Thursday, March 31, 2011

How to Make Matching Bias Cording Part 1

I know so many of you out there know how to re-cover chair seats.  The ones I'm referring to are the ones held in place with screws underneath.  It's such a great way to change up a vintage chair.
 What I'd like to do is to convince you to go one step further and add some matching, or even contrasting bias cording.  I think it adds that professional look to your project.
Here are some chairs that I re-covered.  Notice the bias cording around the edge of the chair seat.
It really gives your work a custom look.

I don't have images of the before of the chairs, but I would like to share an example of what it looks like underneath on another chair seat.  It's not the same fabric, but you can see that I've added the cording and am holding it in place with a cardboard upholstery tack strip.  Once I show you how to make the cording I'll share how to use the tack strip and where to purchase it.

In my next post I'll begin to show you how to make the cording.  I decided that readers don't like really long posts so I'm going to break it up.
You'll see that making cording is a bit tedious and time consuming, but so worth the effort.


Sunday, April 3, 2011

How to Make Matching Bias Cording Part 2

If you haven't seen Part 1 of the tutorial, please go there first.
Currently I'm working on styling our new screened porch.  It involves making some covered seat cushions that require bias cording.  I decided that while I'm making it, I'd share instructions on making cording.

Let's begin.  You should have at least 1/2 yard of the fabric you want to use.  I need a large amount of cording so you'll see that I'm using about 1 yard of fabric.  This is the first time that I've ever used 100% linen fabric.  I want to assure you that I did iron this fabric even though it looks questionable.

Step 1:  Make sure you cut your fabric on the straight of the grain. (If you don't know how to make sure your fabric is straight, I did an earlier post about that here.)  Next, fold it diagonally to find the true bias.  If you don't make the cording on the bias of the fabric it will not contour smoothly around curves.  My cutting board has the true bias marked on it.  You don't need this though. To create the bias fold, match the upper left corner with the lower right corner or the upper right corner with the lower left.  You'll have some excess.

This can be very confusing so I thought I'd use a small cloth napkin to illustrate this step on a smaller scale.  Also, I think that the fringed edge of the napkin helps you visualize finding the true bias.
  Notice the excess on the side.  You'll always have this no matter what size you use.

Step 2.  Pin the fabric in place and press the fold flat.

Step 3.  Next you must the select the cotton filler cord.  The filler cord comes in many diameters.  I used the 6/32" for this type of project.  I bought this in a bag, but you can buy it by the yard at any fabric store.  You will be creating a tube with your bias strips and this filler cord will fit inside the tube and offer support for the cording.  You'll understand when you see the photo demo.  Here's what it looks like.

Here's another photo of the cotton filler cord that's a little larger.  I bought this by the yard at a fabric store.

Step 3.  Back to the original fabric.  I find with the size of filler cotton cord I chose, my metal measuring square is just the right width.  If you use wider cotton filler cord you'll have to adjust the width of your parallel lines.  Any straight edge will work.
I just used a piece of chalk to draw the lines.

The lines have to be parallel but not perfectly straight.  Here are the completed lines.

Step 4.  Cut the diagonal parallel lines into strips.

This is what it will look like when you've cut along all the lines.

Don't forget to cut along the crease you created when you pressed  the first folded piece.

This post is getting too long again.  Come back for the next post and I'll show you how to join the strips and add the cotton filler cord.


Part 3

This is Part 3.  Please make sure you read Parts 1 and 2 so you'll be able to follow along.
Now that we have the bias strips, I'll show you how to join them.
Here's the photo of the strips again.

Step 5.  Before joining the strips you can square off the ends like this.  I have joined them before without squaring them off and it works fine.   But, I have a geometry/spatial relationship impairment and it's hard for me to visualize and join the seams in the correct direction on the first try.

Then cut along the lines.  You must do this with all the strips.

Step 6.  Join the ends.  IMPORTANT:   When you're doing this make sure that all the seams face the same way and that the longer strips don't become twisted.  I've made both these mistakes before and it's very annoying.

Continue until you've joined all the strips together.

Step 7.  Now sew them all together to make one long strip.

Step 8.  Press all the seams open.

  Lay the cord in the middle of the strip and fold it over so the edges meet and the cord is inside against the fold.

Sew as close as possible against the cotton filler cord.  This is what it looks like when you're done.

