Category Archives: Sewing

DIY Slipcover for a Seventies Chair

DIY, Ikea hack, slipcover

Few weeks ago a friend of mine called me enthusiastically about a chair he found at Kontti, a chain of thrift stores owned and operated by Finnish Red Cross. He went on and on about its lines and how he was planning to re-upholster it with some Ikea-fabric.

You know where this is going, right?

So, the other week I visited him and he showed me the chair and the fabric. He was right, the chair has nice lines and the fabric he had picked up was nice too. I’m especially happy by the fact, that he is FINALLY introducing patterns in his home decor. It has been an uphill battle but I got him there. Only a decade or two and we might even see patterns with multiple colours in there.

As you can see, the original material is rather “interesting”. Certainly a product of its time. But it’s actually quite nice to sit on, so creating a slipcover would be a good way to bring it up to date.

Tuoliprojekti5

We began by laying the cover on the material. We discussed on how to go on about it and since I had to go and pick up my phone I had left elsewhere, I left my friend to his own devices. Meaning, I assumed he was going to do what I instructed him to do. Wrong. When I came back two hours later, he had decided to clean up his balcony instead and was planning to leave the “actual sewing and doing” for me.

I’d like to pretend I stood my ground with this. He was the one who sewed but it was me who did the thinking. In the end I didn’t get back home until very late that day. But I did get a good meal out of it, so it wasn’t entirely terrible experience. Plus the chair looks pretty bitchin’ too. Here’s how we (and I use the term we here very loosely) did it:

First we cut the material in half lengthwise and I had Niko finish off the short ends with a double fold, while I pondered how to put the cover together. I knew it had to be some kind of envelope pattern but as the top and bottom were to be of different widths, I had to do some figuring out to get it to look neat.

The original material is still underneath as there is no way the Ikea fabric would support the weight of a person. We (I) decided the best way to get a tight fit, was to pin the fabric directly on the chair frame. This way we could also be sure that none of the original material would be showing and that we could see/test right away, if the cover would be easy to remove and put back on.

pressing, slipcover, Ikeahack

If you take second look at the prototype, you can see the shape of the finished cover. We left very wide seam allowances and used that to create nice edges on the narrow opening. The seam allowance isn’t of even width, but pressing it forces it to stay in shape. You can see the difference in the picture above.

ikea hack, slipcover

The little cut-offs on the original material are there to help to put the cover on the frame. We had to leave a gap on the new slipcover as well and it left a little of the orange fabric visible. I solved this by hand stitching small pieces of fabric on either sides of the frame as you can see here. Here’s how it looks when the slipcover is on:

ikea hack, slipcover

See, no ugliness in sight! The next step was the seat cushion…

seat cushion, ikea hack, slipcover

The original seat cushion was double-length, but my friend only wanted a cushion for the seat part. I cut it in half and crudely rolled the opening hem closed and stitched it up by hand. We then made another envelope cover for it:

envelope cover, ikea hack, slipcover

Very simple. First, finish off the short ends with a double fold. Then fold it around the cushion to see where you want to stitch, take it off and stitch the side seams closed. Here’s the finished cushion:

cushion, ikea hack, slipcover

And here’s the finished chair:

Tuoliprojekti18

I don’t know about you but I’m very pleased with myself. If you have any questions…Go ahead and ask!

-Thrifty Finn-

Inspiration: Finnish Fabric Design & Stores

Few months ago I wrote about Finnish sewing blogs, a sort of TOP 5 of mine. In the end I wondered if I should continue it with a post about the fabric stores and designers as some of you might want to try to make clothes in Finnish style as well.

I asked for some help at a sewing group in Facebook and I got a flurry of answers. Even I didn’t realize there are that many! Finnish print design is alive and doing well indeed. In twenty years time, these are the fabrics we will be fighting for in online auctions :)

Here’s my TOP 5. I have listed all stores that sell designer fabrics at the bottom, so you can bookmark this post for later reading and/or reference.

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Majapuu is one of the biggest ones, at least when it comes to selection. They also have some crafty supplies and home decor stuff. They have tons of different kinds of prints for sale. As you can see from the images there’s modern, retro and vintage style things. My favourite is the Kiiltokuvat. It’s a digi print cotton which is also available as jersey. It’s not cheap, 22.90€ per meter, but if you make something for a kid, a meter goes for a long way. Their sale section is over HERE. The gray London-print is tempting me…

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Pehemiä sells only fabrics and some notions. Mostly knits. The Kirjonta is a merino wool jacquard knit of which Pehemiä has 13 different kinds in stock right now. The Fasaani is a woven cotton fabric.

Käpynen is mainly focused on fabrics but there are sewing notions and gift items for sale too. The prints are designed in Finland and printed in Poland using “traditional printing techniques” but there are digiprints and other manufacturers available too. Majority of the fabrics are knits but there is a section for cotton prints as well.

