Monday, July 7, 2014

My Sewing Studio: The Desk


I really felt lucky when I found this solid wood desk on Craigslist.  It was a corner desk, the perfect size, solid, and had a mid-century modern feel to it.  I really liked the curved shape flanking the drawers, and the funky legs.  At the time, this desk was being used in the office of some grimy industrial business and it was pretty forlorn.  I knew it was really crying out for someone to take it home and give it some tender loving care.  My suspicions were correct when I opened the top drawer and found the following label inside:

It was fate!  This desk had ties to the sewing world before, and now it was time to return to that world and become a valuable asset to my sewing studio.  No more grit and grime for this beauty!  The ad on craigslist had listed the price of $50 for the desk.  In my enthusiasm of finding the perfect desk, I was willing to pay the price, but my frugal side just had to ask the gentleman how much he wanted for it.  Well, he was anxious to get rid of it and said I could have for $25.  SCORE!  He, along with a fellow worker happily loaded it into my van and away I went.

I decided that I wanted both sides of the desk to be closer in height to each other.  I solved this by purchasing a couple of new legs from the local home improvement center, cutting them to size and reattaching them. I also drilled new holes a few inches higher than the original holes for the bolts that attached the two sections of the desk together.  

I thing I knew for sure was that I didn't want the laminate top to remain dark brown in color.  I had painted laminate before and knew exactly what to do.  I first primed the laminate with Zinsser water based primer.  Once dry, I top coated it with the same latex paint I used on the rest of the desk.


After everything had dried thoroughly, I laid some lace fabric over the top and lightly sprayed it with Heirloom White spray paint.  Some areas have a heavier coat of paint than others, but it just adds to the effect.  Years ago I did the same technique on a dresser and metal cart.

Once the spray paint dried, I coated it with a few layers of Water Based Polycrylic.  I like the clear satin sheen.  Years ago I painted the laminate-covered rails of our pool table with the same technique (minus the lace overlay, of course) and it hasn't chipped or scratched off at all.

All of the hardware is original and got a coat of oil rubbed bronze spray paint.

I found an adjustable silverware tray at a thrift store for $2 that fits perfectly in the center drawer.

Each side of the desk has extra tabletop space that pulls out, if needed.

The lower drawer is just the perfect size for a wastepaper basket.

I'm loving the convenience of sitting at a corner desk and switching effortlessly between my sewing machine and serger!

The total cost for a corner desk in my sewing studio:

Thrifted Desk.....$25.00
One Gallon of "Oops" Paint.....$15.00
Spray Paint.....already on hand
New Legs.....$7.00
Polycrylic.....already on hand

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Wednesday, July 2, 2014

My Sewing Studio: Seating


For seating in my sewing studio I definitely wanted a swivel chair to make it easy to switch between my sewing machine and serger.  As luck would have it, I had an old office chair just waiting for a makeover.  I began by masking off the the black plastic wheels.  Everything else got a coat of Heirloom White spray paint.  

Originally, I had planned to paint the original fabric on the chair with fabric paint, followed by some sort of painted design.  But, I wasn't too happy with the early results and opted for reupholstering.  I had a sheet that was given to me that was going to work perfectly.  After searching the web for some ideas on the process,  I managed to recover the chair without taking the whole thing apart.

The back rest was super simple.  I began by cutting a piece of fabric large enough to cover the chair back, with a couple of inches all around to spare.  Next, I sprayed the original chair back fabric with spray adhesive.  I then centered the new fabric onto the old fabric and smoothed it into place.  Then with a real "high tech" tool, a.k.a a butter knife, I pushed the excess fabric into the space between the cushion and the hard plastic backing.  If some of the fabric was too long to push inside, I trimmed it off, then finished pushing it in place.  No staples required!  I have used the chair for several weeks now and it is staying perfectly secure.  The spray adhesive helped the new fabric conform to the curvature of the chair back.

For the seat cushion, I did remove it from the chair base.  It was just a matter of removing a few bolts.  I cut a piece of fabric large enough to cover the seat and wrap around to the underside.  Once again, I used spray adhesive and centered my new fabric over the old fabric, smoothing into place.  I did my best to line the stripes up with the stripes on the chair back.  I stretched and wrapped the excess fabric to the underside and stapled it into place, trimming away any excess fabric.  I then reattached the seat to the chair base.

