Here's an up close view of my Italian "FIND". Spotted first by my Antiques Diva Guide, Susan, at one of her secret sources. This secret source was a harmonious fusion of furniture showroom, workshop, carpenter's shop, and architectural design studio, and specialized in items restored, reinterpreted, and reimagined for the home. We climbed the attic to dig in the archives of wait listed projects to find this Florentine footrest. I fell in love with the gilded bees and green paint that is aged and chipping. Now what to do for a slipcover?
Kari Senter here, NC State student, Fashion and Textile Design major, lover of chocolate and all things foreign.
Why am I writing this blog post, you may ask?
This summer I’ve had the chance to shadow Linda, owner of Pencil Me In, in her workspace and learn from her and her process.
This post is about the office chair slipcover I made. Considering I had never made a slipcover before, I was expecting anything but a smooth ride, however; thanks to the instructions in “The Complete Photo Guide to Slipcovers, Pillows & Bedding” (by Karen Erickson) and a phone call to Teresa Bennett, owner of Cozy Cottage Slipcovers and the very person who wrote those handy instructions, I was able to pull it off better than even I expected.
Aside from the fact that this was my first ever slipcover, the challenge was to create a piece that fit with ambiance of the workplace. After lots of sketching and prototyping, I was able to make a slipcover from different textures and weights of white fabric, accentuated with contrasting cording and a panel of colorful patterned fabric by Jackie Von Tobel in the back.
Here are some pictures of my take on the office chair slipcover, which features a skirt with a flounce, my own label, and some cording resembling princess seams.
My main goals were to make something that measures up to the high standards in craft and quality that Pencil Me In upholds, along with achieving the aesthetic so characteristic of Pencil Me In. I hope you like it!
It was my good fortune to spend the weekend in 12 hours of private lessons at the Wiliamsburg School of Needlework, a vocational training school for the linen industry based on the European model. I love the school's philosophy:
"Old World Skills requires Old World Time".
Ever since I acquired "The Book Of Fine Linen" by Francoise de Bonneville, I have wanted to master this art of embellishing fine fabrics. In class we used a lighted magnifying lamp, 5x power, to accomplish the exquisite details of fine stitchery on the linen sampler. To be quite honest, this fineness of hand eye coordination under the microscope did not come so naturally to me, and even threading the needle with the embroidery floss was challenging. I can understand why it was explained that any new skill requires approximately 3 months to master. Certainly it will take many hours of practice to complete the samplers from class, but I've got my writing desktop cleared to make space and time for practicing an old world skill. And while I may never master this embroidery technique, I am sure to sharpen the eye as 5x is a powerful and magnificent way to see the details. In the meantime, something else I noticed under the magnifying glass is that it's time for a manicure! If you would like to know more about my experience at the Williamsburg School of Needlework, please contact me privately.
Last week I wished for a few cold winter's nights so I could get back to finishing a couture project, and this week I got snowed in on Snowden.
Night time temps have been single digits in Raleigh. Be careful what you wish for!
Last night I worked on hemming my couture jacket. I couldn't find a good match in hem tape, but Joann's Fabrics had three colors of this lace. One was the perfect match. I used pins I purchased from Susan Khalje to hold the lace in place for hand stitching They are so sharp and have glass heads which can be ironed over and are great for delicate laces and fine fashion fabrics like the silk organza underlining. You can purchase the pins and the silk organza here: Susan Khalje Store
Once the bottom of the lace was stitched to the folded up hem, I pressed the lace with just enough steam to shape it to the curve of the bottom edge of the jacket. Malleable materials that can be molded together feel like clay in a potter's hands to me. The fabric I chose for the jacket is 100% linen from Brazil, in color celestial, and reacts wonderfully to just a bit of steam.
At the top of the lace I am using a catch stitch. Working from left to right, I first catch the lace and then catch the silk organza interlining. That way there are not any pick stitches showing on the outside of the garment. Well maybe a few misses. But only a few.
Looks like celestial snowflakes to me. Melting on celestial linen. Too bad this is only the hem on the inside and will not show. But that is the beauty of couture inside and out. Rumors of more snow always welcome. I'm ready for another late night of fabric play.
So glad it's snowing tonight! Cold winter nights are super for late night sewing, and it's time to take my couture school project off the back burner.
I finished the linen exterior in class, but I still need to insert the silk lining. And finish hand stitching beads on the lace. Oh and the buttons, alledged to be Chanel. Here are some scenes from the beginnings of making this jacket at Susan Khalje's Couture School back in October. Yes that was months ago. I know, it's time to finish.
My first Christmas decoration of the season! I was so excited when a dear friend from back home brought by this Red Beauty Holly.
I love the red berries on this deer resistant plant. My dear friend must have know about all the deer here. I tied a velvety bow on top because I love the teal/red color combo.
But this needed something more.
So I threw this beauty in a champagne bucket and wrapped some ribbon trim around the base.
Then I got sidetracked with a book.
"Williamsburg - Decorating With Style" is produced by Tricia Foley with photographs by Jeff McNamara & text by Catherine Calvert. I loved the spread on red and white fanciful dining chair slipcovers . It's Christmasy.
I threw in some pretty aqua lace, which reminds me I must get back to finishing my linen and lace project from couture school.
But first I have a sleeper sofa and two chair slipcovers to complete. And some pillows to ship to New York.
Now what was I really doing before I started blogging on a whim?
Since its inception, this book has been on every slipcover diva's wish list, and yesterday it arrived at my door. The Home Decor Idea Book: Slipcovers, written and illustrated by Jackie Von Tobel
is even more phenomenal than I thought it would be. Can't wait to curl up in a comfy chair and drift off into slipcover embellishment dreamland. Thank you Jackie for this gift to slipcoveristas of the world!