Friday, November 23, 2012

Fix it Friday!

Ready for another installment of Fix it Friday? So was this tired out "poef" (pronounced like poof). (As I understand it, that is the dutch word for footstool.  I find it handier and more suited to the item than "footstool.")

It's a little hard to make out, but the fabric was once a rich red with ornate gold elephants. With regular use, it become dirty, worn, and faded. You might also be able to pick out that the elephants are upside down on the sides. Oops.

The fabric on the bottom was worn out from being
pushed across the carpet all the time.
So I think we can all agree it needed to be redone! Part of my inspiration to do it now was that I went through my upholstery type fabrics and saw one I forgot I had and really liked it when I saw it again. So with the materials on hand, I asked myself, "What's stopping me?" And I answered myself with, "Nothing."

First step was to cut off the worn out cover. This is actually the third time I am covering this poef. It was something I made in sewing class in grade 5! Let me drive that point home by rephrasing that: this poef is over 30 years old. Can you imagine!?

Here is a shot of the original fabric I uncovered:
What I think of as a traditional type upholstery fabric. (Before you mock me, let me add that I made it in sewing class and had absolutely no choice about it. The materials were presented to me and I was told, "You're making a footstool today." Ok, and I did.

By the way, if you want your own footstool that will last more than 30 years and stand up to multiple makeovers, this one is simple to make. You will need seven juice cans, emptied and cleaned. (You can take off the top and/or bottom if you want.) Arrange the cans with one in the middle and six in a circle around it. Then cut two circles of plywood to match the diameter of the cans. One piece of wood goes on the bottom and one on top. Add padding (foam or batting) to the top and a layer around the outside. Cover with the fabric and you're done.

How do you cover it with fabric? Well first you trace around the bottom to make a pattern for the top and bottom. I used a couple of old file folders taped together because I have a lot of them laying around:
(In case you're wondering, the white stripe is an extra layer
of batting I added at some point because I thought the
sides needed a little extra stuffing. Originally the sides
matched the top.)
 Then cut it out adding a 1/2" seam allowance. (I generally use 1/2" on projects like this because it's big enough, not usually too big, and makes the math of adding seam allowances really easy!)
I then cut out the bottom from the fabric. For the top, I made things a little more complicated (because that's what I do), and cut the pattern into four "slices" and cut them out with half inch seam allowances:
I made sure to line them up on the stripe pattern so that they would be identical when I cut them out. After I sewed them together I had this piece for the top:
 See? Wasn't that extra work worth it for a "target" top instead of just a stripe? I think so.

I cut out a strip of fabric the same height as the poef (plus seam allowances) and long enough to go around the poef. I then sewed it to the top:
Usually I cut the strip extra long and don't pin. I match up the edges of the two pieces an inch or two at a time as I sew. I leave the ends free and sew the seam when I've nearly completed the circle. This way I don't have to worry too much about fitting a square piece to a round one. BUT, in this case, I cut the strip from a leftover piece of fabric and it turned out to be just long enough (with a 1/4" seam).

So in this case, I sewed the seam first and then pinned it together, matching the half way and quarter marks. Lots of pinning, but it made it work so it was worth the extra work.

Next step is to pull the top and sides over the poef:
It should be really snug, so you'll have to take some time to work it down. But finally the top and side will be on, and just the bottom will be left:
Lay the bottom fabric over the bottom and tuck it under the sides:
Then work your way around the sides, tucking under the 1/2" seam and pinning. There will be some fiddling and adjusting, but eventually you'll get it. Having a stripe pattern made it easy to know where to fold, but it also made it hard to "fudge" where necessary because it would be noticeable. But I persevered:
Once it's all pinned, it's time for some hand sewing:
And then you're done!!

Except if you're not. I've noticed the fabric on the bottom wears out quickly from being rubbed on the carpet so I decided to add some little feet. I looked for something more decorative, but the store I was in only had  utilitarian slides. I chose these:
I nailed them on in a square pattern and tried them out.
It probably would be better to have five (for the same reason office chairs work better with five wheels than four), but they come in packs of four and I decided to accept that. Next time I'll put them much closer to the edge as well because now you can tip the poef and I find that annoying.

But overall, I am very happy to have a rejuvenated poef:
I should be set for another 10 years!

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