I thought I was done at this point, but it just didn't look finished, so a pleated and piped skirt was added to the perimeter.  I attached it by placing it upside down, and stapling it into place along the edge of the seat.

Now it looked finished!

My sewing studio also needed some secondary seating for when I'm sitting at my cutting table.  I found a wooden stool at Goodwill for $4.99.  I painted it with the same Heirloom White spray paint and then slip covered it with the same fabric and pleating detail.  However, instead of piping, it was trimmed with some rick rack from my stash.

Total cost for seating in my sewing studio:

Heirloom White Spray Paint....$4.00
Thrifted Stool....$4.99
Cording and Rick Rack...from my stash

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Sunday, June 29, 2014

My Sewing Studio: The Blue Hutch

After painting the walls and installing the flooring, next on the agenda was sprucing up a hutch I had picked up a few years ago in anticipation of having a dedicated sewing studio.  This hutch was sturdy, but definitely dated.  I actually liked the gold colored glass inserts in the cupboard doors, though, believing they would eventually play into my future color scheme.

It was so heavy I knew I would never get it upstairs in one piece, so I took it apart and went to work prepping for paint.

The cupboards were all decked out with this "lovely" contact paper!  I removed the contact paper and hardware, then sanded and primed everything.

I picked up a gallon of "oops" paint from the local hardware store.  It wasn't the aqua that I wanted, but I thought it would do.  The gentleman at the paint counter was kind enough to add a bit more tinting to try and get it more to my liking.  In the end, I went back to the hardware store and picked up another gallon of "oops" paint.  This time it was the aqua that I wanted.  Of course, I had already painted the whole hutch and wasn't too excited about painting it again (there was a lot of areas to paint!)  So, I figured I would continue with the rest of the projects in the room and then determine if my hutch would get a color change or not. 

I was lucky enough to find a roll of contact paper at a thrift store that fit into my new color scheme!  The little storage containers with drawers came from my previously organized office and fit perfectly.  I painted all the hardware with the Oil Rubbed Bronze spray paint.

I organized, and accessorized my hutch with a variety of thrifted jars, a basket, and vintage suitcases.  The jars were "recycled" from my aforementioned office space.  As luck would have it, I found one jar that was the same colored glass as the cupboard door inserts.  It sits in the middle of the jars.  The suitcases I already had on hand.  In fact, one of them was used to hold cards at my son and daughter-in-law's wedding reception.  The lower cupboards are filled with stacks of fabric.

In the end, my lack of motivation (hey, let's be honest!) to repaint the hutch won out, although I like to think it was a stroke of decorator's luck.  I ended up painting some of the furniture pieces blue, and some pieces aqua, and then interspersed them throughout the room.  I think it adds to the eclectic feel, keeping it from being too matchy matchy.

Total cost for this project:

Used Hutch.....$20.00
Gallon of "Oops" Paint.....$15.00
Oil Rubbed Bronze Spray Paint....left over from the curtain rods
Thrifted Contact Paper.....$1.00

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Thursday, June 26, 2014

My Sewing Studio: In The Beginning

My sewing studio's former life was a bedroom.  I had painted the ceiling and faux crown molding before my last child was born over ten years ago.  You can see that post here.  I still really liked the look and decided to keep it...minus the glow-in-the-dark stars.  I also decided to keep the DIY curtain rods (also seen in the faux crown molding post) that I had done probably 15 years ago...more on that in a bit.  What I didn't want to keep, though, was the carpet.  For one, its hard to roll a chair on.  And two, it had seen better days!  So with tools in hand, I ripped it out.

I found it was easiest to use a utility knife and cut the carpet into thirds.  I then removed a section at a time.  Once all the tack strips were out, staples were pulled or hammered flat, and baseboards removed, I swept the floor and was ready for the fun stuff!

The Flooring

At the time, my birthday was just around the corner and my husband decided that new laminate flooring would be the perfect gift.  I agreed!  I chose Pergo Highland Hickory from the Home Depot.  It came with the underlayment already attached, eliminating the extra step.  I spent about $300 (half the cost of the total room) to cover a 10x10, plus small closet.  It was a breeze to put down and the planks cut easily with a small skill saw.  My husband would have happily installed it for me, but he had a bum knee that kept him from kneeling.  He was great, though, at offering advice and being in charge of quality control!

Lovin' that handscraped texture!!

Once in place, I reattached the baseboards and put a transition piece (not shown) between the hallway carpet and the new flooring.

