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Fabrics for the Kids’ Rooms

I was considering patterned fabrics like this or this for Eleanor’s curtains, but I wasn’t in love with anything. Thus, solid curtains! Groundbreaking! Either these or these will work, and to make them a little more fun, I’ll sew pom pom trim along the edges. I also ordered a blue eyeball sconce (great name) to go above the bed.

Eleanor's Room: Wall Sconce and Curtains

Aw, look at it! Like a big glossy pom pom or something. I should finally order this print.

Then for the walls I thought, maybe wallpaper? (This one’s pretty, this one is cute.) Do I want to chance a repeat of what happened in August’s room though? I think E would probably leave the walls alone, especially since she has been asking for wallpaper, but still. Paint may be the way to go right now. Maybe I’ll stencil something if we’re feeling crazy, but I think the room will come together with plenty of pattern elsewhere.

Like on her chair, perhaps. Because I love adding sewing projects to my to-do list. I made a purse before, with piping and everything! Five years ago! I’ve got this.

Fabrics for This Chair?

Fabrics for This Chair?

Right after I upholster August’s bed, of course.

Fabrics for Upholstering this IKEA Bed

I’ve ordered a sconce for his room too, but the name is not as fun. And hey, we found an extra length of his wallpaper in a drawer here! We might try to replace the missing strip. I’m fond of those stripes in his room and would like to work with them.

I ordered all of those fabric swatches above from Tonic Living. That car fabric needs to work its way into August’s room in some way, whether it’s on the bed, on a pillow, or as curtains. I like the windowpane fabric a lot too, but I don’t know if it plays well with his plaid bedding. Maybe for Eleanor’s chair? Are polka dots not masculine enough for a little boy? I can play it safe with a solid, but yawn. Let me overthink this some more.

Deciding on New Kitchen Curtains

I now present to you a series of awkward photos in which I stand on my countertops, holding up fabric to the window in approximation of curtains. Ready?

BHLDN Rifle Paper Photo Backdrop
(the photo backdrop)

BHLDN Rifle Paper Tablecloth
(the tablecloth)

That’s a photo backdrop and a tablecloth, both by Rifle Paper Co. for BHLDN. I bought them to use in a baby shower theme photo shoot, and as I was falling asleep the other night, I realized they would make awesome kitchen curtains.

The backdrop’s pattern is larger and I thought it might be too overwhelming, but now I think I like it better. Which is good, because the tablecloth is no longer available and it was going to break my heart a little to cut the fabric up. (I’d been searching eBay for another, but no luck.) Which one do you prefer? Wait, don’t answer yet… there’s more.
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How I Repaired a Tear in My Chair’s Upholstery

I wrote about the floor model chair that I picked up for half-off yesterday. It had a 2″ tear along the top (not along a seam), and I asked if it seemed like something that can be fixed.

I called Anthropologie to see if they could offer a better discount (no), but they did say that I could still return the chair even after attempting to fix it, so I figured I had nothing to lose by trying. Many of you recommended keeping the orange chair that we already own, and having it reupholstered for a new look. I like the shape of the new chair more though, I love the fabric, and if I sell the orange chair I can essentially swap chairs at no cost. Then if I decided to reupholster the new chair at some point, I’m not out any more money than I would be had I reupholstered the orange one.

[ 1, 2, 3 ]

I went to the fabric store for mending supplies and came home with an embroidery hoop and some fabric to practice on, various liquid stitch adhesives, Fray Check, curved needles, iron-on patches, and several types of thread and embroidery floss.

I stretched my scrap fabric on the hoop and jabbed at it with scissors to recreate the upholstery tear. I frayed the edges too for good measure. Then I got to work trying out various methods, keeping the fabric stretched tight on the hoop to simulate the conditions of the fabric stretched tight across the chair back. Here are the methods that I (a novice) used.

Method 1: Darning Upholstery with a Looped Stitch

First, I applied Fray Check, as recommended by this upholstery darning tutorial. Then I used a heavy-weight thread that matched the fabric, and started with a looped stitch. I’ll let my play-by-play Twitter updates tell the story here.

I'm getting my darning on. I have some scrap fabric stretched on an embroidery hoop to practice with before attempting to tackle the chair.
Nicole Balch

And I am not understanding this looped stitch AT ALL. It looks like Frankenstein stitching.
Nicole Balch

I should practice this stitch on lighter fabric. I can't tell what I'm doing! Though I kind of like the Frankenstein stitch. It's charming.
Nicole Balch

OK, I was trying to be cute with that last bit. The Frankenstein stitching was somewhat charming, but not enough to actually use it on the chair. And I did figure it out toward the end, but it still wasn’t a good enough fix and I was worried that the extra tension would eventually rip the fabric further.

Method 2: Trying to Glue the Fabric Back Together

I thought that I could slip a little fabric under the tear and then glue in back together. I had actually called a local upholsterer for advice and this was the technique that they recommended, so I tried it. Messy and awful. The worst of it was a product I found (that sounded promising!) called Tear Mender. It was a rubber-cement like adhesive that smelled awful and gummed up my fabric. I think it could be great for thicker fabric or leather, but it was terrible for my linen. I tried a few other liquid stitch products, but none with good results.

Method 3: Patching the Fabric

There were two options for patching. One: I could cut out a matching portion of fabric from my chair’s armrest covers, glue it over the tear or iron it on with fusible mending tape, apply Fray Check to the ends, then stitch around the patch to secure. Or option two: slap an iron-on patch over the rip. To my surprise, the easier option worked! The patch fuses completely to the fabric, bonding to the ripped portion and preventing the tear from getting worse. And even better, the edges of the mending patch won’t fray so there’s no need to stitch around the edge (which calls more attention to the repair).

It’s not invisible (and I never expected that it would be), but it looks like it’s just part of the chair’s busy pattern. And as I had mentioned, the tear takes away some of the chair’s preciousness, which isn’t such a bad thing. I could even blend the patch by using fabric paint to match the pattern, but I don’t think that will be necessary.

One Last Option

I can pile on the pillows and a throw blanket. Sure, there’s no room to sit, but look how cute it is.

I kid! The chair’s going to be just fine.

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