The Makeover of Two Settees Part Four: The Decking

We have arrived at the final part of this series of DIY reupholstering these two settees, which is replacing the decking or the bottom part of the settee fabric.  I recommend reading all the directions before beginning.


1.I began this project by cutting out a piece of natural colored duck canvas that covered all but approximately 3 inches on the outside of the seat, as pictured:

I found no need to remove the previous fabric on the bottom because it was in good condition and I could cover it up.

By using the duck canvas, I was able to use less of the vintage hemp linen.  If you notice most upholstered pieced with removable cushions have plain fabric on the bottom pieced together with the fabric that is showing on the outside (and likely the more costly fabric).

2. I then added at least 8 inches of the hemp linen fabric to all the sides, it needed to be enough fabric to cover a couple inches on the seat and to pull through onto to the sides and nail in place with a fold.

I did a lot of estimating and piecing fabric together for this process.  Because of the look I was going for, I was able to piece fabrics together, which made the process much less exact.

3. I sewed the strips of hemp to the canvas with a double seam and created this fabric piece to cover the entire bottom of the seat:

4. Next up is tucking the fabric around the legs and arms of the settee.  This is the trickiest part in my opinion.  Proceed carefully.  I love using these scissors for the process of slowly cutting into the fabric so that the fabric lies flat, but not too much that any cuts in the fabric are visible.  I always try to over estimate on the fabric needed and then make more cuts where in order to get the placement right.

5. Once I am pleased with the way the fabric is placed and tucked under, I flip up the front strip, and do a quick whip stitch at the seam on the bottom to the fabric on the seat.  I use a curved needle and upholstery thread to do this.

6. Now that is secure, it is time to tack the outside bottom to the frame.  I like using carpet tacks for this and I also like my lightweight upholstery hammer to minimize damage to the wood frame.  I fold the fabric under so no raw edges are exposed and hammer into place.

This is another case where I did not mind everything not being quite exact due to the slightly rustic look I was going for.  There were times I need to add a fold to the fabric to get it to lie flat and I was just fine with that.


Remember where we started from?

Thank you for checking out this post.  Feel free to contact me with any questions at




Makeover of Two Settees Part Three: Cushion Cover

To make a cushion cover(s), I started with my pattern that I created for the seat of the settee.  I mentioned this process in the last post, but it would be helpful to have it here too:


  1. I took a large piece of paper similar to wrapping paper and placed it on the seat of the settee:

2. I traced around the seat to and cut out the paper:

I cut the paper a bit too short in the corner here so, I corrected with with a bit more paper and tape.


  1. I first cut out a top and bottom of cushion using a the pattern I created and ADDING 1/2 INCH around the pattern for seam allowance.
    Since I was using a grain sack in which one side was not wide enough to cover the top, I made cuts on the bottom side, so I could create a piece large enough for the top of the cushion.  If you are here, you are likely to know that vintage hemp linen is my thing.  The quality and history of the fabric is very special to work with.  Here is a list of some of my favorite shops to buy this kind of fabric: Brocante und AntikesObjekts1Grain SackLinens by Sabine, Antique MonkeysThe Textile Trunk


     2. Next up is cutting out the sides of the cushion.  My cushion was 3 inches tall so I cut one strip that was 4 inches that was long enough to wrap around both sides and front.

3. Then I cut two 4 inch wide strips long enough to cover the back.  These are used for the zipper that will go in the back of the cushion.


With all the pieces I used my serger to finish off all the edges.  If you don’t have a serger you can do a zigzag stitch around all the sides with a sewing machine.  This is important if this is a cushion that will be washed in the future.  If the edges are not finished there will be a lot of fraying.  I did wait to serge one long edge of the strips of fabric used for the zipper because I will likely need to cut it down after the zipper is sewn in.




  1. Using the two strips of fabric I cut for the back zipper,  I begin by making an inch fold across the long side of the strips and ironing it into place.

You can see on one side of the piece of the fabric the serged edge.

      2. Then I sew a small piece of fabric in place on both ends of the zipper to stop the pull from sliding off, unless there is a metal stopper on the zipper already.

3. Then I pinned the zipper in place on one strip of fabric, allowing at least an inch of overlap before and after zipper handle lengthwise and enough fabric to cover one half of the zipper keeping it hidden. Using a zipper foot on my sewing machine I sew it in place.


4. Repeat with the second strip of fabric.

6. Before and after the zipper I place a couple stitches to sew the fabric together:

7. I cut my strips too wide on purpose, just to leave room for error.  So now with the zipper in place I cut this finished product down to 4 inches so it is the same size as the front strip.

8. After trimming to the correct size, I serged the raw edges.



  1. I begin by sewing one end of the zipper piece with one end of the plain strip for the front and sides. With right sides of the fabric together.  I use a 1/2 seam allowance.
  2. Then using this strip that has one open end, I pin the zipper in place to the top of the cushion piece exactly where I want it.  Again with the right sides of the fabric together.  Then I continue to pin the plain side piece until it meets the other end of the zipper.  Next I connect the other ends of the zipper and plain strip and sew them together.  I like to do this at this time because I always seem to get measurements wrong.
  3. With one side of the zipper/side piece pinned in place with the top of the cushion I sew them together with a 1/2 inch seam allowance.
  4. Then I pin the bottom of the cushion to the opposite side of the side/zipper piece. With right sides of the fabric facing each other.  You must be very careful to line up the corners of the top and bottom at this time.  I also make sure a couple inches the zipper is open so that after sewing I can completely unzip it to turn it right side out.
  5. Sew the bottom in place with 1/2 seam allowance. And turn the cushion right side out.
  6. Then  you should have a finished cushion cover.  Try it on.  Sometimes I find corners can be tricky so I add a bit of batting in them to add a some fluff. I also will cut a couple small slits in the corner pieces of the fabric just short of the seam to avoid some pulling at the corners.
  7. If the cushion fits then I take the time to add another stitch all around the sides.  For upholstery pieces I like to have double seams.  If it doesn’t look quite right, that is what a seam ripper is for, I often have to correct sections of my cushion.  I typically don’t completely start from the beginning, but I with remove a section of stitching that I am not pleased with and try again with that part. Be patient with the process, these are tricky and take some time, but its definitely worth it in my opinion.


