Friday, July 10, 2009

The best laid plans of mice and men

Our living room is an odd shape. It's plenty wide, but the length is ridiculous and there are doors and windows on almost every square inch, making furniture setup awkward. We've settled on having all the furniture down at one end, leaving the other end, which is around 15'x16', open for Jack to ride his tricyle and play with his trucks. I spied this great sort of giant ottoman dealie at The Little Seed on Larchmont.

I thought it would be perfect for our space. It wouldn't close off the other seating arrangement, nor block any of the doors or site lines for the picture window in the sun room. It would provide more seating and a great place to flop and watch a movie. The girl there told me it was custom made, and it was $$$. It has organic cotton batting, and an organic cotton slipcover, and also I guess it's also made of solid gold. Ok, so it was totally out of our budget, so I started trying to think of other solutions.

You know when you were a kid, and you wanted something really badly, like a popsicle, or tree house, or tickets to see The Cramps, and your mom gave you an apple, or a cardboard box, or tickets to see Fiddler on the roof, instead. My solution ended up kind of like that.

I bought six large (30"x30") down pillows at Michael Levine, and decided I would make slipcovers for them, and the kids could pile them up, and flop on the floor. The adults would just live on the couch. Hoorah, Topol is going to sing, again.

It really is a miracle that Nipper and I are still speaking at all. I bought the pillows in April, and they have been sitting on the floor uncovered, and shedding massive quantities of goose feathers all over the living room. I had other projects to finish (to start). I couldn't decide on fabric that would go nicely with everything else, but still be kid friendly, and not cost more than $10 a yard, because the pillows were HUGE, and I was going to need a lot of it. This effectively ruled out anything I liked. I mean I could spend $400 on irish linen and fancy trim, but then, I'm part way towards buying the oversized ottoman, but stuck with sad pillows.

A few weeks ago, during one of my tutu visits to Jo-Ann fabrics, I saw they were having a sale on all of their chinese brocades and sari fabrics. It was polyester, but I could overlook that because it was hot pink, and orange, and shiny, and machine washable, and THREE DOLLARS A YARD! I bought 12 yards. That's right, I bought 12 yards of hot pink polyester urban outfitters apartment style fabric, to cover the flop pillows. Nipper Knapp, I'm sorry, but you took a vow.

SO it took me a while to get it together to start this thing. I spent the entirety of Jack's nap one day, just trying to figure out how best to cut the fabric to maximize the amount of slipcovers I would get. I should have paid more attention to Ms. Nesper in Geometry class. Once I had the pieces cut out for the slipcover, I had to figure out how to cut the trim fabric to custom cover the cording. Right. Check. Three websites, two nights of swearing, one phone call to my mother, one visit from my mother, the purchase of one self mending cutting board, and voila, bias cut custom cording. No problem.

I learned that you have to cut a little wedge in the cording cover to help it round corners. I learned this after more swearing and cursing the day I was born. Geez sewing has a lot of rules! I decided to take a little shortcut with the cording and use iron-on fusing to create the tube for the cord. I thought, it would make for less sewing, and since the fabric was so slippery, I wouldn't have to deal with pinning it. Great. You're a genius. Except once I had the cording pinned to the slipcover fabric, and I started sewing through, what I soon came to realize was GLUE, the whole thing went off the rails.

The needle quickly became totally covered in the fusing, and was so tacky, it couldn't pull through the fabric, and the machine would jam, and the thread would break, and I would shout lots of bad words at no one in particular. At this point I called Meema, and she made some suggestions, but also reminded me that it might be time to have my machine cleaned and serviced. Considering that before a few months ago, I hadn't used it in 17 years, that was the least I could do. I dropped it at SewJoe on Mission in South Pasadena, and some nice lady is going to fix it up just like new. Either that, or Mrs Nipper Knapp is getting a fancy new machine for her birthday. One that embroiders too...

So once again, slipcovers are on hold. Nipper suggested I pay the upholsterer who made our kitchen shades to make them. But where's the fun in that? Poor Nipper.

1 comment:

  1. From an outside viewpoint, it may have been cheaper (and eaiser, and better) to just buy that great looking ottoman. I'm just saying...