The Color Scheme and Curtains

 For quite some time I have really been drawn to the color aqua.  I knew I wanted it in my sewing studio, along with the color yellow, so bright and cheerful!  When my daughter, Kara, brought over some fabric she had bought to make a tote bag for a friend, I knew it would be a perfect starting point.  It had all the colors that I wanted.  So I ran down to JoAnn's and bought enough to make curtains.  Its kind of wild, but I love it!

The medium and dark blue colors matched the ceiling, plus there was aqua, yellow, and green...perfect!  I decided on yellow for the walls, and aqua for the furniture.  But, first lets talk about the curtain rod.


The rod is actually a wooden closet rod.  The finials are outdoor light sconces with the electrical parts removed, then turned on their sides.  The wooden rod fits into them perfectly.  I secured the finial to the rod by putting a screw through the decorative cut outs and into the wooden rod.  The curtain rings are cheap, clear shower curtain rings from the dollar store.  Everything was painted with Oil Rubbed Bronze spray paint.  After hemming all four sides of the curtain panels, I stitched buttonholes along the top and attached the panels to the rings.

The middle of the curtain rod has the tip from the spout of an old watering can added for decoration.

Total cost for these projects:

Pergo Flooring.....$300.00 (birthday gift)
Installation.....My own "sweat equity"
Curtain Fabric.....$19.96 (3 1/3 yds. on sale)
Curtain Rods.....Free (recycled from previous room's decor)
2 Pkgs. Shower Rings.....$2.00
Oil Rubbed Bronze Spray Paint.....under $4.00 (although I already had it on hand)

So, that's a recap of the beginning stages with flooring, color scheme, and curtains.  Stay tuned for more details of the sewing studio...coming soon!

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Tuesday, June 24, 2014

My Sewing Studio!

I'm so excited to finally post about my sewing studio!  If you follow any of my posts, you may have seen glimpses of it in my refashioning "before" photos.  Now, after completing several DIY projects for my studio, I'm ready to show you the whole room!

My studio isn't huge (10 x 10), but its a space dedicated just to sewing so I can't complain.  I actually had my eye on a bigger bedroom with a bay window and walk-in closet, but we're not empty nesters yet, so I'm content with the space I have while I enjoy having our "nest" still occupied!

This room is filled with lots of DIY projects.  Stay tuned over the next several days as I dedicate an individual post to each of the projects.

With some savvy shopping, I was able to purchase the three main furniture pieces in my studio for a total of $60.00!!

I've been a seamstress for over 40 years and I've never had a whole room dedicated to just sewing.  It's so much fun and inspirational!

Stay tuned over the next several days for details on how I was able to turn a spare bedroom into my sewing studio, including new Pergo flooring, and all of the following DIY projects....

Button Cabinet
Wall Mirror
Hanging Pendant Light
Wall Hutch with Fold Out Cutting Table
Revamped Ceiling Fan
Bulletin Board
Wall Clock

 ...for under $600!!
(FYI, the new Pergo flooring was half the budget, which means all the furniture, lighting, and accessories totaled less than $300!)

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Monday, May 26, 2014

I'm A Sucker For Plaid...

I'm a sucker for plaid...seersucker that is.

And, according to Wikipedia...

Seersucker is woven in such a way that some threads bunch together, giving the fabric a wrinkled appearance in places. This feature causes the fabric to be mostly held away from the skin when worn, facilitating heat dissipation and air circulation. It also means that pressing is not necessary.

Did you get that last line?  PRESSING IS NOT NECESSARY!  How wonderful is that?  

I love plaid (seersucker, or otherwise), and they loved plaid in the 50's!  Just check out some of these treasures...






So when I came across this XL seersucker plaid housecoat (with pearlized snaps!)  I knew it had the perfect makings of a retro refashion.  I loved the colors, the neckline, the pockets, and the snaps.  And, I loved the fact that with just a few simple steps... would look like this!

The banded neckline/front placket is a nice detail.  I found the cute vintage enamel flower brooch at the same store on sale for less than a dollar!

The skirt is actually fuller than it looks in this picture.  I have a petticoat I can wear underneath if I want more fullness.  The patch pockets are comfy and also extremely useful since I don't like carrying a purse all the time.

A simple refashion that will get lots of wear this summer, I'm sure!

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Continue reading if you'd like to see the process...
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