Please email me with any questions,


The Makeover of Two Settees Part Two: Reconstructing the Down Seat Cushion

So as luck would have it, a couple months after I purchased the first settee for our home I was checking IG and I saw a picture of my settee for sale at Goodland Antiques.  What? TWO of them exist??? I knew I wanted the second to reupholster for resale.  I sent a note to Ann, the shop owner and placed my claim on it.

The biggest surprise with these pieces was the state of the cushions.  The interior fabric was almost completely disintegrated.  So I need to remove the feathers and reconstruct the interior cushions.  I suppose if the exterior fabric did not have piping or a zipper you could just leave the exterior fabric on and make a new cover for it.  But my cushions had both.   In my experience, every single vintage furniture piece has a surprise or two that you find once you get to work changing things up.  There really is no way that the Antique shop I purchased them from would have known that if I wanted to redo them, I would have to reconstruct the cushions.  They were in perfect working order if I kept the fabric that they had on them on them.  That is all you can expect when buying a piece of vintage furniture.

see the feathers are about to take flight

For the purpose of this being a tutorial, for this section I am going to go through the process that I used on the second settee to reconstruct the seat cushion.  Because I did in fact learn more the second time around.  Although I am pleased with the results of the first settee, the second is better.

Step 1:

I made a pattern of the seat with some paper.  I did this by placing a large piece of paper. You can do this with wrapping paper.  Then I carefully traced around the seat and cut it out.  I double checked my work by replacing the paper on the seat and saw that there were some spots that I cut too short.  I taped more paper on those edges and cut true to size.


Step 2:

Into the down feathers I went.  I did my best to carefully remove the previous cushion.  I tried to work on this in a clean, contained space because feathers will get everywhere and I wanted to chase down as many as could.  I found the second settee’s cushion to be in slightly more intact condition, not working condition, but it at least provided more clues as how to reconstruct.  The cushion was a down envelope around a piece of two inch high foam.

The cushion was a down envelope around a piece of two inch high foam.  I carefully removed the foam and tried to keep the feathers contained in the original cushion cover.  The foam was not in great condition, but I was able to use it as a pattern for new piece of foam.  I traced the old foam piece onto a new foam piece and used an electric carving knife to cut it out.

Step 3:

I set the foam piece to the side, while I worked on redoing the envelope part for the cushion.  I found that the original cushion had two thin, top and bottom feather cushions that were held together by strip of 4 inch fabric edges.  The back of the cushion allowed space for foam to slide in in-between the two feather cushions.  So in order to recreate this I needed 4 pieces of liner fabric (I actually just used an old clean sheet) cut to size, I cut the fabric one each 2 inches larger around the entire pattern.  If I were sewing a cushion cover I would cut the pieces 1/2 inch greater than the pattern to allow for 1/2 seam allowance, and then I end up with a snug fit.  But since this would be used for stuffing a plump cushion I wanted to add bit more fabric make it easier to stuff and allow room for the feathers.  I also cut a strip of 4 inch fabric to go around the edges of the cushion.  My cushion was 3 inches high, so 4 inches was right with a 1/2 inch seam allowance.  I did not worry about adding extra fabric to this strip like I did for the top and bottom pieces.


Step 4:

These steps are a bit tricky for me to explain, and I am visual so I attempted a diagram.  Hopefully it helps, not confuses you more:

With a 1/2 inch seam allowance, I sewed two of the four of the large pieces together leaving approximately a 10 inch opening in the back to allow for stuffing feathers.  Then I repeated this with two the last two pieces.  I turned these right side out, which I don’t really think is entirely necessry. This will be completely covered and if you left it wrong side out it would be fine.  Then I took the strip of 4 inch fabric and sewed it all the way around the edges of one of the finished larger pieces with a 1/2 seam allowance, careful  not to sew the opening for feathers closed.  Then I did the same for the second pieces, sewing it onto the other side of the strip.  But this time I did not sew it completely around, I left approximately 24 inches open in the back in addition to the opening for the feathers.  This allows an opening for the foam.  In doing this it left unfinished edges on the 4 inch strip.


Step 5:

I did my best to stuff the down feathers evenly between the top and bottom cushions.  I stitched up the openings for the feathers to keep them contained, careful to still allow for the opening of the foam.


Step 6:

I stuffed the foam in place in the envelope of feathers.  I actually found that my foam felt a little too substantial for the cushion, if made more of a flat look versus a pillow like cushion.  I believe this is because the foam was just in so much better condition and possible quality versus the old one.  So I  played with the size by trimming the sides to get it the right feel.


