DIY Oilcloth Chains – NO Sew!

by Dana on December 12, 2014

Today is the last day of Don’t Fear the Fabric: Oilcloth + Leather.
But don’t worry…we’ll back in a few months with another fun fabric to explore.
And on Monday I’ll announce the winners with a little wrap-up post.
I hope you stopped by See Kate Sew today to see the adorable NO-sew wall hanging she made with canvas and leather.  Perfect for the holidays!

And here’s something else that’s fun for the holidays, or any time of the year….


It’s a modern twist on an old classic: the chain.
And it’s so easy to make!
Use one for decor!
Use it to countdown to your favorite holiday or vacation by removing a link each day.
It’s good old fashioned fun.

What I love about using Oilcloth for this project….
• You can reuse the links again to make another chain when the countdown is done.
• Some fabrics are a bit two-tone from front to back, so it gives you twice as many options for your chain.
• The fabric is waterproof.  So if you’re using your chain to decorate for an outdoor party or on a tree in your yard, you’re set!

So grab your favorite oilcloth prints and cut strips of fabric 1.5 x 9 inches.
Then follow the same steps you’ve always done….

You just need to decide if you’re going to STAPLE or TAPE your links of fabric together.

If you’re using this as a countdown down chain—use tape, so you can easily take a link off each day.
If you’re using this outdoors—staple them together, to give it a stronger hold.

And if you live in the desert, embrace what Mother Nature’s given you!
All those prickles make nice little “nails” to hold your party decor.


These chains would also be cute wrapped around a Christmas Tree, strung across a window, outside by your mailbox, anyplace you want to feel happy.


Have fun chaining.
And have a good weekend!

Don’t forget to see what Kate is up to…..it’s super Merry + Leather-y + Bright….

Don’t Fear the Fabric is an ongoing series on MADE and See Kate Sew.
We want to arm you with the info and confidence to try to fabrics and see where they take you!

Check out our other posts from this series:
How to Sew with Oilcloth  ••  How to Sew with Leather
Geo Garland
Simple Handmade Gift: Oilcloth Coasters  ••  Smashed fabric and Leather Pouches
Oilcloth Starter Kits Giveaway  ••  Win a free Leather Hide
Oilcloth Chairs and tips for recovering your own  ••  Pleather Circle Skirt tutorial
Oilcloth Planters–NO Sew! •• Leather and Fringe Cuff Bracelets
Sewing with Oilcloth Book + Fabric Giveaway •• Two-tone Leather Cosmetics Case 
Oilcloth Chains–NO sew! ••  Canvas and Leather Wall Hanging–NO Sew!

 

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Sewing with Oilcloth BOOK + Fabric Giveaway!

by Dana on December 11, 2014

I’m starting to realize that 8 days of Don’t Fear the Fabric is not long enough to share all the fantastic things you can do with Oilcloth!
Which is why I’m happy to bring in another expert….with 20 more Oilcloth ideas and projects….and she’s going to give you some free fabric!  Yay!


Did you know there’s an entire book dedicated to Sewing with Oilcloth??

It’s by Kelly McCants from the site Modern June and I reviewed it a couple years ago on my site, but had to share it again today….because Kelly is the OILCLOTH ADDICT!
It’s true she is.
That’s how I originally found her.  She has an etsy shop called Oilcloth Addict full of all those pretty oilcloth fabrics you love….which you can buy by the 1/2 yard (awwwwesome)

But she’s also a true artisan and business woman…and she makes and sells items at craft fairs and online (check out Modern June)I totally fell in love with this ginormous banner she was commissioned to make by Country Living Magazine for their Summer Fair in New York.  I mean look at that thing!….there are 678 flags!  Wow.  I can’t even imagine cut all those out, much less sewing them together.   It’s amazingly adorable.


But another thing I love about Kelly, Modern June, and her Oilcloth Addict fabric shop is that she carries a huge selection of Laminated Cottons.
Here’s a sample:

She even carries some laminated CANVAS.  Dude.  Maybe I should have used that on my chairs….
So in a nutshell, Kelly knows her oilcloth-laminatey-stuff.
And she wrote a book filled with 20 projects and expert tips for sewing with Oilcloth.
And we want to give some books to you guys!

There are projects for kids, babies, for you, for the house:



She even has instructions to make seat cushions for a chair or couch.  I love this old vintage loveseat.

And she has a page for oilcloth “bias tape“…..you know that makes me happy.

So here’s what we’re giving away to TWO winners:
• Sewing with Oilcloth book
• FOUR fat-quarters of oilcloth fabric

GIVEAWAY RULES:
• Leave a comment, that’s it.
• Only one entry per person.
• Open to US residents only.
• TWO winners will be picked via random.org
• Giveaway ends Sunday 12/14/14 at 10pm Central time.

Thank you Kelly!
——————————————

Now if you’re ready to tackle more Leather projects, head over to the See Kate Sew.  She’s got a really cool take on a Cosmetics Case that uses different leather textures.  Oh that blue….


Don’t Fear the Fabric is an ongoing series on MADE and See Kate Sew.

We want to arm you with the info and confidence to try to fabrics and see where they take you!

