Wednesday, December 3, 2014

WIP: Decorator Fabric Projects

We have been redecorating the master bedroom and trying to achieve a beach boardwalk feel with out being too clichéd with shells and fish. Here is a metal sculpture we bought for inspiration. It is our "jumping off point" as is often said on all those home design shows. As possible candidates for drapes, I'd bought some red and white cabana stripe fabric and a unique rope print fabric samples from Ikea. Once in the room, neither fabric felt quite right for drapes, so I decided to repurpose them.

I'd originally considered the cabana stripe fabric for curtains, because of the roofs on the concession stands, but rejected it. The red of the cabana stripe was very vibrant, not a soft red, suitable for a serene bedroom vibe. But the cheery, bright red was perfectly fine for Christmas. Before Thanksgiving I'd assembled my first ever artificial trial tree but had not yet decorated it. With visitors and holiday preparations pending, I managed to eek out about an hour to at least make a tree skirt. I had one yard of the lengthwise red and white striped 54" wide fabric, Sofia by Ikea. I cut it into two ½ yard pieces and joined them  side by side along one selvage edge to form an 18" long by 108" wide rectangle. I machine hemmed the bottom edge and made a casing along the top edge. I strung grosgrain through the casing and gathered it up around the tree base. It was quick and easy and I used up the decorator fabric sample. I have not decided the decorations for the tree but perhaps candy canes would support the striped theme and look coordinated and cute with this peppermint pinwheels reminiscent tree skirt. Yo-yo's out of a red pinstripe fabric would look adorable, too, but I do not think I am willing to invest so much effort this busy time of year.

Here is a closeup of the casing edge. It is gathered very densely, almost as tight as the fabric thickness will allow, but a 108" circumference works out to be about a 34" diameter circle, just right for under the tree. The casing has a raw edge to reduce the bulk when gathered. I do not think it will get enough wear and tear that fraying will be an issue, and it is hidden anyway. It turns out to be a great use of decorator weight fabric. With the wide width, only a yard was needed.

The rope fabric from Ikea was too unique and interesting to pass up but the ropes run cross grain, not lengthwise. Curtains with ropes running sidewise did not appeal to me although Ikea had done that on shower curtains.

Instead of drapes, I am making two 3" thick by 24" deep by 50" wide window seat cushions from the rope fabric. They will have box edges with a 3" wide pieced gusset strip running around the perimeter. I did not have enough "ropes" to do the side and rear parts of the gusset strip that way, so I cut them along the grain;  but they are against walls anyway. I inserted two zippers, head to head in the back part of the gusset strip.

The ropes matched up pretty well and I cut the back part of the gusset strip overly wide in order to trim it to the foam thickness after the zippers were in. That way I did not need to be as precise with the seam allowances for the zippers. Here is a look down the 50" width of one cushion back gusset before it has been trimmed to 3" wide. The side gussets will have the same orientation but they will not have the center seam and zippers.

I have not done it yet, but I plan to cut the front, visible part of the gusset strip across the grain to be one continuous length of rope length of rope. The front rope gusset will wrap around a bit to the sides. It will look like this, without the zipper seam interruptions, of course.

Maybe part of it was being lazy, or chicken, but I decided not to add piping in the edge seams. A contrasting color piping might compete with the ropes and if the piping were white, why bother? Beach cottages tend to be informal and piping leans a bit toward formality.

The last time I posted my projects status list was November 5, 2014.  Here are my stats since then. I figure that updating this list once a month is frequent enough to show progress and seldom enough to avoid discouraging me about stalled projects that linger in the ongoing category.

Completed projects since November 5, 2014 (4):
    1. Chicken Quilt  (November 13, 2014 post)
    2. The Mitten Graphic Novel (November 20, 2014 post)
    3. Jungle Alphabet Book for Vivian (November 26, 2014 post)
    4. Tree Skirt (December 3, 2014 post)
    Ongoing projects (4):
    1. Knitted Christmas Stocking for Autumn (no post yet)
    2. Classic Cars strip quilt (August 3, 2013 post) - need to back, quilt, and bind
    3. Overlapping square wall hanging - paired with thread, awaiting FMQ
    4. Mask quilt (October 19, 2011 post) - packed away... again ... may abandon
    New projects since November 5, 2014 (5):
    1. Jungle Alphabet Book for Vivian ( November 5, 2014 post)
    2. The Mitten Graphic Novel (November 19, 2014 post)
    3. Tree skirt (December 3, 2014 post)
    4. Window seat cushions (this December 3, 2014 post)
    5. Knitted sweater begun but no post yet
    I am hooking up to today's Freshly Pieced post for WIP Wednesday.


    1. I love your tree skirt and I think candy canes on the tree would be perfect! (I'm ashamed to admit it, but my tree isn't up yet.) You've manipulated that rope fabric in such a clever way, that cushion is going to look so cool! I made a cushion earlier this year and added piping - if I did it again I wouldn't.

      1. I just put the ornaments on my tree last night. I went with all red in different shapes. It was quite a much more organized approach to a tree than is my normal mode but it is nice for a change. I learned artificial trees are very different from real. If a branch is too droopy or does not point the way you want it you can bend it to be wherever you want. Very odd indeed... fitting the tree to the ornaments instead of the ornaments to the tree. Thanks for the piping advice, too. It made me feel better about my easy way out decision. Thanks for visiting and commenting.

    2. Can't wait to see the finished window seat - I love your idea with the rope fabric and your attention to the detail. Very classy.

      I agree about the red stripe fabric - not the serene feel of a beach - but love it as a tree skirt.

      Judging by your statistics, you've been a busy lady!

      1. Ha! I cannot wait to see the finished window seat either. Seems like I am more distracted by Christmas than a beachy bedroom. Beach theme is hard to define. I did not want a margarita-in-your-hand-bikini-type-vibe with a cabana boy bringing me drinks. Nor a nautical-ship-and-lighthouse feel. Sea coral and octopi and fishes were not quite it either. Just a fun family oriented day at the boardwalk with your kids and spouse wiggling your toes in the sand or riding a merryground on the boardwalk or hanging on the ropes in the waves. I think I want to bring back fond memories of old times. Thanks again Tami for sticking with me!

    3. That is a great idea for a pinstriped fabric and a tree skirt! and it looks super simple, too. I can't quite envision the seat covers yet, but the way you placed the seams does make it look like one long set of ropes from a distance!