Archive for the ‘sewing projects’ Category

So, long story short~

This was part of my late uncle’s bedroom furniture at Grandma’s house wAy down in IL.  I know –somewhere– there’s got to be a picture showing its original severely dark stain~but I can’t find it.

When we cleared out grandma’s in the sale to cousins, I brought it back to change things up in one of mom’s guest bedrooms, and painted both bed and dresser a soft white.  Seriously– this was already old hand-me-down stuff that moved from Grandma’s farm, up to her hill house, and then to mom’s.

It had a 1904 date on the back side of the headboard I’d never noticed before.

Uncle Fred's old bedroom furniture

Above, painted a soft white for a lighter, shabby chic look in the guest bedroom.  Eventually, it got bumped for another 1930’s set.

Below, painted something funky for a teenage nephew to use for a while. . .

REpainted something funky for a nephew~

And then it all came back –again.  With no one else in the family having need of it—I gave the dresser a total makeover and sold it in the antique mall.  Remember this project?  (it’s near the end of the post link)

one last makeover for Uncle Fred's dresser

And finally– I’ve pulled the bed from storage for

one last REinvention before Nellie’s Barn Sale!


I padded and upholstered the headboard with one of my vintage grain sacks.  The foot board is just REpainted, but I did add vintage wood wheels—
I LUV them, they’re just fun, and it’s SO much easier moving a bed around!

Uncle Fred's old bed with one last makeover!

I also added a padded back rest and tied-on seat cushion to this petite rocker (the neighbor gave me) with the leftovers from my
bed project—
I think they look really cute together!

Nellie's Barn Sale!They’re already getting great attention and feedback from the Nellie’s Barn Sale pages and on instagram!
OMG–I’ll be packing Wednesday, driving & setting up Thursday!
Hope to see you at the show
Friday or Saturday!


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_and it’s back!

Nat'l Drink Wine Day

Nat'l Drink Wine Day

Nat'l Drink Wine Day


Heck yeah, I’m in!

After all the detailed hand stitching I’ve been working on—it’s for Medicinal Purposes!  Then I’ll finish attaching those ties for the chair-seat slip covers. . . and share that little twist on the end of this project!

(priorities people…)


the chair-seat slip covers

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French country ladder back chairsDo you remember the 4

french ladder back chairs

I REfinished and upholstered last spring?  No?

Yeah–I dropped the ball on sharing this to completion.  Sorry.

Here’s the READER’S DIGEST version to catch you up!

Judy’s had these chairs for-EVER. . . and they were showing it.  We probably talked about this project for a year before doing it.

The rush seats were just disintegrating and those plaid seat pads became a band-aide.

Judy's ladder back chairsI took them to the strippers.
And I wish I had let them do the whole strip & refinish—it was such a MAJOR amount of work.  But -I- painstakingly sanded all of them.  HOURS of sanding and aching hands.  Sometimes DIY sucks.

Judy's ladder back chairs

Only waxing maintained the raw, pale wood we wanted—but it wasn’t enough durability for Judy.  But you can see below that even a simple clear-coat darkened the Cherry wood.  Bummer.

sanded & clear coated

The chairs sat kind of low so we played with varying ways to REbuild the seats—deciding on furniture webbing with a thicker pad for loft AND softness.

Matelassé was ordered–from Italy!  We ordered enough for a boxed covering, but discovered the chair construction dictated wrapping the seats instead—and that took much less fabric.  So the extra matelassé was used to also cover the 2 pressed back chairs I recently shared with you.


*We also tackled REfinishing the Bird’s eye maple table.

You know~I’ve always been pretty efficient with my cuts  -wood, fabric, whatever-  but even I was surprised at how far I stretched this yardage!

So I’m making chair seat slip covers from the very last of the fabric!

chair seat slip covers

I’ll leave you here for the moment,

I’m still working on them.

There’s a twist to reveal at the end~so check back!


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—also known as—

multi tasking?

The dresser project is not  quite  going as planned so I stepped away for a minute to look at a BENCH project.
An UNsold item from the Ottilia Catherine estate sale.

No one. . . seemed. . . to like it. . . ?

So I ran it over to the strippers asking for one of those “Quick & Crappy” strip jobs.  They think I’m nuts most of the time.  But I like the PATINA of RESIDUE!  Yeah-yeah, Nuts.

Ottilia Catherine's BENCH

I  ALSO  LUV  RAW  WOOD  just waxed!

That’s the “original” needle point top. . .

so I thought.

Ottilia Catherine's BENCH

I removed the needle point (for another project) and discovered THIS was actually the original bench top.   Uh~ wOwza!  And~ gag me.  And in case THAT wasn’t a good enough view—

Ottilia Catherine's BENCH

Y i k e s,  right?