Step 7:

I am going to let you decide if this was necessary.  Originally I thought that the cushion could just be stuffed into another liner and be good to go, not a complete reconstruction.  Since I had it on hand, I thought I would use it.  I had already cut fabric to create this:

– I did this using duck canvas, leaving an extra 2 inches on all sides of the pattern and cutting a 4 inch strip for the sides.

-I sewed the 4 inch strip completely around the top.

– I connected the ends of the 4 inch fabric and sewed those together.

-Next is sewing the bottom part to the other side of the 4 inch strip.  leaving about 20 inches open to allow for stuffing the cushion in.

-Turn the piece right side out.  And stuff the cushion in place.  Finally stitch up the back opening.


Step 8:

To add a little extra padding and making the cushion have a full look, I added a layer of Dacron.  I wrapped the cushion carefully in Dacron as not to change the shape of the cushion.  If you prefer more precision you could use the pattern of the seat and cut two pieces allowing an extra 1/2-1 inches on each side for stitching and 4 inch strip for the sides.  When the Dacron is in place, I secured it with a loose hand whip stitch.  This completed the reconstruction of the cushion, and in the end I had a very high quality cushion that used all the precious down that was still in excellent working condition after decades of use.

Nice and comfy, this one was probably the cushion for my settee, I do my best to keep my dogs away from items I try to sell.  But sometimes they do sneak in there.



Next up is making the cushion cover…




The Makeover of Two Settees Part One: Removing Upholstery Tacks and Adding White Wax to the Wood

Last summer I stopped by one of my favorite local antique shops, Goodland Antiques in Bayview.  As I entered from across the room, I spotted THIS beauty.  I couldn’t rip the price tag off fast enough in order to stake my claim.  I have done many settee makeovers in my day, but the shape of this, the tone of the wood and the perfect caning made me realize this was a special piece.

I brought it home with a happy pickers glow on my face. I was going to try really hard to find a spot for it.  The thing about my home is it is on the smaller side,  there really is not any space to add pieces that aren’t actually utilitarian.  I have come to realize that even if pieces are extra special, if I try to squeeze them into my house just to own them, I find the clutter isn’t worth it. It doesn’t bring me joy.  Settees can most definitely be useful, but they can also just be a fancy space filler if you have space.

When I got home I realized that it might be a good option to use at my dining room table.  I did need two more seats at the table.  It unfortunately was a bit too short.  So I had the idea of adding casters.

This was a bit of hope and prayer situation, but I was ready for the challenge since I was desperate to make it work in my home.  The legs are solid wood, but they are on the thinner side, and time would only tell if they were strong enough to manage casters.  I ordered these casters off of amazon and carefully drilled holes in the bottom of the feet to to insert them.  If you try this, take your time drilling, with solid wood I found it easy to get the angle wrong.  I did get the angle wrong on one  leg, but I was able to correct it by adding wood glue and small wood dowel, then starting over again after the glue dried.   They seemed to hold fine.  But these wheels only rolled front to back, it was not user friendly for as much as this thing was going to get rolled.  Then I changed them out for this set. The set I purchased had brakes, but this manufacture seems to not be offering those right now.  We actually never use the brakes, so I don’t believe it makes much difference. They totally work!!! We are in nearly 9 months of using this at our only eating table with a family of 6.  I am so happy.  My kids love sitting in it and eating.


We have since added layered rugs to our dining room and the casters still work great

The height is ideal for a spot at the table.  In a perfect world the settee would slide right under my table.  It doesn’t.  But my world is surely not perfect, and it doesn’t bother me.

I had plans to give this a fabric overhaul.  The first step in doing that is removing the tacks and trim on the bottom.  I have a confession…I have been doing upholstery for at least 7 years and I have always removed tacks and staples with a flat head screwdriver and pliers.  It works, you have to be careful not to damage wood though.  Anyway, I thought I would try this little tool that I found for around $25 on amazon.  HOLY MOLY!! This was so much easier!! I know that starting out DIY projects its a pain to invest in all the tools not knowing if you would ever need them for another project.  But this was worth it for me, even if I just used it for this project, it likely saved me a couple hours of work.  And those couple of hours of removing tacks from furniture is not the most pleasant couple of hours.  That is definitely not the fun part of reupholstering a piece.

The other change I made, was that even though I loved the tone of the natural wood I wanted to soften it up a bit.  This wood did not have a high gloss finish on it so I knew it would take to a layer of white wax really well.  I used Miss Mustard Seed White wax to cover all the wood.  I used a wax brush to make sure that all the caning got a somewhat even coverage.  A trick that I have learned is that if you apply the wax, let it dry, and you happen to find areas where there are clumps you can apply some clear wax over those areas to work out the white wax to more even coverage.  The change was very subtle, but it meant a lot to me.

If you look closely you can see on the left its bare and the right has the white wax applied

This is the complete white wax look

During the next part of this project (which actually turned into PROJECTS).  I will go over the process of making the cushion.  It got really messing, but 1000 % worth it.




