Friends of ours recently moved into a beautiful flat near us and did a fantastic job kitting it out with an ecclectic mix of fabulous pieces gathered from from the wonderful world of eBay. This exercise included the purchase of a piano for which the cost of moving and tuning it was more than the piano itself – but how fun to have a piano in your home?! Some of the pieces of furniture were bought for their innate potential rather than the faded ‘granny’ fabric that first met the eye. And this is where I came in.
I was asked to help with the home-making project by covering the cushions for one of the chairs in a fun bird fabric that Ms C had found at Ikea. Of course I was delighted at being asked and embraced the challenge. The first task was to pull apart the old covers to make a pattern for the new cushions. I also managed to salvage the zip and had considered saving the piping cord but this was rather damaged and I found that buying piping cord was a pretty simple exercise: You can get varying thicknesses from Lincraft.
I painstakingly made meters and meters of bias binding to turn into piping for the edges of the cushions. And carefully laid and cut out the pattern pieces to have a good selection of birds in the right places on the cushions.
Although I had bought the correct needles, piping foot and extra strong upholstery thread (I was advised to only use it as the top thread – keep the bobbin with normal weight thread), my machine was NOT enjoying sewing through the piping and the two layers of fabric to construct the cushion. I tried many different iterations but I think I may have been asking a bit much from my dear old lady sewing machine – she’s probably older than I am so deserves some respect.
I ended up putting the top cushion together without the piping, while for some reason the bottom cushion worked fine with the piping. But when I took them over and saw the cushions together on the chair, I wasn’t happy. They needed piping for that professional finish.
The key, I discovered, was to get the right zipper foot. So I searched the online and offline shops, bought two incorrect feet and finally found a zip foot that worked. And eventually, I got my the piping finish I wanted! I was pretty happy with how the cushions turned out in the end and even happier at seeing how proud Ms C was of her newly refurbished chair in her beautiful apartment.