Friday, August 26, 2011

Slipcovering: estimating yardage

Before I went about choosing a fabric to slipcover our two wingback chairs, I needed to take some measurements to make a yardage estimate in order to have a rough idea of how much fabric I'd need. This helps me to know what my maximum price range per yard will be. In order to do this, I measured each individual surface at its longest and widest point. (As you measure, pay attention to which direction the chair fabric is running -- I always made my height measurement correspond to the vertical grain, or the warp, of the fabric.) The photo illustrates what I mean by "individual surfaces" in case you are a little confused already. :) If a measurement ended with a fraction, I rounded up to the nearest whole number.

chair diagram
[I forgot to label the "arm front," but you can probably figure out where that is!]

After measuring all these areas, I ended up with a bunch of rectangular shapes that all needed to be fitted onto a length of yardage. I decided to assume that my fabric would be 54 inches wide, since that is the width of most home decor fabrics. Now here is where things got tricky for me. I'm pretty visual and I really needed something to look at to figure out the most efficient way to utilize the fabric. Sooo, I used some graph paper to simulate my shapes. Each box represented 10 inches, so I drew a rectangle for my fabric that was just under five-and-a-half squares across. Then I cut out corresponding shapes for each of my measurements, remembering that certain ones (like the arms, wings, and seat cushion) would need two of each piece. This made things so much more easy and I was quickly able to push the shapes around to find a space-efficient layout. I found that if I choose a solid or very small print, I could make each slipcover out of 3-2/3 yards of fabric.

The reason the print of the fabric will affect yardage is that larger-scale prints will need to be centered and matched, which obviously reduces the efficiency with which you can lay out your pieces. At least I now have an idea of how much fabric I'll need (I'd say 4-7 yards, depending on the scale of the print) and can search accordingly.

You'd think that the next part, fabric shopping, would be quite fun, but I can be so indecisive. It doesn't help that my tastes far outrun my budget. ;-) In the past I have been drawn to muted, classic, antique-looking fabrics (especially gorgeous florals). Since my marriage, my husband has helped me be less afraid of color and trends. I still like the same things, but am willing to consider brighter colors and different prints. I want to choose something that is not overly feminine (probably no pale pink florals) and that will stand up to a household with children (no whites or creams, and I would prefer something with a print so as to more readily hide dirt and crumbs). It also has to look good with Douglas' (black) grand piano. Lately I have been more drawn to ethnic prints but I'm nervous about going for anything too trendy. I might prefer to save such things for throw pillows, which are less of a commitment.

It's good for me to write this down and get a clearer idea of where I'm going. How do you go about making home decorating decisions? Do you choose a color scheme first, or find a fabric you love, or just start thinking about a general 'look'?

Friday, August 5, 2011

Summer WIFD - day seven

wifd - day seven

On the final day of my WIFD, I wore an Anthropologie top with my newly-finished linen Beignet skirt from Colette Patterns.

linen beignet skirt

I made this from stash fabric as a "wearable muslin" and I'm quite pleased with the way it turned out! Colette Patterns are a bit pricey but you will end up with a very well-made garment. If I bought a skirt like this in a store, it would cost me well over $100, and it wouldn't even be tailored to my figure. Choose some quality fabrics like wool and silk habotai lining and you'll up the luxury factor even more. At times, it pays to sew your own clothes!

This week was a good exercise for me as I now see I have plenty of options to make it through a week of dressing femininely, without resorting to the grubby or sloppy (oh, it happens!). I've tried to pay more attention to accessorizing as I think those little touches can add a subtle and beautiful look to an outfit. As to why I even bother trying to dress nicely at all, you can find some of my reasons here. I hope these posts have been an inspiration and encouragement to you!

Other WIFD participants:
A Joyful Handmaiden
Pursuing the Calling

Summer WIFD - day six

After my great-uncle's funeral, we headed West to join up with Douglas' family and friends in the mountains. We all enjoyed a few days together at the family cabin.

wifd - day six

I wore my Simplicity 5914 skirt (again) with an Anthropologie tunic top (on sale) and a belt from Charlotte Russe. My day was mostly spent enjoying family time and relaxing -- not too bad!

Other WIFD participants:
A Joyful Handmaiden
Pursuing the Calling

Summer WIFD - day five


This day, we were traveling all day in the car so I opted more for comfort than style. I wore a short-sleeved knit wrap cardigan over two J. Crew tanks and an Old Navy knit maxi skirt, plus flip-flops for easily slipping on and off in the car.


In his college days, my husband was accustomed to driving very long cross-country trips to get from school to home and back again, and thinks nothing of filling up the tank and driving until it's empty again. By the time we reached Meramec Caverns in Missouri, I was begging for mercy. ;-) We got out and stretched our legs a little, although we didn't tour the caverns this time. Then back on the road again!

Other WIFD participants:
A Joyful Handmaiden
Pursuing the Calling