Saturday, 8 September 2012

Purposeful fabric acquisition

Did I mention that I am on a fabric diet? I am only buying things that I am sure to use immediately for current projects. Naturally when the Remnant Warehouse sent me an email saying that they were starting to sell fabrics online, It was my duty to look to see if there was something I needed to sew right away. There is a real dearth of online fabric selling within Australia, and I was very impressed with the Remnant Warehouse when I visited there in April, and also in their excellent service with a pattern order a few months ago.
I have an annual project of replacing the fabric in our director chairs on the back verandah. These don't last very well in the sub-tropics, and I have been on the lookout for some suitable replacement fabric for my annual nod to Home Dec. sewing. SDC10820
See what I did ? The fabric is 2 metres of hessian jute, at about $10 per metre, with the pattern machine embroidered on top of the woven hessian. I have not seen anything like this before, so it was rather tempting, and hopefully hessian will last outdoors no worse than cotton canvas, which I have used previously. No one at my house likes sitting on sweaty polyester canvas at $35 per metre upwards. Unfortunately, I had a bit of a problem with the construction. It wasn't the high fray rate - this was nicely tamed with overlocking and 2 packets of bias binding at 50c each from a previous bargain purchase. I knew I would use it up someday. The covers have a pocket in each side of the seat, containing a plastic rod that slides into a groove along the edge of the chair frame. SDC10815
 The embroidered hessian fabric was too bulky to slide into the groove, so my first chair looked a little peculiar and quite useless.
 After a nice soothing cup of tea, I decided to remove the embroidery from the edges of the new cover. Half an hour of unpicking and 4 rows of secure zig-zagging per cover later, the covers squeezed into the grooves. SAM_1059 SDC10818
This level of work reassures me that the other pieces of fabric I bought in this transaction are mere rewards for my efforts, and have no calorific value (sorry, that was the chocolate cake that went with the soothing cup of tea that had no calories, not the fabric.Sewing angst burns a lot of calories).
I bought 3 rayon knits (all thin, but quite good recovery - the most costly printed one at $8.95 per metre ran in the (cold, gentle machine) wash and now has a pleasant pink background) SDC10824
The other purchases were a floral jacquard denim  and a jacquard shirting cotton. The shirting cotton is lovely, but I wasn't completely thrilled with the denim when it arrived, thinking it looked a bit cheap (well it was - $5.95 per metre), but fortunately for me, the embellished bands of the denim shrunk in the (warm, gentle machine) wash giving an excellent seersucker effect that I think will look great in an unironed skirt, just right for Spring and Summer, so my washing revelations have all been positive despite the shrinkage.
 Internet fabric purchases are always a bit of a surprise, as drape and texture don't show at all well on a computer monitor, but living in rural Australia, I am very pleased to have another fabric source that I don't need to buy a plane ticket to access.


Janine said...

I am on a fabric fast too and it really sucks but what I have acquired this year is really good stuff . When I have emptied some spaces so I can hide more material from my family I will be sure to check out your recommendation.

Gabrielle said...

What handsome outdoor furniture that makes - I wouldn't have imagined that fabric would work so well! I think dutiful sewing like this has to be rewarded with whatever level of fabric rewards you decide is appropriate.

I'm trying to restrain myself with fabric AND patterns but finding it very, very hard. Unfortunately I live and work close to a few fabric shops and am on the distribution list for a few pattern companies! Too, too much temptation.

a little sewing said...

The directors chairs look fabulous with that beautiful and unusual fabric. I hope it holds up really well to compensate you for your suffering.

velosewer said...

I did notice the embroidered hessian last time I was at RW and it's so great to see it being used in real life.
The chairs look very impressive.

Kyle said...

Wow, those chairs are great with their new fabric! It has me thinking about fixing some slashed fabric on outdoor chairs of my own...

Sue said...

The chairs look great. Thanks (I think?) for the link to the Remnant Warehouse.

Carol said...

I've recovered directors' chairs before so I know how hard it can be. I found some unbleached canvas fairly cheap in Brisbane once tht I used (and for a dog bed) that lasted two good seasons on the verandah. I, too, am pleased that RW is now online. This morning to went to Spotlight for a zip and came out empty handed. Did I mention how much I hate Spotlight and the fact there is only ONE fabric store in Tasmania????

Carolyn said...

These look absolutely fantastic, very smart and so professionally finished. Your fabric choice, while causing some angst with the thickness, looks utterly fabulous. Surely these will last longer than one year!
I think you deserve several months of guilt free sewing for yourself now!

Jenn said...

I love the fabric on those chairs, it dresses them up really nicely.

I always find myself ordering more than I need online, might as well minimize the per-metre shipping cost :) . (although 'need' depends on whether you're talking to me or my DH)

Anonymous said...

That fabric is perfect for those chairs, nice! I've thought about going on a fabric diet but I have no will power ;) Instead I am just trying to plan new items using my oldest stashed fabric. I will admit while unpacking all my fabric when setting up my room I did feel a tab guilty seeing it pile up and up and up! But that feeling didn't last too long, tee hee

Gail said...

Great work on the outdoor chairs. I've stopped telling myself I'm on a fabric diet. Like my other diet I keep breaking it!

Anonymous said...

I was looking through the Remnant Warehouse site thinking "How could I have missed this???"
Then reread your intro a again and realised I hadn't. It's only new.
I too am happy for more online fabric stores in Aust. I don't like buying online but when my choices are Spotlight, Spotlight or Spotlight, I do sometimes succumb to online temptations.

I'm glad your purchases worked out. I think they were all extremely necessary. And the chairs? WOW fantastic.
And any time you need some fabric-buying enabling, just ask. Gosh I'm not good with helping people on their diets, am I?