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Sewing Project - Chair Cushions

Sewing Project - Chair Cushions

I started sewing in junior high school.I took Home Ec in the 8th grade and my first sewing project was a lovely shift dress. It was sleeveless and form fitted with darts. Remember those! The style is very classic and has recently returned. It was simple, with no fancy sleeves or collars. But you had to learn how to do darts along with doing neat neck and armholes. Does anyone remember what those pieces used to line the neckline and armhole were called? They were so tricky to get smooth and lay flat around the curve.

My mother was a great seamstress. We spent many hours during high school and college sewing my wardrobe. We made skirts, dresses, pants and several coats and coatsuits. I even made the suit that I got married in. I loved trying new challenges. One I remember was a box pleated skirt in a plaid. Man was that hard. I also made a Betsy Johnson sundress with spaghetti straps. Sewing and turning those narrow strips of fabric was a nightmare. I got into bound button holes, padded suits, linings.

I continued sewing into the '80s. The styles started to change and there were more knits which I did not like to sew. It just became much easier to purchase clothing. We did not have any children which would have given me another reason to continue to sew. I think I made my last item in 1988. The sewing machine was packed up and put away.

I had several goals on my list when I was laid off in 2008. One of them was to start sewing again. I had in mind to make a cool sleeveless sundress. I went to Joann's Fabric and was totally turned off by the selection of fabric. It was basically knit/polyester, shiny satin which would make a great sari, children and quilting fabric. I had in mind a cool modern print but I couldn't really find something I liked. But I went ahead and looked at the patterns. It was sticker shock time. I had no idea at the cost of patterns today. They were around $15.00. Add the cost of fabric, zipper, etc. This was going to be an expensive project. It was so much cheaper to purchase an inexpensive dress made in China. The project went by the wayside.

A month or so ago, I was looking at the Company Store Catalog and noticed these interesting Adirondack Cushions. Hmmm... I thought about doing a sewing project again.

I didn't want to tackle piping or a fitted cushion for my first project so I turned to the web to see if I could find something a bit easier. I found these easy looking cushions on Sewing 4 Home. I could handle that.

I asked G to get out sewing machine. It was stored away in the crawlspace. I dusted it off. Thank god I had left it threaded. I don't have a manual and would have had no idea how to thread it. As it was, I wasn't certain how to wind a bobbin. I turned to the web again and found a video out on YouTube of someone demonstrating how to wind a bobbin on a Kenmore sewing machine.

I wasn't happy with the fabric at Joann's so I looked to see if there were any other fabric stores in Seattle. I found out that Hancock Fabrics still had a store in the area and dropped by after work. Oh so much better. They had a much better selection of fabric and they also had a sale on outdoor canvas. I was able to find a nice piece of stripped outdoor fabric for about $4.00/yard.

The next challenge was the foam. The web pattern called for cutting your own foam. I decided instead to use a smaller pre-cut Nu-Foam pillow. I did like working with the Nu-Foam. It did not have the ugly polyurethane foam smell. I had a couple of coupons for Joann's so I dropped by and got the pre-cut Nu-Foam.

I had a little trepidation when I did my first cut. I made certain that I lined up the pattern pieces so the strips would match. I had to re-thread the machine and wind a new bobbin. It was like getting back on a bicycle. I instinctually knew what to do. The cushion went together smoothly. I made just one mistake by reversing one of the back pieces. But it was easy to rip out the seam and correct.

The inserts fit very snugly with the dimensions in the pattern. There is no give so they will buckle a little at first but the fabric will stretch and mold to the insert. I am very happy with the project. I probably should have made a bigger cushion for the Adirondack chairs. I adjusted the dimensions down to fit the smaller pre-cut foam and I think the original dimensions would have been better. It is a little short so the pillow doesn't cover the curve of the seat. But I succeeded! And they only cost me about $20 for two cushions.

Sewing Project - Chair Cushions
Laying out the pattern

Sewing Project - Chair Cushions
My Kenmore sewing machine circa 1960's

Sewing Project - Chair Cushions
Of course, Cassie had to check it out

Sewing Project - Chair Cushions

Sewing Project - Chair Cushions
Close up of the back closing.

Comments (8)

I loved this post, Marta! Congratulations -- the cushions look great.

Congrats! The cushions look great - great enclosure too. This piece resonated with me. My sister taught me how to sew and like you I began with simple dresses and skirts. Have not made clothing in a long time but do sew home decorating things for my house - tablecloths, runners, window toppers, etc. Instead of making clothes I had turned to quilting. Haven't done that either in awhile. I had found sewing to be a calming exercise for me. Happy sewing! PS: I always return to my Kenmore even though I have newer model machines.

I'm impressed! They look great.

I haven't sewed anything since Home Ec class. I remember those liners; can't remember the name but they were very hard to get right. The dress I made in Home Ec was yellow dotted swiss fabric - remember that?

Boy, does your post bring back memories. I too loved to sew in my youth, beginning in junior high school and continuing thru the 70's.

I took many sewing classes in Palm Springs and even made my then husband an unlined polyester suit. We even learned to make our own patterns.

I still have my orange Viking machine and a ton of fabric I bought and never used. One of these days . . .

Thanks for the trip back in time. Oh! Was it a facing you were thinking of?

That is it, Nancy! The armhole and neck facings. Wow - you made your own patterns. I'm impressed. I never got that far along. But I do tend to like to follow instructions instead of improvise.


Congratulations, Marta! And thanks for the walk down memory lane.

My paternal grandmother was an expert seamstress, and very patient with me with no natural talent.

I took sewing through the 4-H when I was about 12 - our first project was a fringed headscarf (boring!), but by the end of the year I was making skirts (gathered, not pleated) and sleeveless blouses. I remember showing my stuff at the local county fair.

I never really enjoyed sewing, though, and except for a few Halloween costumes for my daughter, happily put my 60s era sewing machine in the Goodwill pile many years ago.

Thanks, Nancy, for providing the missing word.



Marta, your cushions look wonderful! And what a trip down memory lane. I also remember Home Ec classes very keenly -- in Alberta, I think we had about 5 years of Home Ec. We learned some useful things, like sewing, but the cooking lessons were bizarre. Such as how to properly section a halved grapefruit, sprinkle it with coconut and broil. Why they thought this would be a useful dish, I don't know.

Hi Marta,
Your sewing project came out lovely. Your post took me back to the days of sewing with my mom--such fond memories. It is funny, just this weekend we passed by some shops with some of the most amazing cloth and I briefly thought how wonderful it would be to start sewing again, but it was just a brief thought!

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