French linen Shopping

One of my favorite parts to my business is shopping/hunting/scouring the world for antique French linens.  Here is a little back story on how it all began…In 2015 I tackled my first upholstery project, it was chair that I purchased off of craiglist for $5.  Being inspired by pictures of chairs with grain sack material, this is what I wanted to attempt.  And that was the beginning.  I had very little kids at the time and did very little shopping, most especially at antique shops.  I intially thought that I could just run to my local antique mall and grab some grain sacks. Nope.  It is not out of the question that your local antique mall carries a couple, but I quickly found out mine did not, and finding the right vintage fabric was a process.  A process I really enjoy, but there is some work involved.  I was lucky enough to find a lovely grain sack from a seller on ebay, and the outcome was good.  I wanted another project. So next I found a vintage French style sofa on craiglist. It had beautiful lines.  I had committed to buying it, when the seller got a higher offer and threw me to curb.  I was sad, I had grown attached already.  But it finally ended up being mine when the other buyer never showed to pick it up.  It had a lot of potential, but needed a complete overhaul.  My vision was to upholster it using antique hemp linen sheets.  So now I had to get my hands on some…That brought me to here:


Around this time my husband had a business trip in France, he asked me to meet him in Paris for a weekend.  Eveything aligned, that mostly meaning my sister was able to watch my kids, with childcare in place all the other details are easy.  It was a pretty special weekend, I think back on it with fondness.  We wandered, ate crepes, stayed in a nice hotel, and even the book I read on the plane made me happy.  But what was really quite a big deal for me was I needed some antique European hemp sheets for my sofa, and Paris was a promising a place as any to find those.  I did as much research as I could online figuring out where precisely I needed to go to shop for the sheets.  I flew in one morning and my husband couldn’t meet me until the evening. My research steered me to the Marais area, so I set out on my own in this direction with a mission.

 There was a courtyard like area tucked in to a block that had several quaint antique shops, I didn’t find what I was looking for, but I really enjoyed myself. I wish that I had taken more pictures.  One of the shops I visited was this one, its a treat to just look at their website and dream about picking through the lovely collection of textiles and ribbons:

-photo credit Au Petit Bonheur la Chance-

-photo credit Au Petit Bonheur la Chance-

I was not disappointed that I didn’t find my linens on the first day, because I was feeling really hopeful and excited about my luck at a Paris flea market.  There are several flea markets in Paris, there is Les Puces de Saint-Ouen, which according to the internet is the most famous flea market in the world. But I found information warning me that the prices were very high, and it wouldn’t necessarily be the best for linens.  From what I could gather from my research was that Marche aux Puces de la Porte de Vanves was a bit more causual with better prices and plenty of linens.  So Saturday morning I set out early on the metro by myself to buy linens.  Antique shopping is not my husbands thing, and I really prefer to not have to drag an unentertained person through stall after stall. In addition I kind of like shopping alone, so it worked out.  We bonded over French pastries later.  

See THAT is an example of an assortment that served us well.  Back to shopping, although, a proper shopping trip should always include snacks and nourishment.  In my experience sugar is best to keep up the longetivity of a shopping trip, its science :).  French pastries do their job well to keep a sucessful shopping trip going. 

Okay, now back to shopping, I arrived early due to an internet recommendation.  A bit too early in fact. Some stalls weren’t welcoming shoppers yet, and even if they were I am not convinced it was necessary.  The atmosphere was not of a hustle to score the best pieces.  It was more like a social event.  Everyone seemed to be leisurely enjoying themselves.  It was lovely.

I speak very limited French. I took French in high school, which equals me being able to introduce myself and order a crepe.  But I did read up on how to ask for a price so I was prepared.  My pronunciation was often not understandable and it was one of those experiences out of my comfort zone, but I tried.  I always had warm feedback because I made an attempt.  The vendors would either start speaking English to me or if they didn’t speak English they would write down the price for me.  Even though I could sort of ask what the price was, it didn’t mean I could always (almost never) understand the response.  But it worked out. The mutual goal of a sale and the fact that I tried to speak French in France we worked through any communication barriers.  

 I loved the flea market.  There were some curated stalls, like this whismical one filled with ribbons, textiles, and sweet vintage childrens toys.  Looking at these pictures makes me wish I had bought so much more.

There were also tables set up that were disorganized and random.  But there were always good stuff to be found.  The dishes!!! There were so many pretty ones!!  And the prices were very good in my opinion.  But there was only so much room in my suitcase.

It took the morning but I eventually found enough linen for my sofa.  I was thrilled.  It was a lot of linen, it didn’t make the metro ride back to the hotel easy, but I was beaming inside holding on tightly to my treasure.  Even the plane ride home I was very careful not to check my pile of linen, I carried it on and made sure it was never too far away.  

The quality of the linen made it possible to recover my sofa successfully.  I remember one moment working on an arm, and the fabric stapled beautifully in place without very much effort, it felt wild because I was fairly inexperienced with upholstery and most DIY projects I had done before did not cooperate so easily. Between the magic of a special weekend in a foreign land with my husband and learning that I had a developed a new skill and love and a true love for it, makes this a time that I hold close to my heart.

This is the finished product of my vintage linens from Paris and my craigslist sofa in our old house

These days traveling to France is not an option, and it wasn’t very easy pre covid anyway.  I have found shopping on Etsy gives me a little taste of the Paris Flea market experience.  It has turned into one of my favorite pastimes.  The hunt is for the perfect item is really, REALLY fun. Then there is nothing like receiving a package from France to make your day.  Sometimes I am just buying a fabric remnant, or some ribbon so shipping remains reasonable.  The items that arrive always make my project very special.  Here are some of the Etsy shops that I have had the most success with:

-First off is my friend, Cybele’s shop Au Pres de Mont Toi.  I purchased many French Postal Bags from her initially, but since I have bought some other beautiful treasures from her shop.  A bonus is that I have gotten to know her through communicating over the internet through google translate.  She is sweet, funny, and a mother like me. Last year I received a thoughtful note from her wondering how we were doing with the pandemic in my part of the world.  I hope that to meet her one day in person. From her shop I purchased the postal bags that made these projects possible.

