Saturday, February 24, 2018

DIY Couch Cushion Fix

Long time, no talk huh? Life has been crazy especially with cold and flu season upon us. I feel like I’m one more sick kid away from making my children leave the house in hazmat suits with a Purell shower waiting at home. 

Anyways, all those sick kids made it woefully apparently our couch wasn’t equipped for long days watching Netflix. Some background on our furniture. We bought a couch and two accent chairs from a local furniture shop about three years ago. The couch and one chair are the “Best Furniture” brand and the other chair is a “Pallister” This post has nothing to do with the Pallister chair. That thing looks amazing apart from cat induced thread pulling. (Cats are dicks) 

However, the other chair and couch did not fair as well in our home. After about a month of owning them, the cushions looked all sorts of lopsided. I contacted the local furniture shop and apparently the long time owner had decided to retire, and they were in the middle of some ownership changes. Translation: no one had any advice or offered any solutions to the lopsided cushions. I supposed that’s one downside of locally owned (although I feel like it’s really the exception not the rule).

Flash forward one year later, and the couch has pretty much fallen apart. The springs in the main part of the couch fell out completely. At that new development, I call the the local furniture shop, and they offered to come look at it. They had completed the ownership change and seemed to have their act (kinda) together at this point. So, they came over, flipped the couch over to look at the bottom, and the frame literally fell apart in their hands. They picked up the pieces and took the entire thing with them. 

They ended up completely rebuilding the frame and brought me back a like new couch....except for the cushions. Those pesky cushions were now out of warranty. I decided before we bought a completely new couch, it was worth trying some DIY on the cushions especially with a completely new frame and fairly nice upholstery. 

The fabric covers were in pretty good shape. The spring cores were surrounded by a foam cover which also seemed to be in pretty good shape. Once I opened up the foam cover, it was pretty clear why they were so uncomfortable. (And every single cushion was like this!)

So each spring has a "pocket" holding it in place which are attached with one another to create a grid of sorts. However, the material that was used to make these "pockets" is the same fabric as those $1.00 reusable shopping bags. In what world would that fabric decision make any sense? Some brilliant guy was like, "Hey, let's save some money and make this with fabric that is $0.01 per yard. I'm sure that cheap fabric will do great under high tension from springs." (Imagine that I am rolling my eyes high enough to make myself dizzy)

At this point I had a couple of different options I considered. I could completely scrap the cheap fabric and attempt to make my own pockets from a much higher quality fabric (I was thinking some sort of home dec fabric I had sitting around). I didn't love this option because it would mean extra sewing and I wasn't real confident in my ability to make them look uniform. I could just try to mend the current crap fabric, but I knew that would only last so long. After playing around with everything, I decided to do a hybrid approach. 

The first thing I did was get all those tangled springs back into a pocket. I used some upholstery thread (translation...higher strength) to hand sew each pocket in order to keep the spring in place. I stabbed myself with a needle about 200 times, but I got it done. 

After each spring was in the correct place, I took a heavy duty corduroy fabric I had sitting around to wrap the springs. Good thing about them being inside the cushion is the color and design of the fabric doesn't matter. My thought was this fabric will keep the springs in place by not allowing them to pop out the top nor out the side. So, I saved myself from making a completely new fabric structure, but still had the entire spring form wrapped in much higher quality fabric. 

After I had the spring forms fixed, I had to put them back into the cushion foam structure. I quickly found that the fabric and foam had been stretched far enough out of shape that the spring form wasn't enough to fill the space. I grabbed a bunch of batting and shredded foam to refill around the spring form. I put the batting around the spring form so you wouldn't feel the springs and then used the shredded foam around the sides of the spring form to fill out the cushions. 

Over-all the project wasn't too bad. I only had to buy the batting and foam which was around $50.00. I had the thread and fabric already. It took me about one night of three or so hours of work to get one cushion done. I had four cushions total to fix, so in about a week I had the couch in tip top shape. 

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Monday, October 30, 2017

DIY Candy Corn Dress

Halloween is just around the corner, so I thought I would share a project from a couple of years ago. Okay, it's actually from 6 years ago. Which I find completely unbelievable since it means my eldest daughter wore this dress when she was the size of my youngest. I may have just grown a grey hair as I typed that.

It also means that I have been blogging for over 10 years now. I pulled up the old post and the pictures and formatting are terrible. I decided to repost everything and see if I can make it look a bit more pulled together. So hopefully the instructions still make sense, and you can enjoy my recycled post. I promise to have some new content in the next couple weeks. :)

Hello There!

I have been on a craft spree over the past few days. I think I made a couple of projects to last the next couple of weeks of DIY Sundays. :)

This one got moved to the top of the list because it's Halloween themed!

I don't make clothes as a general rule. I never seem to get them right, so I don't bother. However, when I saw the candy corn pillowcase dress, I thought I would give it try. There aren't any instructions on how to make it, so I thought I would "wing" it. I grabbed a pillow case I had sitting around and used the measurements from it to get what I needed and set to work. I'm pretty excited about how to turned out!


Orange Fabric (I got a half yard of each color, but I have a ton left over. You could definitely get by with a 1/4 of yard. Although since I had a 1/2 yard and that's about how wide a pillow case is, I used the finished edge as my hem. Less sewing then!)
Yellow Fabric
White Fabric
Some Fabric or Ribbon for the Tie (I used ribbon because I couldn't find a fun pattern fabric in Orange I liked)
Sewing Machine

Approximate Cost: $6.00


Step One: Cut Your Fabric

FYI: I made my dress to fit a 18 month old. You will need to make two cuts for each color.

