that other crafting

So as I mentioned a couple of posts back, one reason I haven’t been knitting so much lately is because I’ve been sewing.  On this:

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Background: This summer, I had a friend live with me for about a month. Since she was in between accommodations, she came with furniture. I will refrain from giving a full catalog of the furnishings she brought, but one piece of note was a couch. Specifically, an orange corduroy couch. I had always thought my living room was way too small to comfortably fit two couches, but it turns out…I was wrong. Of course, then my friend (and her couch) packed up and left.

So I found this chaise lounge on craigslist. Cute, no? There’s just one problem. The color is kind of almost the same as my carpet, and combined with the off-white of the wall, it’s a little blah. So I decided it needed a new cover.

Since I don’t sew a lot, covering an entire chaise lounge (in such a way that it actually looks good) is kind of a daunting task. But, I’ve been working at it and so far things are coming along well.

I started off with a muslin mock-up:

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Ultimately, I’m not sure I really needed to mock-up the whole couch. The really tricky pieces where the shape of the fabric actually matters are the front of the arm and the flat rear portion of the back. For everything else, it’s been enough to just break out a measuring tape and err on the side of caution (i.e. cut a little larger). I suppose if I really really needed to economize on fabric I would find the mock-up more handy, but actually, I think the cheapest option would be to skip most of the muslin (thus not having to buy it), and just buy an extra yard or two of cord just in case. Anyway.

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For areas like the arm front, I pinned pretty carefully, and then traced with a fabric pencil the shape I actually wanted the fabric to occupy. I am really glad I bothered with the mock-up here.

After the mock-up, it was time to cut into the real fabric. SCARY. I decided to start with something relatively simple, the seat cushion area:

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Painless, mostly. I am, however, discovering that maneuvering large pieces of fabric from chaise to machine and then sewing successfully takes a certain amount of patience.

Of course, the problem with doing the easy part first is that then you have to do something harder:

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Like this curved business on the back. After a few tried of back and forth and ripping out from trying to use the sewing machine, I decided it would be easier to just sew this piece by hand, with everything pinned in place on the chaise. Slower, but so far the results are worth it. Here’s the back on the side with the arm:

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And the front of the back:

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Currently I’m working up the piping on the arm, which I’m hoping to finish this weekend:

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Then there’s a little bit of edge finishing left to be done on the machine, but a lot of what’s left is also going to be by hand. Still, I’m hoping to finish it soon because right now there is corduroy all over my living room and I want to get it cleaned up!

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