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Sashop is the brain child of designer Sari Ahokainen. She sells fabrics, ribbons, clothing and other things she designed. I love, love the Pony Bloom. The fabrics aren’t cheap (again) but there is a special deal on the ribbons. A surprise bag of 20 meters of ribbon for 20 euros.

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PaaPii Design is possibly the most international of these stores. PaaPii sells fabrics, DIY-kits, toys, paper goods…there’s basically something for everyone. The Bambi- sewing kit must have been very popular as I’ve seen it in so many sewing blogs. Some day I will get one too, it’s just too cute to pass up on. Anyhoo, their fabric collection isn’t huge but the stuff is so design-y that I don’t mind.

And then just bubbling under….

vimmacompany-logo

Vimma is an über cool label that makes children’s wear but they do have few print fabrics available too. I had to drop it from my TOP 5 because they are mainly a fashion label but still have to mention them for their extremely well thought out concept and brand. One of their designers is Maija Louekari who has designed for Marimekko as well.

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THE LIST OF FINNISH FABRIC STORES

There are tons of other online fabric stores but I decided to focus on ones that have those indie-designers available. If you have any questions..please, do ask them :D

-Thrifty Finn-

P.S. This is a coincidence but the day I decided to write this post I noticed THIS. There’s going to be an Indie Fabric Market on FB and you can join it HERE. They did the post in English so I presume the sellers are more than happy to post internationally :)

indie goes viral

Vintage Fabric Resources

forssa museum, forssan museo, vintage fabric identifier

Via forssanmuseo.fi

I had to share this with you as soon as I found out about it. A Finnish museum has a handy textile design tool, where you can search prints/designs by designer and/or year. And what do you know, the site is also in ENGLISH.

Naturally I had to check if I happen to own anything really good and rare but instead I found fabrics I want to have. Like this one:

1953, vintage fabric design, Finland

via forssanmuseo.fi

From 1953, there’s no designer name but LOOK AT THE PATTERN! It’s beautiful! Or how about this one from 1967 by Helena Perheentupa?

Helena Perheentupa, forssan museo, Finnish textile design

via forssanmuseo.fi

Could a pattern be anymore 60s? No matter what you make from this fabric, it would sell on the craft markets like hot cakes. I demand A RE-PRINT! Ooh, and in different colourways! Imagine yellow…*floats into a fabric dreamland*

One more for the road because this one I’ve seen IRL (sort of, on an online vintage market). It’s by a designer Pirkko Hammarberg and has such a utilitarian name S4089. But it’s anything but:

Pirkko Hammarberg, Finnish textile design, 1968

via forssanmuseo.fi

The fabric is so vibrant and alive! Part of me knows that these colours probably weren’t achieved with the most environmentally healthy chemicals but the other part wishes one could still get these. The third part of me wishes more vintage prints would be re-printed (OTHER THAN MARIMEKKO DAMMIT! I’M SO BORED WITH THEM!) but then the magic of finding these prints at the thrift stores would be gone.

I actually did some research and called Forssan Museo/Forssa Museum to enquire more about this online tool. I spoke with the musem director, Kati Kivimäki, herself and she told me that the online research tool only has a very small selection of their collection. Apparently they have 500 shelf meters just Finlayson prints! 500 SHELF METERS, PEOPLE!!! Imagine getting your hands on that loot. When I asked if they have plans to digitize more of their collection, she told me that everytime they get a job lot where the designer is marked and/or known, they will add it to the search tool.

Now Forssan Museo is on my museum visit wishlist. HERE you can find where they are located and the entry fees.

-Thrifty Finn, in a fabric fever-

 

 

 

 

DIY Inspired by Lalaloopsy

Few weeks before Christmas, my friend called me to ask for help to hunt some toys on the interwebs. It turned out that her kids (3 & 5) were into a new kids show (well, new over here) called Lalaloopsy and she wanted find some play sets that weren’t available in Finland. In the end I found this set on the Ebay and boy, was it a hit with the kids:

via amazon.com

Me and my friend had several discussions about these and reminisced our own childhood. We would have gone nuts over these had they existed when we were kids.

All the cuteness of Lalaloopsy led me to get inspired by them and I got an idea to sew something Lala-related myself. At first I thought about making some kind of play mat and I even ordered bunch of themed ribbons from Ebay. However, I knew I wouldn’t necessary get them on time for Christmas so I decided to come up with a back-up plan and I started doing more research on the dolls themselves. Then I found this image:

506737_1

I fell in love with the Marie Antoinette’esque dress and then suddenly thought, wouldn’t it be fun if the girls could BE Lalaloopsy-dolls themselves?

Of course it would  be.

I went through my vintage fabric stash and pulled all the fabrics that I thought had the playfulness of the dolls. In the end I had six choices:

IMG_20141216_135149

My first choice was the pink one in the middle but I felt it was too faded to handle kids’ play. Then my second was the yellow plaid but I didn’t have enough for two dresses. The yardage I needed ( and the concept I had in my head) lead me to use the teal plaid.