Stripping opens wood grain~ that’s why you have to sand.  But I didn’t want to sand away that cool stripping RESIDUE!  So I buffed it with extra fine steel wool to a silky smooth touch.  For MYSELF, I’d WAX it—but this is REsale.  So I grabbed a Matte Clear Coat to give it a more protected finish.  BIG mistake.  BIG.

The wood sucked in EVERY drop of hydration and gave it a STAINED look.  Oh, sure, it DOES look pretty—it’s just not the look I was going for.

Ottilia Catherine's BENCH

The look of RESIDUE is lost now so I’ll grab my Behr Pecan Sandie paint I like to use for “oxidation” to highlight those nooks and crannies in carved pieces!

AND~ I’ll dig through my remnants of Matte Lasse to reupholster the seat, then it’s back to the antq mall!  Any one?  Any one?


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the breakfast chair makeoverA couple of weeks ago

I started working on the

new caned chair

found FOR the breakfast table.  A close match to what will be its mate!
I knocked it down,
primed it,
painted it,
and then it needed set up time so I detoured into painting the LL/lower level.  With THAT project wrapped up

I’ve returned to the chair!

I removed its wool and taped off/covered the muslin before priming and painting.

the breakfast chair makeover

I’m using another of my grain sacks,

but the stripes were much too “bright” for me so I washed it with bleach a couple of times.  Although not super faded, it looks cleaner and definitely~ BETTER.

I used the former chair cover as a pattern!

*I also washed it after and set it aside for a future project—I orange and it has such a great patina!

using the original chair cover as a pattern & one of my grain sacks

Below, the original wool felting and muslin~all in GOOD shape!  YaY!

Wonderful surprise~it’s a Baker chair!  Well made from solid wood, but a little bit wobbly so I added screws to firm it up.  C’est la vie.

the "new" caned chair getting a makeover!

Surprise! It's a Baker chair!











REupholstering the caned chair with a grain sack

I was hoping for a chance to run off to beg Katie (my favorite professional Upholsterer) to run double welting for me.  I can run single welting but don’t have the right foot to run my own double.

Then I started thinking.  The soft wool welting cord that you sew the fabric around actually kind of “looks like” the grain sack.  Hmmmmm. . .

Why couldn’t I use it RAW and wrap it twice?  DOUBLE welting!

It’s not for sale~it’s for me, if it doesn’t wear well I can correct it later. Let’s do it!!!

using RAW wool welting cord

using RAW wool welting cordThis welting may be a test -but- I like it!

Mismatched pieces united by paint—and eventually ALL similar fabrics!
Yes~I still have work to do~


*I need to clean the chalkboard wall from the kiddos at Christmas so mom can start drawing out the FAMILY TREE— the whole reason for the chalkboard wall!

the cane chair made over!mismatched but similar caned chairs, brought together with paint and grain sacks!


mismatched but similar caned chairs, brought together with paint and grain sacks!

Just a small cozy breakfast space inside the kitchen.

mismatched but similar caned chairs, brought together with paint and grain sacks!

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Marie's chair-My niece-i-l found this cool old chair thrifting!

My nephew hates it.

He has no vision.

And apparently neither did the chair.  

Have you ever worked on a project that fought you at every turn?

Me and this chair—we did not get along.  It seriously resisted change.

Marie sanded & REstained it, and came with it and some new fabric to get REupholstered Saturday night.

It all started with the chair being seriously ornery about just boosting it up on saw horses to work.  Then the staples kept shooting through the fabric.  Every angle was impossible to get into/at.  The velvet in the fabric kept throwing off the timing on my sewing machine while I was running welting.  AND I burnt my fingers a ‘cazillion times wrestling with and gluing the welting in place~arrrgh.

A simple enough job that should have taken an hour (maybe two)

finally finished Sunday afternoon.

Marie's chair-I’ve never been so happy to say

it’s finished!

Now leave me and go back home. . .


Marie's chair-

Marie's chair-

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Thought you might like to see some of those holiday stockings

I’ve been sewing.  Yes, they’re all on the feminine side.
Probably more for decorating with than truly stuffing!
And, at the end of the day~ I liked the plainness of them and wrinkled linen.
Like this, I think they’ll be more flexible to embellish with/in other holiday decorating.  Like- stuffing them with a bit of evergreen, sage, or holly.  Or by hanging a personalized initial from the backside hanging loop.
Holiday Stockings
And these are two other styles and textures I was playing with. . .

...a couple other styles and textures-

...a couple other styles and textures-


Besides sewing, I’ve been hard at it on the fall clean upoh my aching muscles!

Raking leaves -endlessly- rounding up and covering furniture, cleaning out gardens, cutting down a LOT of plants prepping for the snow to fly.  Unfortunately SOONER than later—they’re predicting a big snow storm this weekend.  Boooooo

fall clean up-

fall clean up-

fall clean up-.