Check out our other posts from this series:
How to Sew with Oilcloth  ••  How to Sew with Leather
Geo Garland
Simple Handmade Gift: Oilcloth Coasters  ••  Smashed fabric and Leather Pouches
Oilcloth Starter Kits Giveaway  ••  Win a free Leather Hide
Oilcloth Chairs and tips for recovering your own  ••  Pleather Circle Skirt tutorial
Oilcloth Planters •• Leather and Fringe Cuff Bracelets
Sewing with Oilcloth Book + Fabric Giveaway •• Two-tone Leather Cosmetics Case

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DIY Oilcloth Planters – NO Sew!

by Dana on December 10, 2014

Today for Don’t Fear the FabricKate and I have two simple projects for you.
Just some little ideas that you can give as gifts.
(or keep for yourself. You like Christmas gifts too)

And my project involves NO SEWING!
You only need scraps of oilcloth.
And some pretty plants.


Because how gorgeous are succulents?!
Oh I love these plants.


They’re kind of mysterious….part plant, part flower-like, part prickly, part filled-with-water.
I almost want to eat them like a cucumber!
But I won’t.

Instead I’ll use recycled cans from food that I did eat…and turn them into little pots for my plants!


Because I also love tin can projects.
It’s like canning companies from the past could forsee the DIY future, and knew that moms everywhere would need simple little cans for a variety of projects.  And they’d like them for free. Yay!
Thank you canners.

Okay. These little planters are super easy to make.
And they’re not just for holding plants.  Use them to hold art supplies, pencils, whatever!—and check out my Tin-Can Caddy and Tin Can Christmas Trees projects for more recycled can ideas.

The nice thing about using oilcloth here is that the fabric is waterproof, so it’s okay for the planter to get wet when you’re watering plants or if you leave them outside.
(For detailed info on Oilcloth fabric read my post How to Sew with Oilcloth)

Here’s what you need:

The concept is basic:
• Remove the wrapper from a recycled food can. Rinse and dry the can.
• Use a butter knife to press down any sharp edges.
• Measure the distance from the top to bottom of the can, then measure around the can and add 1/2 inch for overlapping the fabric.
• Cut a piece of Oilcloth fabric those dimensions–(for a large pumpkin can or large peaches or tomatoes, that’s 4 3/8 x 13 inches).

• Wrap the fabric around the can and glue one side in place with a hot glue gun.  You don’t need much glue….and it’s best to use something other than your finger to press the fabric in place—like the end of a pen or pencil.
• Overlap the other end of the fabric and glue that in place.
• If you’re using this as a planter—rather than a pencil holder—use a hammer and nail to pound a few holes in the bottom for water drainage.

And you’re done!

Then make more….in different fabrics and different sizes.
And try some color-blocking.


When you’re done, grab your favorite plants and flowers.
And the good news is…you don’t have to pick ONE favorite.  Use them all!


Then plant them in your cans and enjoy your little garden.
I love how cute they look inside the house on a nightstand.
Or outside, in the deck sunshine.

And wouldn’t they make such a fun gift to take over to a friend?
Happy planting!


Now go make a leather fringe cuff with See Kate Sew!



Don’t Fear the Fabric is an ongoing series on MADE and See Kate Sew.
We want to arm you with the info and confidence to try to fabrics and see where they take you!

Check out our other posts from this series:
How to Sew with Oilcloth  ••  How to Sew with Leather
Geo Garland
Simple Handmade Gift: Oilcloth Coasters  ••  Smashed fabric and Leather Pouches
Oilcloth Starter Kits Giveaway  ••  Win a free Leather Hide
Oilcloth Chairs and tips for recovering your own  ••  Pleather Circle Skirt tutorial

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Okay.
Now that we’ve sewn some simple oilcloth projects, let’s tackle a complicated one…like recovering a chair or barstool.  In fact, my chair-covering project is what spawned the idea for our Don’t Fear the Fabric series.  I knew I wanted to share the finished chairs with you.  But rather than just sharing one post, it seemed better to do a series of posts and projects….so you can ease your way into a new textile.
Right?
Right.

So about 5 years ago I made these oilcloth  covers for my chairs/barstools.
And they were fantastic and held up great for 4 years!  (till the fabric got a small tear and baby Clara started tugging at it)

So it was time to make new covers.
And I knew I wanted to use oilcloth again because the fabric is waterproof! and can be wiped clean…..which is priceless with little kids in the house.  And I love having a comfy stool to sit on when I’m sitting at the bar…..which makes oilcloth the perfect fabric choice.

So.
When we moved to our new house in February I bought more stools.
And I asked for your input on my fabric selection, so I could make covers for all 6 chairs:

I couldn’t believe your responses!
Some of you felt very strongly in one direction or another.
I was actually nervous that if I went with sunflowers, some of you might never read my blog again!
YIKES.

So what did I do with all that input??
Well, this….


I laid out some orange fabric and the kids climbed all over it.
Cause when one comes, they all come.
And it gets a little crowded for Clara

So the real answer is Yes! Orange!
I went with the same orange toile that I had used before.

I know.  It sounds boring.  But there was a (reasonable) thought-process I went through…..to get right back where I started from.

