Dear readers, thank you for visiting. This post is about a humbling episode in my sewing life, and an educational one. It’s a lesson in picking your sewing battles.
A cover for a set of patio chairs in the backyard has been on my sewing list for a while. The original cover was very cheap vinyl and pretty much disintegrated with weather vagaries, which it was supposed to withstand. I really liked the shape, though, and decided to copy it in good (read expensive) weather resistant fabric, giving it my own design spin and making it – er – couture. Pretty, huh?
The design is, as you can see, is eight-sided (octagon) for four chairs and four empty spaces (between the chairs). The original crappy cover was octagonal but was all one piece; I created wedge shapes which, when sewn together created the octagon shape. So far so good. My creative streak still in overdrive, I decided that the wedges as well as the drop down sides, would be a mix of prints, and all seams would be bound on the outside in a third print. That would give certain definition to the design. All seams bound; that is where I should have drawn the line. Light-bulb moments do have limits when it comes to actual execution.
So, let’s get to the lessons learned while working on this project:
- Forget about the old sewing/carpentry rule of “measure twice, cut once”. Measure multiple times. After measuring only twice I ended up with a wedge bigger than the top of each chair back (which it was supposed to cover). Well, at least too big is better than too small.
- Test your fabric. I tested by sprinkling water on a scrap and leaving it for the entire day. The water did not seep through to the other side. That is a good thing because I tested after purchasing the fabric. Obviously I trust the manufacturer. We’ll see what happens in a real downpour. I have faith.
- Outdoor fabric ravels. One would think that it is tightly woven and thus not ravelly at all. But it is. Still, its not difficult to sew. It is synthetic and on the slippery side because of the weather resistant finish on the fibers, I presume.
- Do not let your fabric hang off the cutting or sewing surface. Large home dec projects like this need another surface next to the sewing machine to hold all the fabric and the long seams you’re sewing. Such as an extra table, chair, or even the ironing board. This sucker is huge…
- Pick your sewing battles. Mine was the decision to bind and seam together all pieces on the outside in one pass of the machine. Hey, I had a bias binder attachment and I was going to give it a workout. Exciting. Halfway through this process, I was on the losing end of this battle. This happened:
The binder attachment bravely did its job but I asked too much, and set up some parameters that were not quite correct. A post about working successfully with a bias binder attachment will be forthcoming. Stay tuned. Before starting the project the thought did occur to me that I should sew and serge all pieces the normal way, right sides together, and call it a day. But no. I had to follow through with the original, ill fated light-bulb moment.
In the end, the patio cover looks decent if you are not close to it. And – do you think I’ll let the binding mishaps go? Heck, no. I have an idea which will redeem this project. My pride knows no bounds. I can hear a collective groan……..
What are your thoughts about this project? Did you have humble pie sewing moments? Can we hear about them?
As always, I’m delighted that you are reading this! Thank you.