Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Spring sewing

In Spring, a woman's thoughts turn to refurbishing her verandah furniture.
Sad, isn't it. It must have been the terribly messy state of the sewing room,(even after I tidied it a little by picking that denim fabric from the floor ;) Thanks Sue!) that drove me outside, and what did I see but this.


Obviously, I have been managing to ignore this for a considerable time, but last weekend, it finally annoyed me enough to did through the stash and find some canvas.
I had this nice dark blue from a Michael's Fabric bundle. Originially I thought this was clothing fabric and made a pair of work trousers from it, which was a big mistake (world's ugliest trousers) but there seemed enough left to fix this disreputable chair cover.
I took off the old cover to use as a pattern, and the new one was very, very quick, and looked quite smart.
So I made another one, for the next most disreputable chair, then pieced the remaining fabric for another two. Just like eating chips!


Unfortunately, this was the last of the blue canvas. There are 6 chairs.
I did have some murky mushroom brown canvas, but it did not look at all good next to the wood, or the blue chairs. I was stymied, until I recalled the cleverness of Liza Jane, who recently made a lovely skirt from thin cotton fabric by underlining it with broadcloth.
I made another chair cover by underlying quilting weight novelty cotton with some canvas. This chair amuses me greatly.
There was a problem.

The wood looked rather old and weatherbeaten all of a sudden. This is the trouble with housework, once you start, more becomes visible. Sigh. This is why I don't like to start it too often.
I oiled the wooden parts of the chairs, and the table, and the other outdoor chair and table set - very bad for the sewing productivity, but the chairs look better.
I finished up with another underlay version cover for the final chair, in a left over bit of thin twill stripe, also from Michael's Fabrics.


Then I sat on the verandah with a large glass of mandarin juice. It was delicious.

I do realise that chairs are not terribly exciting photographic subjects, although they are most co-operative and do not fidget, whine, moan nor require bribing, so will pad out the post with some more attractive subjects.

Do you remember those birds that were canoodling at the park the other day? Here is a pair (Rainbow lorikeets) finishing off our late mandarins (Honey Murcotts)


- about 150cm away from the verandah, at eye level, looking a bit bedraggled due to having mandarin juice all over its face.

Here is another one eating the bottlebrush.
There is plenty of entertainment in our back yard. I must mend the bird net over the mango tree!


katherine h said...

Oh good job! Very satisfactory outcome. Did you just use regular thread? Did you do any sort of reinforcing? I would just worry that my stitches would come undone. Are the covers stapled to the seats?

shams said...

Wow, what a project! I'm very impressed. :) I also love your bicycle chair. :D

kbenco said...

Katherine I used regular thread, although the original had used a heavier thread, about topstitching weight - I did not have any heavy thread to hand that matched. However, I stitched all the seams twice. I did not use any reinforcing, as the original had none, and had lasted a good while. The chair seats are not stapled. There is a folded over piece at each side edge of the seat section, containing a plastic dowel, which slides into a groove in the frame of the seat, quite a clever design, which distributes the pull from the weight of someone sitting on the chair across the whole seat section of the fabric. I am not sure how they will hold up, but will report back any drastic failures. IMO my version looks just as tough as the seat covers we purchased.

Handmade said...

Totally like eating chips!!! Great chairs and beautiful birds!

Carolyn said...

Wow, you have done an amazing job! If I attempted anything this tricky it would end up veeery dodgy-looking indeed... and I particularly like the bicycle fabric and would have been sorely tempted to go out buying up big do all the chairs in this wonderful stuff myself! But it does look good just having one special chair, for the tour-de france man in the family, maybe? :)

Sue said...

Chair covers look great! I agree with you about cleaning. It is never ending. My Mum used to love gardening and would garden and not clean, her theory being the cleaning does not go away, so why worry about it.

Anonymous said...

Forget the chairs, you have a MANGO TREE. *Now* I'm impressed.

Mary Nanna said...

Very impressive. Home dec takes a special kind of patience to pull off. And how much more satisfying to be able to use that fabric in its best context?

When I read this post I was quite amazed to be transported into another world. Wow, that's the kind of birdlife you have. Those are the kinds of trees you can grow - how exotic!

Your stash must be fairly impressive to be able to pull out furniture canvas, even 'canvas mistaken for drill.' I would have dearly loved to have seen the world's ugliest trousers too. I have a soft spot for epic misadventures.

Bernice said...

A truly satisfying job. It's amazing how a bit of of 'just getting in and getting it done' can make something look a million dollars. I like how your chairs are mismatched. That's my kind of style.

KayY said...

The chairs are great. I can see why you need a comfy place to sit outside at your house. To watch the birds! WOW! Our wild birds are pretty drab by comparison. Thanks for sharing!

The Slapdash Sewist said...

I like your chair covers! Very useful. Sometimes useful sewing is satisfying. And they are excellent photographic subjects!

Mary said...

I love this post-the chairs are so nice and I'll bet satisfying. And those pesky lorikeets...pretty birds, but aren't they "bad"?

Joy said...

I wish my household chores felt like eating chips! But now you'll want to be sitting in the chairs all the time and the housework won't be as appealing.

Those colorful birds seem so exotic compared to the ones we see here - they almost look like fake birds.

kbenco said...

He, he, it is only sewing chair covers that feels like eating chips, one was not enough ;)
Mary, the Lorikeets are noisy, and eat fruit and flowers, so some people find them a pest, but I like them - we grow enough fruit and flowers that the birds can eat them, and the Lorikeets are so pretty and their antics very amusing (and we net our mangoes so we get to eat them too!) .

Sigrid said...

Great job, isn't it good to do something like this once in a. While. The chairs look new again.

Gabrielle said...

That looks like quite a project - I admire your discipline in being able to tackle all of the chairs!

Australian birdlife is pretty amazing isn't it. This morning a friend showed me the bush turkey nest in her backyard - a mini mountain, about 1.5 metres high! Then we saw the male bush turkey pulling garden bits and pieces over the fence to make the nest bigger... apparently the nest is all his, and the female will pop over when it's the right temperature to lay the eggs, but then she'll choof off again!

Big in Japan said...

I think I'd be sitting in the bicycle chair eating chips! Well done, it's a fine family of seats.