And after a few weeks of sewing (on and off), I had a pile of pretty covers, which turned into a row of pretty chairs!


No sunflowers.
No corn flowers (though I still think the yellow corn flower would be cute).


Instead we’ve got a whole lot of orange, to contrast with the turquoise backsplash.

Now I’ll admit, even after sewing all these covers (which took longer than I thought they would…even with my assembly line sewing skillz) I’m still not 100% sure they’re the final answer.  So I might surprise you one day with another set of chair covers.

But it’s only fair to show you how it relates to the rest of the house, since we have a very open floorplan from the living room, to kitchen, to dining room.   I think the orange fabric ties in nicely with other orange accents in the house.

And the color makes me happy.
If it’s too much orange for you, I totally get it.  It’s not for everyone.

But here’s why I went with the orange toile.
I loved the fabric once, so I knew I would love it again.

AND, when I considered stripes or the plaid cornflower fabric, I realized how hard it would be to get all those lines matched up from chair to chair.  It could look messy from afar.

Plus, the orange fabric would hide more mistakes and inconsistencies….which is helpful when you’re working on an oilcloth project with lots of curves.

So, if you want to use oilcloth for your own chairs or stools…let me share some sewing tips!


If you’ve never used Oilcloth fabric before, I recommend reading through my previous post first:  How to Sew with Oilcloth.

Something interesting I want to point out in this post is that oilcloth does have a shelf life.  It can eventually tear and get holes. And it can fade with exposure to light, even indirect light.   I hadn’t realized until I sat down to make my new seat covers how much the old covers had faded.

Check this out:

Now I don’t point this out as a negative, but just something to be aware of.   I actually really love the tangerine color it faded into.
And seeing as I got a good 4-5 years out of those old covers, I was definitely willing to do it all again.


Okay.
First, figure out how you’re going to do it.  What are you recovering?  And how was it covered before?  There’s no point in totally reinventing the wheel here.  So try to mimic how the manufacturer made the chair or stool.  Deconstructing a piece of furniture or clothing is the best way to learn new tricks and understand how patterns are put together.

If you’re working on basic barstools without a back, or a set of folding chairs, or if you want to recover the top of a card table, you might be able to recover them without even sewing….maybe just a glue gun or some staples?   See what your furniture has to offer.

Or if you’re able to take apart a chair cover to use as a pattern, do it.  Or, maybe try to trace a new pattern by holding paper up to your chair and drawing around the different parts, and then adding a 1/2 inch seam allowance all the way around

My chairs are from IKEA, so I had the luxury of purchasing a fabric slipcover, which I took apart with a seam ripper and used as my pattern. You can see in the photo below how dirty that white fabric became in just one month’s time! This is the reason I love oilcloth over standard fabric for kids chairs.

To keep myself organized, I gave each piece a name and marked the “grainline”.  Now there isn’t really a grainline to oilcloth since it’s not a woven fabric.  But it’s important to note a grainline direction so that the print of your fabric is going in the same direction each time.  You don’t want to end up with one upside-down chair in the mix of normal chairs.

I also kept a small notepad next to me as I sewed, jotting down the steps I was doing so it was easy to remember when I started sewing the next one.

Now as I’ve mentioned before, oilcloth is a stiff fabric to work with.  Try not to let that frustrate you.  You just need to use more arm power and work with the fabric, rather than against it.  And the great thing is…the edges don’t fray so you don’t have to worry about finishing things off where you don’t want to.  If the oilcloth is sticking under your presser foot, read my previous post for 3 solutions/ideas to fix that.

Tip #1 – When you’re going around curves, go slowly.  Pause periodically with your needle down in your fabric, lift your presser foot, and pivot your fabric to allow it to relax.

And what really works best around the curves is to clip the fabric before you sew it in place.  Just clip slightly into the seam allowance about 1/4 of an inch on the curved areas.  This will help it to ease and lay more flat as you sew.

Tip #2 - “Try on” your project in sections before you cut and sew all 6 covers!  It’s like creating a “muslin” for your chair.  Then you’ll know if you need to make any adjustments to a certain area.

Tip # 3 – Don’t sweat the details.
If you look closely at my chairs, you’ll see that they’re far from perfect.  The curves are not all curved, the lines are not all straight.  But they still look great!  So just do the best you can and don’t worry if your seam is a little off.

Most of all, have fun.


Then pull up a chair and enjoy the comfy new look.
Thanks for your input!

——————————————————————–
Now head over to See Kate Sewwhere she’s got an amazing pleather skirt project with a FREE pattern and tutorial Yay!


Don’t Fear the Fabric is an ongoing series on MADE and See Kate Sew.
We want to arm you with the info and confidence to try to fabrics and see where they take you!

Check out our other posts from this series:
How to Sew with Oilcloth  ••  How to Sew with Leather
Geo Garland
Simple Handmade Gift: Oilcloth Coasters  ••  Smashed fabric and Leather Pouches
Oilcloth Starter Kits Giveaway  ••  Win a free Leather Hide
Oilcloth Chairs and tips for recovering your own  ••  Pleather Circle Skirt tutorial

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