Newfoundland Postal Bag Pillows

Another shop that I love is Sissidavril, this little shop has beautiful fabrics, ribbons, and French laundry tags.  Using the tiny  French laundry tags that I bought from this shop added a lot of charm to my little stockings I made at Christmas time.

Sissidavril also offered this extra special fabric remnant.  I love all the characters in it. I was able to make a couple of pillows and some Valentine’s decor with it.  It was a treat to work with it.

I just discovered MarieDecor1888, when I was searching for vintage ticking stripe fabric.  Browsing the shop is really fun, and I reached out to the owner in hopes that she possibly had some fabric similar to what she had listed.  She was very easy to work with and had just what I was looking to buy. I hope to use these pretty pieces to make some stockings when the holidays roll around.

 I have a package making its way over the Atlantic from FrenchVintageRetro right now.  I have yet to actually receive a package directly from them, but a friend who bought the fabric from this shop had me sew a pillow for her. She actually ended up with some extra French linen and I gladly took it off her hands. This particular fabric is pristine vintage French linen, it is c’est magnifique!! Also a virtual wander through this store is highly recommended, their treasures are not isolated to pretty linen, and their photography and presentation is beautiful.

Happy shopping or browsing or sewing or just dreaming about travel.  If you would like to see if I have any completed projects for sale using my French finds check my shop.  Also if you are looking for a project idea check out my stocking tutorial or bed upholstery tutorial.

Reupholstering thrift store chair

I thought I would offer a bit of a behind the scenes look at reupholstering this thrift store chair.  I had not done a big project like this in some time, it reminded me that I really enjoy reupholstering pieces and that it takes quite a bit of time.

Here is a picture of how I found the chair although it did come with a seat cushion. I am not entirely sure why I didn’t include it in the photograph, I took it several months ago and that is too long ago for my memory to recall such details :). Although I do remember shopping at the thrift store when this was brought out onto the floor by one of the workers and staking my claim on it as quick as possible.  There is nothing like thrift shopping to bring out my most assertive self. I was drawn to its shape and upon inspection I found it to be very sturdy. I am often tempted in second hand projects that aren’t particularly sturdy, but they can be more trouble than they are worth.  There are lots and lots of potential projects out there, you can find a sturdy one, it will be worth the wait.

This chair sat in my basement for a while, like nearly 2 years.  So in my head it went through a variety of plans.  I actually sanded down the finish a couple months ago and sealed with wax. It was a nice finish, but when I finally decided upon using this vintage hemp mattress cover that I purchased from the shop, Parna, I thought it needed to be painted white.  I painted the wood two coats of  Miss Mustard Seed Milk Paint Linen after a light sanding, I sealed it with a layer of tough coat.

To avoid reinventing the DIY wheel I am going to direct you to Miss Mustard Seed’s blog that inspired and taught me how to reupholster a French Style chair, . She offers a great detailed tutorial if this is a project you would like to tackle.  AND YOU CAN TACKLE IT!!! 

For this project I was so glad that the fabric that I stripped from the chair remained intact so I could use it as a pattern.  It is generally good practice to always do this,  but in this case it especillay helped me line up the stripes and stitching just so. On a side note something very special about this kind of vintage fabric is the hand stitching.  In my work I like to celebrate time and person who carefully did these quality stitches that have lasted decades.  It adds so much meaning to these beautiful textiles, I often wonder who this seamstress they might be? And in what setting did work? I wanted these stitches found running down the front of the chair and lining it up worked out great with a pattern.

Next I like to tack up my pieces of fabric to get a visual on placement before I reach the staple gun level of commitment.

Here I am happily working on the back of the chair:

*note all the visitors I have wondering about dinner.  I had hoped they might forget, but they never do.*

After the back of the chair was done I took on the cushion cover.  Cushion covers have given me the most headaches in reupholstery.  It has taken me a lot of practice to get somewhat efficient and confident in sewing them.  I have even hired a sewing instructor TWICE to work along side me to give me pointers.  However I totally think I beginner can sew one. Absolutely. There just could possibly be a bit more moments of frustration, at least that was my experience. But if you are mentally prepared for frustration, hiccups often don’t turn into frustration.  So by all means beginners go for it!  My first cushions turned out fine in the end, but it took A LOT of patience. I am not trying to be a downer or discourage anyone, quite the opposite.  I just don’t want to romanticize the process so that if someone tries this out and it doesn’t turn out the first time they know they are not alone. This is a really good tutorial done by Peg Baker and she is very precise, maybe I would have had more luck when starting out if I had followed a her tutorial. In her tutorial she uses piping, for the deisgn of this cushion I liked it without piping. Also she teaches how to put a zipper closure, I like buttons and use those instead.  The buttons take a bit more time, and more fabric is needed for the overlap but it is worth it for me.  Also I have found an important step in making a cushion with this hemp linen is adding a bit of padding.  I really like a full looking cushion and the woven fabric has a lot of stretch to it, I always end up adding a layer or two of dacron.  This cushion was already very full, but it needed a little more padding.  I cut a piece that was just about half the size of the top of the cushion and then I cut a piece to the exact size of the entire top of the cushion.   I put both pieces in place on top of the cushion with the smallest one under the larger one.  I like the bit of cozy fullness it added to the seat. 

