Friday, November 6, 2009

A saga: silk slipcovers that nearly killed me

My first mistake, looking back, was buying silk.

Who hasn't been there: it's the nameless racks and aisles of a giant, corporate fabric store. Whatever surety you had about what you wanted to make has fizzled at the sight of bolts and bolts and bolts of luscious fabric.

You round a corner, somewhere between Interfacing Infinity and The World of Wool, and there you behold the Clearance Section. A dangerous place.

If you're like me, you uncover buried treasure: a bolt of copper-colored dupioni silk, its label a happy procession of sucessively lower prices. You gasp: $6 a yard!

In my defense, I did hesitate before folding it under my arm and marching to the cutting counter. Silk slipcovers, really? My practical side pointed out its faults: delicate, hard-to-work-with, and, curse of curses, dry clean only. Was I convinced? No. My inner cavalier bought three yards.

What followed was a ridiculous and trying series of events. I can laugh about it, now that they're done, but for awhile it was touch and go. It took me three whole days just to make a pattern for the project, even before I cut into the material. When I did cut, I cut wrong. I sewed together a tapered form that had no hope of ever fitting over the back of the chair.

I cursed and pulled out seams. I re-drew the pattern. I realized I was going to need more fabric.

I realized I was going to need more fabric...

No one ever wants to come to that realization. Especially when the fabric in question was clearance, and is probably gone, and if not gone, expensive.

This was the only ray of sunshine in the entire journey of this project: I found it, there amid the towering piles. I heard harps. I felt the presence of divine intervention. There were three yards left. I bought them all. And then a choir of angels picked me up and carried me to my car.

The rest of the project proceeded in ordinary fashion: more screw-ups, more sewing things on backwards and inside out. More cursing and pulling out seams.

With about 45 seconds' worth of stitching left to go, my sewing machine started sucking great wads of thread down into the bobbin case. The needle broke.

It was the end of a long day. I calmly turned off my machine and walked away. In the morning, everything was fine. I finished my seam, clipped my threads, and did a happy dance. Done, done, done!

They have met with Pete's approval. (Always important.)

And my favorite thing: they have bows in back. Yeee.

Now off to sew something ridiculously simple and let my craft ego recover from this battering.


Karen said...

is your cat declawed? how in heck will he not rip those up/get fur all over them? :-) they are pretty, though. by the way, I could use some basic sewing advice. see my recent post!

Kristina said...

No, he's not declawed. I forgot to mention that I'm considering giving these "company's coming" status, and making a set of washable slipcovers for everyday. Now that I've been through hell, it should be easy, right?

Jen said...

Those are gorgeous. Very impressive. Can I also say that I am just a little bit in love with your house? It looks *exactly* like the type of house I someday want to make my forever house.

Kristina said...

Jen-- Thank you so much for the house compliments! They have made my day. I hope you get to your "forever" home asap!

Ashley Taylor said...

Thanks for the comment! I think it's harder to read in the Summer as well. I usually can only pull it off at rainy days or while I'm at work. ;)

Emily said...

They turned out so great! I applaud you, and aparently so does Pete.

Kami said...

Kristina, though sooooo (get it?) not a seamstress, I applaud your efforts and am happy to report they turned out beatifully! And, I love that first pic! It showcases your home perfectly :)

Kristina said...

Thanks Kami! I was kind of surprised at that first pic-- I think I caught it at just the right light and state of tidiness. As one with first-hand experience, you know it isn't always so pretty. :)

Hilarie Mae said...

Wow. Kudos to you for sticking with it! Silk is such a pain!!! I think I probably would have dissolved into tears at some point and given up. :) But the chairs look absolutely beautiful!!! And you can tell how well crafted they are!

Mrs. Danby said...

I do not envy your silkiness. It is SO difficult to work with. However, as I expected, these turned out beautifully. Excellent work, again, m'dear! Hope I get to see these in person and rub the fabric between my finners!

Karen said...

agree that you have a beautiful house, and you have lately inspired me to paint some of my old furniture so it better matches my new dining room. With old paint I already have, of course. i think the washable covers are a good idea. i just know that cat scratches and fur (and sometimes puke) ruin much ... and i'd hate to see those get ruined on you after all that effort!

Saskia said...

Wow, what a job!! They look fantastic. I wouldn't have the patience or skill to have finished off this job (:


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