Tuesday, November 29, 2011

How to fabric a wall: Chapter One

Carefully pin the two pieces of fabric together, checking that the repeats are nicely lined up.

O.K., O.K., Amy from Maison Decor can now stop hounding me. This is the first lesson on how to fabric a wall. I might cover the whole procedure if I feel like it, in which case it will not only be chapter one, but the only chapter. HOWEVER, if it takes a lot of time and space to cover this material, I will brake it down into pieces. I won't know until I have finished writing the @#$ thing, so I better start.

Step one!!!!
Chose a fabric!!!!!!!!!
Think about how the repeat will lay out on the wall. Since I was trying to cover Miriam's walls for the least amount of money, I chose a fabric with a 36" repeat, and had Nigle install the wainscoting 34" below the wall. That allowed me 2" to play with. Leaving this small a margin of extra fabric is a REALLY, REALLY, REALLY stupid idea. My friend Sally, at Drape It, (the professional workroom I use for paying clients), thinks I'm funny as I careen off one disaster to another in my DYI attempts. I worked out the amount of fabric I needed so frugally and carefully, TOTALLY believing the fabric information from Calico Corners, where we purchased this fabric. The repeat was listed as 36". The repeat was listed as 36". The repeat was listed as 36". (I know, I'm repeating myself.) HOWEVER.......It was actually 35". This TOTALLY almost screwed me up. BUT, being the super decorator that I am, I pulled that @#$% fabric into place, and made it work. Sally informed me this happens all the time. The repeat can be shorter or longer, so take that into account when figuring your yardage.

Step Two!!!!!!
Pay for the fabric!!!!!!

Step Three!!!!!!
Bring all that heavy fabric home!!!!!!

Step Four!!!!
Figure out your cuts, and cut all the pieces. Measure each wall and draw a little sketch of each wall. If you are geometrically challenged it can be helpful to use graph paper. Divide the width of each wall by the width of the fabric, and that will let you know how many widths you will need for each wall. Remember, when you are figuring out how long each width needs to be, you have to take into account the repeat. When ordering the fabric, always order an extra length of one repeat, since you don't know where the vendor has cut the fabric. Make sure you find out if it's a straight across repeat, or a dropped repeat. If you don't know what I'm talking about, google it, I can't be bothered to go into that now, 'cuz I'm not a @#$% sewing instructor.
O.K. I told you this in the wrong order. Jeesh. You have to do all this diagramming stuff first, in order to figure out how much fabric to buy.

Step Five!!!!!
Sew the pieces together to create a single piece of fabric for each wall. Match you repeats. NOW I'M GOING TO HAVE SOME PICTURES!!!!! YAYYYYYYY!!!!!
I forgot to take pictures of matching a repeat when I sewed Miriam's wall, so being the wonderful gal that I am, I ran up to my workroom and pieced some scraps together to show you how to do it. 

 Lay the fabric out looking for the repeat match. Sometimes the selvage edge will have marks to help you line it up.
Fold the fabric under on the top piece until the pattern repeat lines up.
Run your finger nail hard along the fold to create a crease line.

Like this.
Sew along the crease line that you have created by running you finger nail hard along the fabric.
Turn the fabric over and check that you didn't screw it up.
Iron the seam open, and if you've been paying attention, it should have worked like this!!!!!

Step Six!!!!!
Drive to Miriam's house with the fabric pieces. (If you are not decorating my niece's house, then don't drive over there because you will only confuse her when you ring her doorbell.) Place the big pieces of seamed fabric on the corresponding walls. Lightly tack it up in the middle of the top and bottom and in the middle of each side. This is to just hold it in place while you fiddle around with its position.

 YOU WILL NEED A STAPLE GUN!!!!!! When I did the dining room in Florida, I just had a crummy electric staple gun. It was VERY hard. Since taking my upholstery classes, I have bought a small compressor at Home Depot. They are only around $100.00, and make all the difference in the WORLD. I also bought a staple gun that runs off the compressor. If you are doing fabriced walls, it is important to get one with a long nose, so it can reach into the corners. Sometimes you can find used ones on ebay.

