying heat, then it goes in a cool place to cure and set for minimum 24 hours. Rub a chamois over after a few days has passed to collect any residual tackiness.
Here is a few photos along the way of how one of the bags was done and where you can find them – make/match/modify
Mailbag as I bought it, minus the drawstring
Restoring the stamps
And the finished product! (the in-between stages weren’t so photo worthy, but I squared off the bottom, flat felled the seams – you get the picture…)
And then here are a bunch more that I just loaded up as well – all these babies are a snip at $120, with free shipping in the US for one week only!
This is a photo of my mum who after completing her kitchen table in woodshop class I can imagine the scenario was something along the lines of “let’s celebrate and someone take a photo of me reclining elegantly across it”.
Mum is a maker from way back, some of her more memorable projects and careers that have stuck in my head are cheese making, pottery making, renovating several childhood homes with my father, cooking and bottling (preserving) just about anything, artificial breeding technician on cows (I’d forgotten about that one), choral member, musical actor and currently she’s a owned her own restaurant(s) for some 15 years now (Bach on Breakwater yo!). Her general spirit of being interested in many things, of trying anything that comes her way and whether its running a business, trying to beat me in tennis or finding the perfect fudge recipe she does everything at a 110% and taught me to do the same.
Happy Mother’s Day Mum and to all the mothers!
I was looking through the slide show that Fashionista put together of best dressed at the Met Gala and I loved this image of Amy Poehler photoboming Ivanka Trump. Which naturally lead me on a google journey to a photobombing website…
Hmmm, that would be an oxymoron right?? All English Language issues aside, I’ve opened up a vintage store on Etsy that has some of my favourite pieces that I’ve been collecting but haven’t been quite right for me. But may be just perfect for you! As you’ll see, I kind of have a thing for sportswear right now…
I’ll be adding things as I find them, leaving them be or modifying them into something even better!
Rewind your mind back around 6 months to when I posted about making aprons for Whitehall Restaurant in the West Village. Well, it’s summer soon enough and the uniforms for the girls have changed, a gorgeous chambray shift dress and they were in need of a more ladylike apron. My email back and forth with Brian over the course of a week was a loose brief of sexy 60′s housewife. I needed some ideas and looked at stock standard aprons and then got googling for more retro, stylish aprons and then ventured into french maid aprons….
What it turned out to be was a combination of the two. Simple and practical but with feminine rounded curves. I did my best to document some of the process, but was kind of on a deadline so decided to focus on my favourite detail on the apron – the triangle reinforcement on the pockets – I try to incorporate them everywhere somehow, and they are also very useful providing strength at stress points.
Luckily I only went as far as draft 2 – fantastic!
Who needs french curves when you have IKEA?
Ready to cut!
Sewing on pockets
Sewing the pocket divisions
Put a triangle on it!
Steam-Away chalk, or that’s what I’d name it…
Getting the curve even was a matter of careful and intense steaming. Read – I had the iron cranked right up steam pouring out of it and I had to have my fingers so close to the iron that I came up with the genius idea to wear one of my heavy woolen gloves to act as a guard, which more or less worked and made me feel like Michael Jackson’s domestic alter-ego…