Seat covers for someone else

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Seat covers for someone else

New postby SmilieFace on Sat Mar 21, 2009 8:07 am

So, my friend called me the other day, and said she was on her way to the fabric store to get material to make seat cushion covers for her patio furniture. Then she said she remembered that she doesn't own a sewing machine, and she doesn't know how to sew. Guess who she asked. :)

So...do you think I should take on the project? The cushions are square, so the covers shouldn't be difficult to make. To close them, could I use velcro? Is there a way she could make them without sewing?
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Re: Seat covers for someone else

New postby sewingmom on Sat Mar 21, 2009 9:46 am

If you like home dec projects go for it, unless, you already have plans made for the time that you would use making them.
Some of the outdoor fabrics are heavy duty and tough for the average sewing machine to handle. Test some of the fabric in layers before you take the job. You may need a 16 gage or 18 gage heavy duty jeans or leather needle.
I used a leather needle on a purse recently and it was smoothe sailing.
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Re: Seat covers for someone else

New postby kaitlinnegan on Sat Mar 21, 2009 10:10 am

I have to tell you, I did not like my one attempt at home dec sewing at all. It was a roman shade, and I ended up putting it off a lot..and in the end the shade did not fit the window due to a calculation error. :( In theory I could fix it, but a really don't feel like it. I just felt out of my element working with something so big, and with those long, straight lines. Anyway, that does not at all mean that YOU won't like it, but don't feel obligated to do this just because your friend cannot sew and for some inexplicable reason felt compelled to take on a sewing project.

On thing to consider is that her choice of fabric may not be easy to sew. That outdoor canvas-type stuff is pretty thick, and not all machines can handle it. I know my Singer machine isn't too happy with me when I try to sew even medium weight denim. So, before you say yes or no, you might want to test a swatch to see if you can get it to work at all.

It seems like you could probably figure out a no-sew solution - perhaps if she doesn't care about what the cushions look like in the back, she could cover the fronts with pieces of fabric and use adhesive velcro to hold the cover on. The edges of the fabric could be finished by turning under twice and using fusible tape to hold the hem. Or, if she doesn't care if the covers are removable, she could just cover the fronts of the pillows and staple or hand sew to the existing fabric in the back. I have no experience with this sort of thing, so don't take my word for it..but just a few ideas to think about.
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Re: Seat covers for someone else

New postby temom on Sat Mar 21, 2009 10:56 am

I wouldn't touch it. Chances are she would choose an inappropriate material, and the amount would be the wrong amount. Chances are also that she thinks it is such an easy job that should only take a few minutes. Gee, I wonder why I'm so negative about this? Hmmm...

Why don't you tell her to use steam a seam or stitch witchery and velcro, and jump into the project herself? She may like it enough that she wants to buy a sewing machine and learn how to use it. Or she may realize that there is no such thing as an easy job that takes only a few minutes, unless it is sewing a button. And that is only simple if you have the button, the thread, the needle, and the scissors to cut the thread, lol.

Edited to add: It seems to me that she planned for you to do the project the whole time, without consulting you. I seriously hate that kind of manipulation.
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Re: Seat covers for someone else

New postby LeapFrog Libby on Sat Mar 21, 2009 12:48 pm

I agree Theresa, I think she was trying to sucker her into agreeing to make them.. I would not touch that with a 10 foot pole.. I hate it when somebody tries to "use" me like that..
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Re: Seat covers for someone else

New postby plrlegal on Sat Mar 21, 2009 1:43 pm

Been there and done that and won't ever attempt it again unless I can find an industrial type machine to do it on. It's totally up to you, but most home machines are really not designed to do that type of heavy fabric sewing, unless she plans to use a lightweight fabric that is totally inappropriate for patio/lawn & garden furniture. If you ruin your machine doing a job for her I doubt she will be willing to spring for repairs or replacement cost of your machine.

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Re: Seat covers for someone else

New postby bridesmom on Sat Mar 21, 2009 1:49 pm

It would depend on a few things.
Is she a very fussy person?? I hate sewing for perfectionists, every little detail must be perfect and they are a pain to deal with
Would she compensate you for your time? Again, that would depend on how good a friend this is, a really good friend, I would most likely do, in return for a favor to be repaid back some other time.
I'd want to know what she was choosing for fabric, and she would have to provide the thread, zipper and needles, as if it's a denim type, you will need a 100/16 needle.
A square cushion is easy, you can use a velcro closing or a zipper.
Measure the square, measure the side of the cushion. Cut 2 squares 1/2" larger on all sides (your seam allowance) than the finished measurement. Cut a long strip the length of 3 sides plus 1/2 inch on each end and 1/2" wider on each side
Cut 2 strips the measurement of the back of the cushion plus 1/2" on each end, this will be your closing side.
Finish off the short back strips on one side. Fold over and attach your velcro. Fit both pieces together with velcro closed. Sew this strip onto the other long strip so you have a long looped piece. Pin one edge to one square. At the corners you will need to clip into the long strip 1/2" to facilitate sewing the corner. I'd do a 2" staystitch on the long strip along the seam line where the corners will be, to reinforce the fabric. Once you have this fitted, sew the strip to the square and pivot at the corners. Do the same thing with the other square. Turn right side out, through the velcro opening at the back. TaDa! You are done.
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Re: Seat covers for someone else

New postby Upholsteress on Sat Mar 21, 2009 2:25 pm

There are several ways to do these cushions. the fastest and easiest is to cut fabric larger, stitch 3 sides, dog ear the corners - and... I wouldn't bother with velcro... make your back seam a bit long... fold under and sew closed.

IF you do it.. and want me to walk you through it I would be happy to. I can take some quick pics and email ya the type of cushion I speak of.

If your machine will sew jeans... you can sew this stuff... just make be sure there is NO welting or zippered boxing involved.

BTW -- She suckered you... and I would totally let her know it.

Had a friend from 20 yrs ago call me recently... i was THRILLED to renew the friendship!! After 3-4 phone chats .. she tells me this long story and gets to the finale... "Since you are an upholsterer -- i figured you could upholster them for me"... I grimaced in the handset... and said "Yes i could.. but can you afford it? A job like that can easily run $2500..."

I have NOT heard from her since... ... I suppose i should have been a bit angry -- but I was mostly shocked and hurt.

OH yes... and if you would like a GRACEFUL way to bow out... just tell her you'd love to help her out but your machine will not sew that type of fabric and you can't risk it breaking down by trying.
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Re: Seat covers for someone else

New postby sewingmom on Sat Mar 21, 2009 2:41 pm

Cheryl, I was thinking that would be the best way to go with the cushions. For future reference, how much larger than the cushions would one need to make the fabric pieces. Am I correct, thinking I should measure the debth of the cushion and add 1/2 that amount to the sides and length of each panel.
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Re: Seat covers for someone else

New postby lendube on Sat Mar 21, 2009 3:16 pm

Upholsteress wrote:I grimaced in the handset... and said "Yes i could.. but can you afford it? A job like that can easily run $2500..."


I have a new "assertiveness" hero. It's you, Cheryl. I could only aspire to handle a similar situation as well. Well done. I'm such a wuss.......... :oops: And yes, "My machine can't handle that." is a great graceful way out of doing something you'd rather not do. I've used it several times.

And Smilie, I don't think it's such a big deal to do. I've covered a window seat and a few other cushions without instructions. You just have to plan and figure before you cut. My advice: only do it if #1, your machine can easily handle the fabric and #2, if you really would like to do it. Just don't make it complicated with stuff like piping, zippers, etc.

Good luck.
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