When I put the cushion back on is when I had my ahhhhhh moment, the chair was starting to come together.  It takes a while to get to this point with upholstery, but it is so sweet and worth the wait to feel like your vision is coming to life.  Also you may notice on the bottom left there is a stripe that I patched in.  I felt like it needed one more stripe and that is the beauty of this pieced togther look of the fabric is that it gives freedom to add patches.

Next up was the bottom of the seat.  I used modern canvas for the part of the seat that would be covered by the cushion, this is fairly typical, but also I needed to because I was running out of the vintage hemp fabric.  To be honest here, this part took me the better part of a day.  It is tricky because you have to make cuts to fit around the legs and arms of the chair so that the fabric is smoothed down in place, but you can’t cut too much then you are left with too little fabric. In someplaces the trim can help cover some small spaces in the fabric, eventhough it is just a half an inch it can make all the difference.  I am glad that I took my time with this seat, in the end it turned out well.

When I put the cushion back on is when I had my ahhhhhh moment, the chair was starting to come together.  It takes a while to get to this point with upholstery, but it is so sweet and worth the wait to feel like your vision is coming to life.  Also you may notice on the bottom left there is a stripe that I patched in.  I felt like it needed one more stripe and that is the beauty of this pieced togther look of the fabric is that it gives freedom to add patches.

Next up was the bottom of the seat.  I used modern canvas for the part of the seat that would be covered by the cushion, this is fairly typical, but also I needed to because I was running out of the vintage hemp fabric.  To be honest here, this part took me the better part of a day.  It is tricky because you have to make cuts to fit around the legs and arms of the chair so that the fabric is smoothed down in place, but you can’t cut too much then you are left with too little fabric. In someplaces the trim can help cover some small spaces in the fabric, eventhough it is just a half an inch it can make all the difference.  I am glad that I took my time with this seat, in the end it turned out well.

The last parts to the chair left were the fabric for the arms and the trim.  Picking the right trim can stress me out. It can a make or break part of the entire piece.  I feel like sometimes its hard to find a trim that looks like it belongs with the fabric and doesn’t overpower or detract from it.  For this chair I wanted it to blend, and in order to get the color just right I need to make my own with the same fabric.  I made my own double welting.  And here is yet another tutorial that I did not write, thank you Miss Mustard Seed. Then I secured the trim with a glue gun.  I used a small piece of fabric to glue into place where the ends met, I tried to place these parts in inconspicious areas. On the arms where it was visiable I added a button, because why not?

And she DONE and avaliable for purchase with local Milwaukee pick up. All the details are on the shop page

For quick reference here is a list of the tools I use:

Surebonder Staple Gun

Rigid 6 Gallon Air Compressor

T50 Staples I like to have a couple different sizes handy, I often start with the smaller ones so I can remove them if needed and adjust things. Then when I am ready to commit, I bring out the larger ones.  Be sure you get the right kind of staple for your staple gun. 

Upholstery Webbing

Upholstery Webbing Tool

Detail Scissors

Please let me know if you have any questions or success stories, my email is

*Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links at no additional cost to you.*

Aspiring for Organization

I am not the most organized person, I am not the least organized person either.  But if I classify myself I would land closer to the least organized person group.  Almost everyday I wish that being organized came a bit more naturally to me.  Just like everyone else there is a lot that I need/want to accomplish in a day.  Included in that need is a bit of rest, otherwise I become worthless.  Please know that if you are reading this, and are one of my customers, providing timely, organized, and a pleasant shopping experience is one of my greatest priorities. That will always, always be at the forefront of my mind 🙂 

I don’t know what organizational classification that you fall under, but know all should be celebrated, there are strengths in everyone’s approach to their day.  Anyway, I have discovered a couple things that have made my life a bit easier in helping me accoplish my to do list that I thought I would share. 

First off is an incredibly easy dinner recipe. It is not a summery recipe, but it may come in handy on a rainy day.  It is Trader Joe’s Chili with Cornbread baked on the top.  Its not 100% homemade, but its very yummy and takes less than 5 minutes of prep work. I learned it years ago from one the Trader Joe’s sample tables.  My family loves it.  And a funny thing happened with this recipe…so one Easter a couple years ago I threw I big dinner for friends and as I was cleaning up my husband turned to me and said “I have to bring chili tomorrow to work for our chili cookoff”(reflecting on this story makes me think maybe the people I live with affect my organiztion 🙂 ) First of all my husband doesn’t make anything besides pancakes (he has many other talents), second it wouldn’t have been good if he didn’t participate, and third I was tired of cooking and just tired.  So I whipped up this recipe. We (Trader Joes included) won second place.  Was it my most proud moment? Nope.  But it just goes to show what a good recipe it is.  

Here are the instructions to make this award winning recipe:


     -4 cans of Trader Joes Turkey or Chicken Chili (I have used both and both are good)

     -1 box of Trader Joes Cornbread Mix

     -1 egg



    1) Spread chili on an 9 by 11 inch pan

    2) Mix cornbread ingredients as instructed on the box

    3) Spread cornbread mixture over the chili

    4) Bake chili/cornbread pan according to box instructions.  I have noticed it takes 5-10 minutes longer than    the instructions to bake in my oven likely due to the chili.  So keep an eye on it.

     5) Let it cool and serve it up with some cheese and sour cream.