At first I wanted to do two dresses but knowing the kids, I decided to make a top and a matching skirt and for that I came up with the genius idea altering a T-shirt. Mad rush to H&M and a fantastic deal, 3 for 2 on organic cottons, then back home via the fabric store and I was ready to sew.

I began the process by taking off the sleeves, preserving the seam allowances so there wouldn’t be any unravelling, and used them as a template to create a puffy sleeve:

how to make a puffy sleeve pattern

Winging it comes with a cost. I managed to eff up the sleeves on both tops by forgetting to cut seam allowances. Luckily I have lots of yardage of this fabric. Anyhoo, I sewed a simple puffy sleeve and added an elastic in the hem. I also left a small opening in there just in case the sleeves would be too tight or too loose on the girls’ arms.

IMG_20141217_124430

Looks so sweet! But a little bit plain for Lalaloopsy-play so I added some details on the front using another one from my fabric shortlist but pictures of that later….

The skirt was very simple to do. Basic, rectangular piece of fabric that I hemmed and sewed together, adding a separate waistband with an elastic inside:

IMG_20141216_224916

On my mad dash I had stopped by at the fabric store to get some shock pink tulle with a plan to make a light tulle under skirt. In the end I decided to add it on the hem as the skirt was full by itself. Do you want to see the full outfits? Of course you do:

IMG_20141217_135933 IMG_20141217_173125 The girls look so cute wearing them! I want to do more of these dresses but I’m not sure if they would realize that this set was also done by me and thus I’d burst their Santa Claus-bubble. I’m all for speaking the truth but some things should have magic as long as possible. Here’s the older kid wearing the outfit:

thrifty finn, DIY lalaloopsy dress

I am a super-duper sewer and a crafter and a friend indeed. How did your Christmas crafting go? Anything really good and appreciated? If you have any questions about making these, I’m happy to answer :)

-Thrifty Finn-

P.S. A total cost for these two outfits was about 25 euros. The most expensive was the main fabric, which is from 60s.

Joulupuu Charity

Image via awkwardfamilyphotos.com/

Image via awkwardfamilyphotos.com/

Christmas is coming, isn’t it nice? (Although I prefer the Finnish word joulu because it reminds me of the pagan roots of the celebration). The season of giving and over-eating. The best! Have you already started your Christmas-crafting and present buying? Or are you finished already? Either case, I’m here to get your attention to Joulupuu…

Joulupuu is a charity for getting Christmas gifts to those most vulnerable in our society; the kids in the social care system. It’s organized by the Junior Chamber of Commerce and it’s a national event.

joulupuu-logo-pieni-2012

How it works then? Joulupuu has published a list of most wished/preferred gifts on their website. The gifts are then collected between certain dates in one location. In Helsinki that’s Forum Shopping Centre. I’ve also seen Christmas trees with hanging tags where child has written themself what they’d like to get.

Now to the best part…Handmade gifts are cool too! I did the work for you and here are some ideas (picked from the official list) you could make yourself.

Girls/Boys Ages 0-1: Clothes sized 80cm, soft toys
Boys Ages 2-4: Clothes 86-92cm for 2-year olds, 104-114cm for 3 to 4 year olds
Girls Ages 2-4: Clothes 86-92cm to 104-114cm, play food, dolls and their accessories, Hello Kitty, Littlest Pet Shop and My Little Pony-themed things
Boys Ages 5-7: Role playing outfits. Good themes: Pokemon, Spiderman, Turtles. All kinds of superheroes would do well here.
Girls Ages 5-7: Dolls and doll accessories, role playing costumes, Hello Kitty, Littlest Pet Shop and My Little Pony-themed things, jewellery
Boys Ages 8-10: Sports related items, wool socks,
Girls Ages 8-10: Jewellery, wool socks
Boys Ages 11-18: Toiletry bags, sports related items; knitted socks, hats, mittens, scarves
Girls Ages 11-18: Make-up bags, jewellery, bags; knitted socks, hats, mittens, scarves

I’ve seen wishes for bedding sets too. Pillowcases and duvet covers. I would think that for especially older kids anything for building a home would be appreciated. Couple of cool cushions, bedspreads etc. I wouldn’t buy random mugs but for example that starter dinner set at IKEA would be quite bitchin’ and pots and pans would be quite alright too. And this leads to…

I spoke with the organizer Jeni Suhonen and she said that especially teenagers need gifts. Everyone wants to buy presents for babies and young children and teenagers get completely forgotten! Not cool, peeps. The full teenager wishlist include: music, makeup, gift cards to popular clothing stores like Stadium, H&M, Gina Tricot, sports equipment, clothes, books, perfumes and scents. You know, stuff that normal teenager would like.

The full list in Finnish is HERE. The list of all Junior Chamber joining is HERE.

-Thrifty Finn-