The yellow fabric will need to be cut in these dimensions: 19 inches long and 4 inches wide.
The orange fabric will need to be cut in these dimensions: 19 inches long and 6 inches wide.
The white fabric will need to be cut in these dimensions: 19 inches long and 9 inches wide.

Hint: If you do have a half yard of the yellow, fold it over in such a way that you have two finished edges as the bottom. This will prevent you from having to hem the bottom of the dress. If you don't have a half a yard, or are using some fabric you have laying around, you will want to consider extra length to hem the bottom.

Step Two: Sew Each Side

You will want to first hem the bottom yellow if you don't have a finished edge. Then, holding the yellow to the orange sew along the 19 inch long side. Repeat with the White to orange side. Be careful the seams are both on the same side, so you have an obvious outside and inside of the piece.

Repeat this process with the other three cuts of fabric. You should now have a "front" and a "back" with an unfinished white top edge.

Step Three: Clean Up Your Cuts

Lay your front and back on top of each other with the outside "nice" sides touching. Using a rotary cutter and straight edge, clean up the sides by taking off a half inch on each side. This will insure you have a nice clean edge to sew.

Step Four: Create Arm Holes

This is kinda of a "wing it" step. You will want to fold the dress length wise (or "hot dog" way for you teachers out there). You then will want to use scissors to create arm holes. This is a very ugly illustration via paint I made.

Keep in mind you're going to use some of that edge to hem, so you don't want to cut too much off.

Step Five: Sew Sides

Note: The dress should be "inside out" still. You may want to pin the dress together, and probably pin a bit of the arm hole hem so your stitch is smooth when you get to them. Do not sew armholes shut. Stop before you get to them!

Sew up each side.

Step Six: Pin Top

Now, you will want to take that unfinished edge on the top and fold it over. If you'd like, you may want to pin it or iron it flat. I folded mine over an inch or so. This is where the ribbon or fabric will slip through. Sew along rough edge leaving yourself enough room to slip the ribbon through when we get to that step.

Step Seven: Hem Arm Holes

Fold over arm hole hems and sew in order to create a nice neat edge. Make sure you don't sew close the top sleeve for the ribbon to go through. Also, don't sew the arm holes shut. Just hem the hole.

Step Eight: Thread Ribbon Through Top

Thread your ribbon through the folded over edge. If you have a wider ribbon, attach a safety pin to the ribbon to make it easier to thread through. You can also make a drawstring with fabric if you'd rather.

And Ta Da! You have a pretty finished dress!

My cute daughter rocking her dress with a white onesie and brown tights. It was a bit chilly here to not wear something under it, but if you're lucky enough to live somewhere warm, you can get away with nothing underneath.

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Tuesday, August 29, 2017

DIY Walking Rope

Last spring I was lucky enough to chaperone a preschool field trip. Do you want to know what it's like to chaperone a group of 3 year olds? Go to the humane society and try to get all the kittens in the cat room to line up in a perfect line and wait for instructions.

Yeah. It was interesting. Our preschool teacher is awesome and tries to get the kids outside as much as she can. After my experience with chaperoning, I had a new found respect for the teacher. I wanted to make her walks with the kids just a little bit easier.

You may have seen the walking ropes that daycares, schools or large families use. The idea is if younger children have something to hold on to, they are easier to wrangle.

I decided the concept was something that could easily be made with materials around the house. So, one afternoon I start messing around with the idea. After playing around with some rope and ribbon, I figured it out.


Ribbon (I used thicker ribbon I had in my scrap bin)
Sewing Machine (I suppose you could knot the ribbon into loops or try hand stitching or hot gluing..options for those who are sewing machine adverse)
Optional: Hot Glue Gun

Step One: Cut Ribbon

You have to decide how many loops you need for your rope. I decided to make 6 loops which allow 12 children to walk on the rope. One big loop will end up being tied off to make two smaller ones. Once you figure out how many loops you want, you need to cut the same amount of strips of ribbon. All the cuts of ribbon should be the same length. Now, my ribbon strips were quite long. I think they were around 24 inches long each.

Step Two: Create Loops

Turning the design to the inside, make the ribbon into a loop (aka circle or whatever fancy word I should be using instead) and sew the two ends together. I did several stitches, because I assume kids are going to be rough on them pulling and such. Do this with all the ribbon strips you have cut.

Step Three: Attach Loops

Once you're done, lay out your rope. I put my loops across the rope so I could see how close they should be together. Then I cut my rope about 2-3 feet longer than how I had it laid out.

To attach the loops, you can't simply tie them to the rope. They would slide all around, and you'd have a 5 child pile up. How I knotted everything is a bit hard to explain (and to show for that matter) but I'll do my best.

You will want to get one ribbon loop fully knotted on before you move on to the next ribbon loop. First, slip the rope through the loop.

Once you have the rope through the loop (or the center of the circle), tie the rope to one side of the ribbon loop. I tied the rope close to the sewn ends just to conceal them, but it shouldn't matter where you tie the rope.

Next, while keeping the rope knot in the center of the ribbon loop, tie the ribbon loop in a knot around the rope. Having the rope knotted this way will ensure it doesn't move around on the rope.

Step Four: Finish

I did a couple of finishing steps on the walking rope. I made a loop on the front of the rope so the teacher can hold it the rope. I wrapped this front loop with ribbon as a bit of padding and then hot glued everything in the place. I also knotted a loop at the very end of the rope for another child to grab. I also secured this knot with some hot glue.

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