. . . and prepping for

holiday decorating. . .

I decided on this iron urn for this season’s front steps arrangement.

*only bumped finger like 21 times getting work done.







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-on the road to recovery!woo·hoo~I’m just about to stage a comeback!  But until~

It has been a  L·O·N·G  6 weeks     since my hand surgery.

It sure feels ·SO· much longer, but I’m happy to have at least that much time -and healing- behind me as I adapt to all kinds of new “normals.”

Like how everything touching my finger either feels like super coarse sand paper or razor blades trying to hurt me further, or how incredibly painful it is because of the swelling AND trying to bend it again AND because my clutzy-self keeps bumping it into everything imaginable!

It’s also shorter nowhmm…because of the screw?

I am SO happy to finally jump back into at least a “soft” project—like sewing!

found on pintrest!I’ve begun working on some Christmas stockings for an upcoming Holiday show.  Looking around pintrest for some inspiration, I keep coming back to this beauty!  (*can’t seem to find the original creator though)

I have all kinds of textural scrap leftovers from other projects ~grain sacks, linen~ I only needed to buy some pleated trim (too lazy to make my own).

I may –or may not– add some graphic transfers or extra embellishments since they look pretty –plain– too!  We’ll see!

Here are my first four

I made a template from some larger-sized blank stencil sheets.  It’s a firm pattern to use for consistent sizes AND you can see fabric prints through it.  (I accidentally bought white sheets this time~ooops!)

sewing the cutout sides together-

sewing the liner and outsides together and adding the trim-

-stockings for a Holiday show!Christmas stockings are actually very easy sewing projects…

to all you non-sewers!

I still need to add the loops they will hang by, and make the decision~

to embellish or

not to embellish!

That is the question!

I’ve been playing with grain sacks and linen, and pleated cotton & grosgrain trim,

as well as vintage laces from my collections/stashes.


*btw— I had a really good 6wk post-op check up, so I’m hoping to be back to my furniture and wood projects really soon!
-the first Holiday Show Christmas Stockings!

-stockings with some vintage handkerchief lace!

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The chairs at the breakfast table are really wearing out.  They were thrift store finds to begin that needed work—in 1999.

One was only $4, the other was a gift.

The breakfast area has a very ethereal feel to it. . .with all miss-matched pieces brought together by fabric and paint.

mom's breakfast area-

I’ve been watching for a couple of interesting replacement chairs    for a while now—and hoping for a matching pair this time around.

But LOOK WHAT I FOUND -but there was only ONE left—there were TWO, someone bought just one of them, dang it!  I presume because of the broken cane in the seat.  I negotiated $20.  I  LUV the super tall back!

Caned Chair from Diego's store $20

Well, first thing to do was -make sure it looked good at the table and with the banquett!   -Whew!

working on the new caned chair-

I painted the chair white.

I really couldn’t see the benefit in ripping out the cane, so I applied webbing right over the top -and decided to hot glue the cane and webbing together for extra strength.  Now you can sit in confidence!

Next, I grabbed some card stock paper to create a seat pattern.

Then I transferred the seat pattern to the grain sack I wanted to use.

* THE GRAIN SACK has a very special connection!  The farm my mother grew up on was eventually sold to distant cousins, who gave me one of their farm grain sacks on one of our yearly trips down to there—SO nice!

working on the new caned chair-

working on the new caned chair-

Thick Grain Sack can be very exhausting to cut, so I like to use the old electric scissors!

(Do they even sell these anymore?)

I cut banding strips too to sew a boxed seat cover.

~and I was off to the sewing machine…

Next I used batting and left over foam to give the seat a little extra cush’…

and finally I could apply the boxed cover…

working on the new caned chair-

working on the new caned chair-

The seat is a little shallow, but it’s wide and very comfortable!

working on the new caned chair-

I love the grain sack -and the personal connection to it- and I love the bespoke look and feel!  The other side of it, or, back side of it is in reserve for whatever 2nd chair I find.  As for the banquette—I’m hunting for some upholstery-grade linen (or if I’m lucky enough to find some HEMP), and I’ll REcover that as well!

The ceiling is in for a design change too- including chandelier, and a change to the back wall~but that’s a little down the pike!  Stay tuned. . .


the new caned chair!

making some changes-

making changes-

I’m sharing this project with–

French Country Cottage

The Curator’s Collection

Savvy Southern Style

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the PINK silk apronSo you DON’T like to SEW!

Stitch WitcheryYou can still make this apron without a stitch—well, you will need     Stitch Witchery.

  Just 4 easy steps!

1— cut the sides open,

     & cut off the sleeves

2— shape the front

3— make ties

4— create your pockets!

*A quick TIP as you begin—iron your shirt—it’s so much easier cutting crisp, smooth fabric and your cut lines will be better too!