The next post will be the last.  I'll show you how to attach the cording on the underside of the covered chair seat.


How to Make Matching Bias Cording Part 4

Yea!  You (we) made it. (Links to parts 1,2,and 3 above if you missed them.)  It's the last set of instructions.  I may have given you way too much detail, and if that's so, sorry.  I just know that I read so many different instructions from so many sources before I actually got it.  There actually is a way to make the cording in one continuous strip instead of sewing together the individual strips.  I've yet to be able to visualize that one and continue to make the cording the long way.  If anyone out there can explain it to me, I'd love to hear from you.

Let's finish this up.  I'm assuming that you all know how to cover a chair seat.  Here is an image of the top side of the covered seat.

Step 10.  Next you need to attach the bias cording  to the underside of the chair seat  with a staple gun, preferably an electric one, and a cardboard upholstery tack strip.  You can buy the tack strip by the yard at fabric stores, or order this monster roll like I did on line here.  Mine is the $3.99 one and looks like this.  The tack strip is important because it keeps the cording straight and you don’t use as many staples.

Step 11.  You will be following the perimeter of the chair seat with the cording and tack strip.  Start the end in an inconspicuous spot.  Do not start/finish in the center front or back of the chair seat.  I started on the side, very near the back.  Align the cording with the outside edge of the chair then lay the tack strip on top of the cording and staple in place. Hint:   Leave a little extra cording without the tack strip on the end as I did in the photo below.  You'll see why this is important later.

Hint:  When you turn the corner you''ll love how smoothly the cording follows the contour.  When turning the corner with the cardboard tack strip bend it over to make an angle.  Photo of this below.

Step 12.  Continue around the perimeter until both ends meet.  Make sure that you leave  one end longer when you cut the cording and tack strip.  You'll need this "extra" to to finish the ends.  See below.

Step 13.  Take the longest end and pull back the cording to expose the cotton filler cord.

Step 14.  Cut off the exposed cotton filler cord.

Step 15.  Now you have a hollow tube on one side.  Smooth out the cording and fold down the edges to create a finished edge.

Step 16.  Tuck the cording with the filler into the empty area you just created.

Step 17.  Lay the tack strip over both ends and staple in place.

This method creates a nice clean seam where the ends meet.

Go ahead, admit that it was worth the extra effort to get a look like this.

I did this in a solid fabric, but I've also used contrasting fabric for the cording.  That is another way to add a custom look.  You can use this same idea when making pillow covers with cording, or slipcovers too.

Please share your projects.


Linda said...
Thanks for showing how to do the cording! I don't sew but have recovered chairs and this was very helpful. Can you tell me what fabric you used for this project?

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Monday, March 28, 2011

More Hot to Shop for Finds

I'm back with more of the fun stuff I've been finding.   In the last post I showed each item individually.  I decided to just create a vignette this time.   On the right is a large wooden finial.  In its previous life, it was an ornament topping an old stair hand rail.  What a fabulous house that must have been.
To the left is a stack of vintage books.  Even though the books have a very interesting spine, I purchased them for their irregular feathered edges.  These just have to be displayed on their sides, or back side facing out.
To top it off is a vintage paper weight.  It has a glass top and a wooden rim.

Again, hope this gives you shopping ideas.  If you live in the DC area you can purchase these items.
Sorry, for now local pick up only.
(prices below)

Please check back again.  There's more shopping going on.


Prices:  Bannister finial $40 SOLD, Vintage books $20 each, California souvenir paperweight $9.

If you missed the previous shopping post, check here.

Friday, March 18, 2011

I've Been Shopping

You're kidding.  Me shopping?  Yes I've been out and about shopping with you in mind--my readers, my friends, my neighbors, my sisters, my dealer friends, my clients, and of course moi.

Here are some of my one-of-a-kind finds.  I'll show the purchases and then give you ideas about
how I would display/use them.

If you've been following me, you know I have many obsessions, books being one of them, and those with marbleized pages are one of my favorites.  These are very weathered, which is a look I like, and no, I didn't rip them apart.

Another obsession is architectural fragments. This is a corbel.  I can only imagine the fantastic building it was once part of.  They can stand alone on a shelf, or substitute for a bookend.

