Book Review: Modern DIY Upholstery

When I saw that was available for review I stuck my hand straight up and said, “Me, please” and it just came a few days ago.

I have NOT yet re-upholstered anything according to these instructions, but I can tell it’s only a matter of time, because reupholstery projects involve three things I really enjoy: thrifting/yard-saling, choosing fabric, and hammers.

I’ve only really ever upholstered a couple things in my life: a few chair seats (thank you, staple gun!) and a couple of futon covers (after the first of which I said NEVER AGAIN in a loud voice, but obviously I wasn’t listening to myself as I went on and did another one). *Note: do not try to sew futon covers in an un-air-conditioned room in the Chicago summer.

But this book has really set me on fire to go prowling for an ottoman or two, or maybe even a settee. The pictures are lovely, the instructions seem clear upon reading (haven’t done any yet, of course …) and there are even time-lapse videos!

I’ve probably bought half a dozen vintage upholstery books in the last ten years or so (including this one):

but none of them have really gotten me to actually DO any upholstery. I think this book will be different.

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In Search Of … The Perfect San Francisco Coat

I’ve been working in the actual city of San Francisco for about a month and I’ve realized that I need a “San Francisco coat”.

What’s a “San Francisco coat”? It’s a coat that is:

    • lightweight but wind-resistant
    • water-resistant but not waterproof (waterproof coats are usually too warm, and it doesn’t really rain that much in SF)
    • full enough to go over full skirts
    • movement-friendly (sufficient shoulder ease)
    • HAS POCKETS (of course)
    • long enough to be another barrier between you and the seats on public transit (just in case)

So here’s the current candidate (found on Etsy from seller ):

It’s possible to be a “San Francisco coat” without the buttons and collar, but I prefer buttons to zips in coats (zips are too binary; a coat is either zipped or it’s not unless you do one of those fancy zips that open from both the top and the bottom and even then that little section of the zipper gets too much stress and breaks).

I’m thinking of making this coat—the shorter length—in a lightweight gray denim, if I can find such a thing. (Sometimes I imagine fabrics that, while technically possible, do not actually exist.) I’m a little daunted by those welt pockets, but, hey, I read somewhere on Pinterest that what doesn’t kill me will make me stronger.

I have zero plans right now to line this darn thing, but we’ll see what happens when I actually start making it. I also have zero plans to do all that top-stitching, but I see some nice opportunities for piping. I’m pretty sure I’ll also shorten the sleeves a little; not all the way to three-quarters, but maybe to a length that is just shy of my watch.

I’ve never actually made a coat before — I’ve cut out TWO coats, neither of which ever made it to the “put it through the sewing machine” stage.

It was pretty warm for SF last week—cardigan weather, really—but you never know when you’re going to get another week of gray, 50, and windy, so I’m hoping to start this sooner, rather than later. Wish me luck!

I'm With the Bandana

Been a while since I posted a new dress, huh? Here’s one that’s been waiting patiently in pieces for ages:

This is in some black bandana print so old that I can’t remember when or where I bought it. It is not great fabric — it’s pretty stiff and there were plenty of print faults and slubs. Not sure why I was all excited about sewing with it, but I think playing with the print motifs was part of it:

Here’s a closer look at the bodice matching:

Here’s the back — I was really interested in having the back bodice look as much like a standalone bandana as possible:

Matched the motif across the skirt panels too (this is the altered Burdastyle Heidi skirt, again again again, I really should do a separate post detailing all the changes I’ve put it through):

And the piped pocket and zipper:

I bought a bunch of invisible zippers with very lightweight, almost knit tapes in Vancouver and they’re a bit trickier to sew with than I thought. As in, I’ve already broken two of them. I’m hoping it’s more “practice makes perfect” and not “you bought a bunch of lemons”. This one went it more or less okay, though. (Fingers crossed.)

I still have some yet to make up, probably the last piece of my epic 2008 Japan fabric binge.

(If you like odd bandanas you will almost certainly like the .)

Oh, and if you missed it, I wrote about ! Very exciting, I know.