As a follow up to my last post where I blogged about my new flouncy skirted chair pad here, I thought a tutorial might be in order. Sometimes I'm not so good about the how-to's, you know? I just get so lost in the process and then I think "Oh wait! I forgot to take a picture of that step!"
But I digress..... This ticking fabric came off the remnant table at my local fabric store. While it was a traditional ticking stripe, it was a thinner fabric than the usual ticking, with almost a linen-y feel to it, and I liked its rumpled texture and softness. I snagged the 6 yard piece for under $10. I'm cheap, and this makes me happy.
The project gave me a chance to use my new thing-a-ma-jig, a snazzy ruffler attachment that, if I remember right, was exactly like the ruffler I had on my 1970 Kenmore sewing machine. This is one of those things that was so perfect in its original design that almost 40 years later it hasn't changed a bit.
I started off my project by cutting two squares of the ticking to fit the chair seat. As usual, I didn't get all scientific and measure or anything, I just eyeballed it and cut away. For those who like to measure, or if your chair seat is a wonky shape, you can take a piece of kraft paper and trace out your seat shape and use that as a pattern.
Next, I cut the the 4 pieces that would make the skirt. The skirt panels aren't joined together, and each panel is sewn to the seat pad separately. If you jump ahead in the photos, you can see how they all float away from the main pad.
Anyway, this I did measure this a bit. I wanted the skirt to leave a bit of the leg peeking out from underneath (very flirty!), so measured from the chair seat to about 3 inches above the floor. I added one inch for the hem at the bottom of each skirt panel, and one inch at the top of each panel for the seam to sew it to the main pad piece. I cut the 4 skirt panels across the fabric, so the ticking would run up and down, and the sides of each panel would have the selvage edge - which meant I wouldn't have to hem the sides!
Oh dear.... it just occurred to me that I have revealed that I am cheap AND lazy.
I ran each skirt panel through the ruffler at a setting that would gather each piece to fit the side of the chair pad where it would be placed. Ruffle, ruffle, ruffle.......
I pinned and sewed each panel on one at a time, using the ruffle sandwich technique. Sometimes my ruffle panel length wasn't a perfect (imagine that!) fit to the chair pad side, so I just pinned in an additional fold and went with it. The photo above shows the two side panels already sewn in and I'm about to sew the third, or front, panel in.
This sort of looks like some kind of sea creature to me, maybe a jellyfish? Three armed octopus? I dunno, but you can see how each panel is separate and with the white selvage showing. It keeps it humble I think, and I like that.
Here's a close up of the corner, turned right side out. By making each panel separate, I saved myself the horrors of turning a ruffled corner. Can be done, but requires more patience than I recall having that day.
There's one more ruffle panel to sew on before we're done, and the ties to keep it on the chair. Let's make the ties first. I cut two more slices across the fabric, each about 4 inches wide, cutting from selvage to selvage - notice that nice, finished white edging on the end of my tie. That's the selvage.
I ironed each raw edge in towards the center, turning each side in about 1/2 inch. Next I folded it in half and ironed it flat.
It only took a second to sew down the open edge, making two nice long ties. I wanted the ties extra long so I could make a nice floppy bow with generous ends.
Ack, now the tough part. I'm going to make my ruffle sandwich again, tucking the last panel inside and securing a tie into each corner. I pinned the ruffle down first, then positioned the ties.
I stuck my fingers about twenty times more when I pinned in the ties and then pinned all three layers together. Ouch... ouch... ouch....
I sewed the ruffle sandwich all together, leaving an opening about 4 inches across in the middle. Just enough room to fit my hand so I could stuff in the batting later.
There's three layers of pins there.....
Sew together, leaving the 4 inch opening in the center, and turn the entire piece right side out. This will take a while, its a small opening and a lot of fabric to pull through.
Aha! Now the jellyfish, er... chair pad, has all four ruffles and two lovely, long ties. I'm liking this.
About now, I have noticed that there are no kitties in the middle of the project. This is very unusual, so I have to stop what I'm doing and go hunting for the little dears, to make sure they are not up to trouble... It's almost 80 degrees outside, and I have discovered them sitting under the pergola in the shade, sleeping peacefully, innocent looks on their faces. (Don't be fooled...)
Here's the little opening, and once the pad is all stuffed with whatever filling you like, it only takes a minute to blind stitch the opening shut.
I like to fill my pillows with down, but since I did not have a down pillow to re-purpose, I tried something different. I had two down alternative pillows that had gotten too flat to sleep on, so I used about half of one to stuff the chair pad. I always wondered what this looked like, and it comes in little chunks of stuffing that kind of slide over each other, like feathers would. Interesting.
I didn't stuff it too full, as I wanted it to feel cushy, not bouncy. Does that make sense? I'm also totally fine that it looks a bit lumpy, as if it's been around for a while. A quick bit of hand sewing and the opening was closed. Now for the button in the center.
The key to success here is that you gotta pick a button that won't hurt to sit on. This is a new button, but it has a vintage feel, and I liked the silver piece in the center. I actually put this on the pillow and sat on it to see if it would be okay. Good thing Hubby didn't walk by about then, he would have thought I was nuts... or perhaps it would have confirmed it?
When you sew on the button to the front, you have to sew it clear through the pillow and through to another button on the back. This one was flat and plain, but still a nice vintage-y type.
The last step is to hem the raw bottom edge of the skirt panels. I just folded once, and folded again to make a nice rolled hem. Simple.
Here is the finished project tied prettily to this nice older oak chair, and although you can't see her, there's a little Bitty kitty that ran under the skirt the minute I sat the chair down.
...and since this is NOT just a blog about sewing, I have a lovely petite altered book project to post next AND I've got a new Sourdough starter bubbling its yeasty goodness on the counter just about ready to make a nice, crusty bread. I'll share the recipe and how-to's soon!