Since I needed just 8" more than the width of two pieces of fabric, and since it was going over the window where the pole would be hiding the seam, I just added an extra scarp to make the fabric go the full length of the wall.

Once I got the fabric tacked loosely in place, I found a seam and used a level to staple the fabric straight on the wall.

Then I started from that point on the wall, and worked my way out, stapling along the top, then along the bottom, making sure the fabric stayed level.

When I came to the corner (after I did my little victory dance) I left the excess fabric, which I would trim later when I worked on the corners.

I let the fabric hang down over the windows and doors, when I had loosely tacked the fabric in place. When I came to each opening I cut the fabric and stapled it in place.
Cut the fabric at a diagonal to the corner of the opening. BE CAREFUL!!!!! Go slow. If you cut too far you are screwed. I know this from experience.
One you've cut the diagonal, staple around the opening.

Here's the wall once I cut the opening. I am the bomb!!!

It's hard to see, but this is a picture of the staples at the bottom and in the corner. Once you get to the corners, cut one side and then the other. You will need a BIG package of single edge razor blades. Use a 3 or 4 inch scraper as a guiding edge, and hold the scraper along where you want to cut, and run the razor blade over the fabric to make a nice clean cut.
 You will need to trim the fabric this way at the corners, the ceiling line, the bottom edge and around all the windows and doors. YES, this is just as boring and tiring as it sounds!!!

Now you will need to cover all the staples with double welting. My wonderful friends at Drape It let me use their sewing machine with the special welting attachment, but you can make it on your ordinary sewing machine. There are double welting foots, or you can make it by doing it in two steps. Again, this isn't a @#$% sewing class.

Use a hot glue gun to glue the welting over the staples. A really important and helpful tool is something called a regulator. It looks like a giant needle, and is extremely useful in getting the welting to lie properly in place. Run the tip of the regulator along the middle channel of the double welt, and it will push the welting into place in a nice straight line.
I hope this has been helpful, 'cuz it's taken me a really long time to write all this down.
To see the second part of this tutorial....
just click here ....., it's just a short little addendum.

So that's it!!!!!
Later, Gator

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Miriam's Dining Room with Furniture!!!

O.K.!!! Here it is!!!! Just as promised!!!
Let us continue our story. Let's see..... I was really, really tired. I had put fabric on the walls.......We had hung the chandelier.....I had added the double welting to the fabriced walls.....We had hung the draperies.....And then we put down the rug!!!!!

It's a sea grass bound rug from Pottery Barn. The color works really well with the fabric. I'd like to pretend I knew that was going to be the case, but it was a really pleasant surprise for me. We got the rug before we chose the fabric. At least, that's how I remember it, but it's been soooooo long, that I am no longer sure. It's just that when things work out, I just assume that it's by accident.

Here's a picture of some of the double welting to cover the staples in the fabriced wall. Don't worry, don't worry, I really am going to do a post on how to cover walls in fabric, just not today. (Ha! Amy at Maison Decor, this is just to torture you!)

Here's a picture of the painted sideboard.......

It came out really great, if I do say so myself. I'm not so crazy about a faked look of distressing, although, that's usually what my painted
stuff looks like. But, this looks really old and beat up.

The lamps are from my antique accessory business. They originally were for sale in The Boston Design Center, but my bidness partner, Kris and I, decided that we loved these lamps so much, that we didn't want no stinkin' strangers to get them, so we gave them to Miriam and Ross, supplying us with just one more thing to hold over their heads. Leverage is very important in family dynamics. Whoever spouts that sugary sweet stuff about love, isn't being truthful!!! It's all about the guilt trips.
Then we (Miriam and Ross) dragged up the table parts from the basement. We had taken it apart into many, many pieces, in order to get it into Miriam's car when we hauled it home from Gloucester Ma.
These are the legs!!!

O.K., get ready, I am now going to make fun of Ross.
He thought we could put the table back together without turning it upside down. HaHaHaHa. Boys are so silly.