And, here's my vignette idea for you to steal   Or,  if you live in the DC area you can purchase one or all of these vintage finds.  For now, local pick up only.
(prices below)

I added an artichoke candle.  You just as easily could have added some key tassels
  in place of the artichoke, like this:

Or, add an orb like this seed ball.


Please check back.  I'm still shopping.  More "finds" in my next post.


Prices:  Corbel $40, marbleized books $18 each,  artichoke candle $6.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Especially for Book Lovers

I bet you thought that I was going to talk about vintage books again--the ones with the leather and marbleized covers and feathered edges that I've been jamming into bookcases every which way. (here)

Nope, I'm going to talk about the ones you can't wait to wrap yourself in and curl up with in a favorite chair.  The ones that make you say you'll just read one more chapter while it's one am and you can't even keep your eyes open.

Those are the ones that my sister and fellow blogger talks about in her book lovers' blog, Silver's Reviews.  She not only evaluates ones she's read, but she's so good that publishers send her review copies and ask for her comments before the book is actually released.
This is the header on her blog.  She took it on a trip to Scotland.
So lovely.
If you love to read like I do, please visit her here.

One more tidbit.  She recently was featured on another book lovers' blog, CMash Loves to Read.
To learn more about my sister and her blog/reading  perspective, please visit
CMash Loves to Read.

Thanks so much for stopping by again.  Just want to let you all know that I've been shopping.  Oh no! I'll be posting about my "finds" and about ways to incorporate them in your decor.  For those of you who live in the DC area, they're available for purchase too.  For now, only local pick up.

I don't know if it's intimidation or pure laziness, but the idea of packing and shipping items overwhelms me.  I wonder if some of you Etsy shop owners out there could advise me and encourage me to move in that direction.

Check back soon to view my shopping successes.


Friday, March 11, 2011

Unique Framing Ideas for Maps

Yes, I'm still on a map kick. (Previous map post here.)  In my home I have several framed maps. The one in my powder room is a giclee map of Versailles in 1746.  Since I have stainless steel accents in that and an adjoining room,  I had it framed in stainless steel.  I love the contrast with the vintage and modern.

I also have two over sized stainless frames in my kitchen.  Inside the small opening is a mini map print of the city of Rome in 1667, and in the other a map print of the city of Paris in 1572.   You could just as easily do the same thing with a vintage post card or other interesting ephemera.
The small print in a huge frame is dramatic.  A variation of this idea would be to place a small print in a much larger mat and frame.

The last different thing I did was to frame a large map in quadrants.  It's the first thing you see as you enter our bedroom.   I purchased the map in four sections, but you just as easily could cut a large map in four equal parts and frame the parts.  I like the look .  I also placed some mini globes into urns and into a loving cup.  What do you think?

What have you done with maps?
Please share.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Vintage Maps: A Design Inspiration

 If you've been following my blog you know that many of my posts deal with advice on what's hot to shop for when thrifting, and ways to incorporate your finds into your decor. One of my favorite design experiments had to do with educational pull down classroom maps.  They're also called posters and vintage teaching charts. 

The classroom teaching charts that I always look for have a science/nature-related theme.  In my sun room I have a reference map for shells.  It's one of my favorite things in my home.
You can see that it has been well-used.

The map became my stepping off point for the design in the room.  The wall color and the fabric pick up the brown in the map.  The coral prints in mirrored frames added the glam, the accent color,
and repeat the shell theme.

Again notice the repetition of the the shell theme with the shells in the vase and the colors brown and coral.

I recently found this smaller map version with mollusks.  I'm noticing that many of these educational maps are from Germany.  I haven't decided if I'll use this one in my home or sell it.

This next image is more of a science poster.  It's definitely shabby, but I really liked the subject matter
and the illustrations.

This last image isn't even vintage, but I loved the art and the gold leaf.  I have plans for this one.

As you can see,  the science-related maps have greater appeal to me.  I love them for their subject matter but also for their vibrant colors and design. Their large size really makes a statement.

Here are some other examples of nature-related pull down maps
 that will surely make you want to own and display some in your decor.

Source for the vintage teaching charts' images that are not from my home here.

Put these maps on your decor trend shopping list. You can find them readily on e-bay under the pull down map category.  Here are some (fuzzy) images of some I recently saw for less than $150 on e-bay. I'm also seeing them more and more in antiques shops too.

Let me know what you find and how you used it.
What are you hot to shop for?