Sunday, August 31, 2014

Shabby Chic Window Seat Cushions

     I thought I'd put these up on the blog.  I made these for my friend Debi's window seat, and aren't they just fabulous?
It was her idea to make them out of painter's tarp.  At first, I cringed because painter's tarp, also known as duck cloth, can be a difficult fabric to work with.
     On the upside, it is very durable, is the ideal neutral color, inexpensive as far as fabric is concerned, and, as you can see below, is the perfect fabric for shabby chic decor.
     On the downside, it has a huge shrinkage factor ( I lost 4 inches per yard after washing), shreds a lot, and even with a high pressure steam iron, is very hard to press crisply flat.
I made three of these cushions for Debi, and by cushion No. 3, I figured out a great way to go about it.
     Normally, when making a cushion, I cut my fabric, stitch, and then serge my seams.  I learned during the making of cushion No. 1,  that if you are going to wash your fabric first, manipulating the fabric during the cutting and sewing phase, will make it shred. A LOT. 
      I chose to wash the fabric first, thinking that if they were ever soiled, they could be cleaned without shrinking the cover.  This left a very soft,  "lived in " look.  Soft and lived in yes, but shreds with cutting and stitching.  So, if you plan on washing the cloth first, press it after drying, and then make your cuts and immediately serge your pieces.  
     You could also just cut the cloth without washing it, which would give you a less wrinkled look, and it would shred less.  Just remember the shrinkage factor if you ever needed to clean them.  Maybe you could try a fabric protector.
     To make the trim, I cut 2" pieces of cloth on the bias, and then pressed in half the long way.  I stitched the trim to the edge of the top and bottom plates before attaching the boxing piece.  Once I stitched the pieces together (with a 1" SA), and turned the cushion cover right side out, I inserted the down cushion.  Then I made small 1 inch cuts along the edge of the flat "welt".  
I then learned, by trial and error, to use a brush attached to the end of a vacuum hose and brush back and forth until you achieved the desired look.  The fabric shreds easily, and then can be trimmed with sharp scissors to look even. 
     Debi loved them, and I think they are excellent for her beautiful space. Such a cozy place to snuggle up with a a book, or for a small spoiled pooch to settle down for a nap....What do you think?