Another thing that has helped me so incredibly much is ordering groceries.  Maybe I am the last person in the world to start doing this, so my apologies if this old news.  But its amazing.  It saves me so much time wandering the aisles trying to find things. It helps avoid me on a bunch of random trips to the store. It keeps me organized in having ingredients for dinner on hand.  My routine (and yes it doesn’t happen EVERY week, but when it does I have a smoother week) is to make a dinner menu on Sunday for the week and sit down and take 20 minutes to order my groceries.  I am usually able to get the 7 am Monday morning pick up time slot, so I run over to the store first thing in the morning and have fresh food for packed lunches before my kids head out for the day.  


One last little thing that I have really enjoyed lately is buying old library books.  I believe most libraries have small sections where they sell their used books.  At my local library they offer them for $1-5.  Thrift stores are a great place to buy used books.  I can never remember to return library books.  I do think about it.  But hardly ever when I am actually heading out the door.  See this is a book that waited for days (maybe weeks) in my dining room to be returned, then I moved it to the bench by my door where it waited for days before finally making it to the library.


 I feel kind of bad about it.  I love the library, and its librarians, I want to respect them with timely returns.  Not to mention I have had some NOT pretty fines. But this detail of life is a struggle for me.  Buying the used books is a perfect solution for me, and the couple of dollars I spend supports the library. I have enjoyed each read that I have found lately, with zero of return dates.  Also I don’t typically need to save every novel I read, but it is nice to have on hand to pass it on to friend.

Also these two books were very good.  Both were serious and sad. But they showed the beauty in human resiliency, which for me is such a powerful thing to be exposed to.  I always enjoy when I can learn a little bit of history while reading a novel and both provided that. 

I hope this not decor related post helps you a bit to make room in your days for things that you really want to do.  Please let me know if you have any tips or tricks to stay on top of it all.

Dying Fabric with Miss Mustard Seed’s Milk Paint

I partnered with Miss Mustard Seed’s Milk Paint to experiment with using their paint to dye fabric.  I must say I am quite pleased with the results and learned a lot.  MMSMP is the paint I use the most. One of the reasons for this is the colors, they are so pretty.  I generally use neutrals for my projects, but this project was colorful, and fun. I used 5 different MMSMP colors: TricycleApron StringsTypewriterFlow Blue, and Arabesque.  I was surprised which color was my favorite, more on that later.  

If this is a project you would like to do here is the process I followed and what I learned:


-Miss Mustard Seed’s Milk Paint

-Natural fiber (cotton or linen) light colored fabric




-Old towel or drop cloth


-Hot water

1- First get your set up ready for a mess, with towel or drop cloth in place.  Use a bowl that you are okay with getting ruined to place 2 cups of hot water and dissolve 1 tablespoon salt into it.  Then add 1/2 cup of MMSMP paint powder to the water/ salt mixture and stir for about two minutes to get it all mixed into liquid form.

2- Make sure your fabric is clean and completely wet.  So run your fabric through the washer.  DO NOT PUT IN DRYER.  Take wet fabric and immerse in paint mixture.

3- Let the fabric sit for at least 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

4- Remove fabric and rinse with water.  

5- Let air dry, then iron fabric to help set the dye.  Make sure your iron is clean before ironing something else : ).

6- Lastly use a washer and dryer to wash (using a little bit of detergent) and dry the fabric.

Lessons Learned

– All the colors I used were successful in dying fabric except Arabesque.  The colors were lighter variations of the paint, but they turned out nicely.  I believe Arabesque was just too light, it is such a lovely color, but it quickly washed out the fabric using my process.

Apron Strings


Flow Blue



-I used a couple of different kind of natural fabrics and mostly liked the variations on how they absorbed the dye.  I used stark white linen, natural color antique hemp linen, and the affordable option of a modern day oatmeal cotton drop cloth.  All were a little different, I liked them all. 

drop cloth    –    hemp linen    –    white linen

-I wanted to get a series of 3-4 pieces of fabric that were different shades of the same fabric, an ombre look.  I had some success with two shades, but after that I wasn’t able to acheive a variation in the shade doing what I tried.   First I tried four pieces of fabric and put them all in and removed one at a time after 10 minute intervals, so the first piece was in for 10 minutes and the last for 40 minutes.  I really didn’t see that much variation in the color after the fabric was washed.  Then I tried 3 minute intervals with Typewriter, that was a bit better because the first piece of fabric I removed ended up with just a tint of the dye that it contrasted well with the remaining pieces.  However I didn’t see enough of a contrast in the remaining pieces and I even tried adding more paint powder without luck.  I am not saying this can’t be done, I am sure that one of you has the answer to achieving this and please let me know when you do.

-I did not see much difference in leaving fabric in the dye for 10 minutes versus 1.5 hours.

-This recipe of 2 cups of water was suitable for about 1-2 feet square piece of fabric.

– I learned I enjoyed this project and will be doing it again! The possiblities on what to use the dyed fabric for is endless.  

-Finally I learned I love, love the color Apron Strings.  I am generally a blue/green/neutral girl.  But the outcome of these pieces of fabric with the salamon color made me so happy, it was my favorite!

Have fun, and let me know if you have success!!

*Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links at no additional cost to you.*

Antique Sheet Music Holiday Decor

 During my history of searching for treasures I have found some pretty special handwritten letters from dating over 200 years ago.  I believe the handwritten script is a piece of art.  Recently a friend who knew me well discovered these antique handwritten Swedish sheets of music in an antique store in Massachusetts.  They are stunning.  Lucky for me, she brought me back a pile of them.  I am certain the orignal composer never imagined someone using them to make holiday decor.  I hope that this is a celebration of their beauty and work that went into the pages.  I am really enjoy the charm and history they add to my home.  I got several projects out of just four pages of sheet music.  