I have to interrupt this broadcast, you wouldn't believe what's going on outside my window. There are 23 wild turkeys, and they are very upset with a neighbor's black cat that has come to visit. Before I was able to run and get my camera, they had all massed together about to attack it. (Well not necessarily to attack, but to aggressively discourage it's visit.) So here are some pictures.

Yeah, they're acting like they just weren't ganging up on one little cat. Hunh!

He just came by for a visit, jeesh!

O.K. back to the story.....
So, as I was making fun of Ross..... I convinced him to reattach the legs by turning the table upside down. Good boy, he followed my suggestion. You know, sometimes Miriam and Ross act like my suggestions are commands. I don't know where they get this stuff from. I am sooooooo easy to get along with as long as you do everything my way. What's so unreasonable about that? I mean, when was the last time I was wrong?????
Look!!! It's an action shot of Ross!!!

(Now, some might say that I just shot a blurry picture, but again, when was the last time I was wrong?)

I have been informed that I have been spelling their dog's name wrong. Her name is Perla, not Pearla. But since I'm never wrong, I'm a little confused. Maybe they just don't know how it's really spelled. I mean, have they asked her?

However it's spelled, she's a really good helper.

I find this picture really irritating, no ones doing any work at all.

So, here we go!!!! The furniture in the room!!!

We haven't put the doors back on the china cabinet yet and we still have to accessorize the room. But the lions share of the work is done, and we are all ecstatic, and relieved and HAPPY. There was a big push to get this done, as I am heading down to Florida sooooon.
Here's the king at the head of his table.....

He's a very happy boy.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Miriams Dining Room revealed

O.K., here we go!!!!!!!!
The story continues!!!!!!!!!!
So after the new wood work was installed and Miriam and Ross spackeled the damaged walls, (and I filled the nail holes in the wood, (I am soooo great)). They primed the walls and woodwork.

Then they painted the walls and woodwork!!

At this point the young couple was REALLY releaved that that part of the project was OVER.

We had painted the sideboard.....
Now, the interesting thing about this paint job; is that even though we primed it with kilz, the stain or sap or whatever the @#$ it is, seeped through the primer and gave it an old dirty fabulous finish. It looked really white the first day, just a little old, so I didn't paint a finish coat, just another coat of primer, which I sort of dry brushed on, for a distressed look. Over time it has "aged" into what it looks like today. I added some accent details on the legs and top edge in a darker beige color.

Then I started fabricing the walls!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
RELAX, DON'T WORRY!!!!! I will show how to do this in a post coming your way soooon.
At this point I had a stern talking to, to Miriam. I said "CLEAN THE @#$ ROOM UP NOW!! BEFORE I BRING IN THE DRAPERIES!!!! So she did.
She and Ross moved everything out of the space, to get it all ready for the big day.
I arrived on Saturday, so excited I could hardly stand myself.
The first thing we did was hang the chandelier, since that would take the most concentration; I wanted to do it before I got so tired I couldn't think.
Ross wasn't so sure about actually touching the wires (I told him to lick them), but he was a great help in the over the head exertion, 'cuz I have rotator cuff issues.
Pearla the wonder dog is helping.
Yayyyy!!! We got it hung up, and it actually works. Miriam and Ross are VERY impressed with Aunt B!!!
I had added some gold detailing to the white paint job.....
And then I had to beat it up for a shabby cool look.
At this point I wanted to get the drapery pole brackets up. I was leaving the adding of the double welt on the walls for last, as that would take the least amount of brain power. The draperies are easy to get up and down, so when I got to the windows with the welting, I could just remove and replace the window treatments. (Who am I kidding? I couldn't wait that long to put up the draperies, so I jumped the gun in the interest of instant gratification, and I got no resistance from the young couple!) Ross was an invaluable help with putting up the @#$ poles as I kept on running into some mysterious barrier in the walls that I couldn't drill past. Boy, nothing beats a guys muscles!!!!

Then I hung the draperies that I sewed with my very own little hands!! I have some tips on making draperies that I will share real soon.

O.K., I don't want to make this too long, as I realize that blogs aren't supposed to be books. So in the next post, I will show the furniture in place. 
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