1st step-

Cut  UP  the side seams to the under arms to separate the front and back of the shirt.

I like to approach this in one of 2 ways

◊ I cut SUPER CLOSE to the manufactured seam.  Cutting from the “bottom” side of that manufactured seam—it becomes the “finished” edge and I’m done!

◊ Leave ¼” to ½” salvage from the manufactured seam to turn under.  The manufactured seam will still be the front-side finished edge.

shirt aprons -NO SEWING

Cutting off the sleeves.

 RESIST THE TEMPTATION to just lay your shirt down and cut it in this quick/random way—you’ll lose material you may need or want for other parts!   Be patient—cut up the sides, cut off the sleeves, then shape your “halter.”

shaping the front and cutting off the arms

◊ It doesn’t really matter which side of the seam you cut, but do stay close to it so you don’t lose extra material.

cutting off the sleeves-


2nd step-

Shape the front into a Halter.

*TIP- if you fold the front sides together your “halter” cuts will be “matching” —but it’s better to open it back up and cut freehand around the collar.  I tend to freehand all my cuts, but I drew a chalk line for you to see this better below.

◊ As you’re cutting, leave ¼” to ½” extra around the collar to turn under.

shaping the "HALTER"

Now that you have the main cuts made, you can start to turn under the raw edges to “hem.”

◊ Start from the lower sides, folding over-turning and ironing, working upward to the collar.

prepping to "hem" the raw edges

raw edges folded over and ironed

◊ Using the Stitch Witchery tape, you’ll essentially tuck the tape between (wrong side of fabric) the inside of the apron and the turned/ironed edge AND THEN IRON OVER IT TO MELT THE TAPE fusing the fabric with NO sewing!

Stitch Witchery tape is –glue– when it’s melted by the heat of an iron.  The product instructions say to use a dry iron, but having used this product in lots of ways over many years time, I’ve found—the tape melts easier and better with a steam iron!

*I keep a small roll in my luggage when I travel for any quick fixes!

*I’m told fabric glue would work well too—although I’ve never tried it.

◊ As you work your way around to the collar, you’ll see it has multiple layers and you’ll need to cut some away.  Then continue to iron the area together with the Stitch Witchery tape.

cut away any extra layers

fusing the "seams" together -

the apron--without sewing


3rd step-

Cutting the ties from the back of the shirt -it keeps a simple continuity to the apron.

◊ I typically cut off the yolk just to free up the part I am using, especially  when there’s a pleat at the yolk.

◊ Fold the back of the shirt in half.

cutting the ties-

Below, a couple examples for making your tie cuts.

    1. Use a measuring guide, or
    2. as you’re cutting–fold that cut upward creating a continuing accurate size guide as you cut.
    3. Or just freehand it like I do—it’s all part of that “bespoke” look!

◊ A 2″ wide tie works well for me, so I cut a 4″ wide piece from the folded over area.

◊ When you unfold the piece you have 2 sides—cut it in 2.

cutting the ties-

◊ Fold over and iron ¼” edge on each side, then fold the whole piece in half.  Put the Stitch Witchery between the two sides and iron till the tape is melted.

creating the ties-

creating the ties-

◊ Attach the ties!  Iron really good, and iron from both sides to be sure the tape is fully melted!

attaching the ties-


4th step-

Making the pockets.  I like to use the sleeves for this, and I like to be creative and playful doing it!

◊ Cut open the sleeve by it’s seam and cut through the cuff.  Turn under and iron a ¼” to ½” edge on the “raw” side—the other should have the manufactured edge (right?).

◊ Once again, you’ll find multiple layers around the cuff to cut out.

creating the pockets-

◊ Play around with the sleeves to find the placement and look YOU like!

◊ Then secure it in place with the tape.  BUT don’t “glue” down that bottom inch or so—I’ll explain in a minute.

creating the pockets-

◊ Stretching the excess downward, iron the pleats and gathers flat, then cut it off with the bottom of the shirt as your guide.

creating the pockets-

◊ Tuck the gathers and pleats under and secure with the Stitch Witchery tape.  *Now you see the outer ends are easier to turn under because you didn’t secure the sides the whole way down.

closing in the bottom of the pocket

Your Shirt Apron


a Shirt Apron with NO SEWING!


a Shirt Apron with NO SEWING!

Stitch Witchery

When making this project, be sure you really melt the tape into glue!

If you don’t—your project will come apart.

Here’s another NO SEW APRON      from a fun lady’s blouse!

another NO SEW APRON!

another pocket style--

Another pocket style

I sewed the two sleeves together to make one BIG pocket!

Below- some of the girls at the antique mall modeling for me!

I sure hope you’ll try this—and tell me about it!


--the ladies at the antq mall modeling for me!

--the ladies at the antq mall modeling for me!

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