First up is the good old fashioned paper chain.  I haven’t made a paper chain since elementary school, but they made an impact that has lasted decades.  A paper chain for elementary kids in the 1980s was most definintely THE project.  This chain used two 8 1/2  X 11 inch pages and ended up being nearly 10 feet long.  I cut approximately 1/3 inch strips along the 8 1/2 inch side.  Then cut those strips in half, so the strips ended up being about 1/3 by 4 1/4 inches.  Next I weaved the chain together,  and I secured the links with a glue gun, but if my memory serves me right a stapler or tape or a glue stick will do the job. 


I love framing these antique pages. I have two larger frames with antique French letters displayed.  They are some of my favorite things in my home.  Having a couple of small frames with these music pages naturally seemed like their destiny when they landed in my house.   I had these small frames that I picked up at Goodwill and I am really happy about what they add when tucked into my garland.  Another idea is adding ribbon to the back to make an ornament.  I did add a little stamping to a couple for a little extra. 


For the ornaments, I used a paper punch similar to this one to create a cut out.  Then punch a small hole at the top. Finally tie a ribbon or string through the hole or adding paperclip(another trick I learned in Elementary school) to hang the ornament and you are DONE.   They are great with or without some stamping, you decide.  

For the tags I just traced a gift tag that I had on hand, but this tool would come in handy if you are going to make a lot of them. I love the detail they add to wrapped gifts.  If there was ever a time to have fancy wrapped gifts, I think 2020 is it.

I hope this helps give you some ideas for easy projects.  If you are antique shopping and find some pretty old papers and the price is right…GRAB THEM!! There are so many pretty uses for them.

Also speaking of pretty paper, the wrapping paper with the design was purchased through the artist, Jennifer Lanne’s online shop.  She does inspiring work and sells them in many forms.    

*Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links at no additional cost to you.*

German Grain Sack Pieces

One of the textiles that I have found the most inspiration from and have made my most favorite projects are German grain sacks with lettering.  I say they have MADE my projects because, honestly it is the detail and history they provide that MAKE a special finished product.  The execution that I play into in turning them into a usable piece is the small part. This part though I am grateful to have, its an honor to be their keeper for a period of time.

In working with these historic sacks, its my inclination to carefully cut and piece them together with complimenting fabrics.  I understand that this might not sit right with some.  Because how could one cut up something that has existed for 150 years?? But hear me out, and if you still feel strongly, I respect your opinion. But give piece a chance :).   First of all, logistically these sacks are expensive.  The opportunity to get 3-4 pillows out of sack and create something that can bring joy to several households versus just one sack that would be a very, very pricey decor item for one household makes sense to me. Although one can most definitely hang a grain sack, or drape it on a chair, there is something special about a creation that came from these sacks.  My dining chairs that were upholstered from pieces of German grain sacks are some of my favorite things in my house and briing me joy everyday.  I would not appreciate a single grain sack as much.  I have to believe possibly the original owners would be pleased to see these sacks being used and enjoyed.

Now that you have heard my why, this is the process of how:  

I begin with a grain sack, and visualize what elements compliment each other.  I try not to break up pieces that really belong together.  This grain sack was purchased from the Etsy shop, LaPouyette.  I have purchased from this shop before and would bet I would do it again, she provides unique and beautiful textiles.  If you are ever in the market for German grain sacks, Objekts1 offers some beauties, in addition the owner usually offer plain hemp linen to compliment.

Then I place the lettering on my cutting mat and start piecing in complimenting hemp.  There are no rules here.  I just start adding pieces and see what works.  I have developed quite the stash of pieces of hemp linen over the years of doing this, but that doesn’t mean that some who is a beginner couldn’t try this out with just one other grain sack.  The natural handwoven hemp all vary, the shades and weaves are all slightly different.  But more than not these natural tones compliment each other.  Often times one side of the hemp is a different shade than the other, piecing these shades together can add dimension. 

This stage gets really messy. Someone once asked if this part drives me crazy, the piecing together part, not the messy part.  I love this part.  This is when I get to be creative, and these fabrics are so good the end result is destined to be good.  Although, yes, I second guess myself throughout the entire time, but in the end when its all finished and on a pillow it feels good.  The outcome almost always puts a smile on my face.

I especially had fun putting together the pieces for this pillow.  It turned into a combination of art/gemometry/history.  I love when these sacks have a little extra detail to the writing, this one had lots of lovely swirlys.  The swirlys deserve to be highlighted!!

Three of the grain sack pillows that were made from this sack will be for sale during my next restock that I am aiming for next week (the first week of June).  The pillow that I made using the date 1858 is a gift for a friend : (  or : ) if you are that friend.

The idea of piecing fabrics together opens up an entire world of options when using vintage fabrics, not just grain sacks.  Any vintage fabrics come with a finite amount of yardage, and sometimes even the tiniest bit should be used and not wasted.  When I found a fabric nursery rhyme book in an antique shop, I knew its graphics needed to be celebrated.  So in adding pieces of French ticking and hemp, some pretty pillows came about.

 In addition some small remnants of fabrics can be found affordably and its fun to hunt for them.  If you have read any of my previous posts you know I hang out a lot on Etsy.  This post highlights some of my favorite French Etsy shops that provide really magical textiles in all sizes.

Have a great weekend!! Please contact me with any questions or pictures of your porjects,

***This post contains affiliate links that are offered at no expense to you***

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