Category Archives: Sewing Tutorials


Dining Room Reveal-French Provincial Dining Set Makeover

3rd December 2015


Dining Room Reveal- French Provincial Dining Set Makeover

Finally the moment has arrived when I can finally reveal the french provincial dining table and six cane chairs that Mr. Wilson worked so hard to finish!   Since we are hosting Christmas dinner this year, I rushed to sew the skirts for the chairs and decided that for the sake of time, I would just reupholster the arm chairs in a gray linen fabric I found at Joannes.  I actually like the contrast of the gray fabric on the arm chairs, it makes the set a little unique and not so matchy-matchy. 


Here is a view of the back of the chair skirts I sewed from drop-cloths.  If you remember from this post, I used Miss Mustard seeds amazing tutorial on how to sew these little babies and I think it really dresses the chairs up!  


I used these drop cloths that I ordered from Amazon, which I bleached to give them a lighter look.  The chairs were sanded down and painted in Old White chalk paint by Annie Sloan.



I whitewashed the table top and painted the legs and base in Annie Sloan’s French Linen Chalk Paint, you can read about this transformation more in this post.


The following photos show how I set the table for Christmas, which is quickly approaching.  The little trees I found at the Target dollar bin section for $3 each.



The table runner and little gold candle holders are from Homegoods.


A simple and inexpensive Christmas centerpiece is a pretty bowl or tray filled with sparkly ornaments.  I received the glass bowl as a wedding gift and the large silver ball in the middle is from the Christmas Tree Shop.


This table is ready for a feast, now I just have to figure out what to cook!

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Affordable Living Room Design

18th November 2015


Today I wanted to share the progress that I have made with my living room re-design.  I was able stay on budget, by using items I already owned and completing a few DIY projects to save money. Nothing in this re-design cost me over $100 and the total cost was around $350.  At the end of this post, I will share each project and the cost breakdown per item.

Here is the mood board I created for the space.


Here are some photos of the finished space.



Here is the french country settee I painted and reupholstered, you can read that post here.


This is one of the cane chairs we reupholstered, which you can read about here and the boxwood topiary on the mantle was a DIY project I shared here.  When we purchased the home, we painted the dated fireplace bricks in “White Dove” by Benjamin Moore and had a carpenter build a custom-mantle surround.


Here is the $5 vintage bar cart we spruced up with a little gold spray paint and some accessories you can read about here.





Cost analysis:

  • Teal Bench-purchased from HomeGoods for $60
  • Jute Rug-Pottery Barn purchased off Craigslist for $75
  • Cane Chairs– Reupholstered ourselves- $40 for the chairs, plus $60 material
  • Wood Side Table-Antique-given to me by my parents
  • Botanical Prints– DIY project using Botanical art from this book that was $1.50 on Amazon and I framed them in frames I already had, spray painted this color.
  • Bar Cart– purchased for $5 from a yard sale, you can read about that DIY project here.
  • Wicker Coffee Table– Free from my generous in-laws
  • French Settee/Bench– $75 off of Craigslist, painted and reupholstered in this post.
  • Yellow Lumbar Pillow– $20 from HomeGoods
  • Matching Yellow and Teal Pillows– I purchased two yards of fabric from Ebay for $9.99 a yard and made the pillows myself using this amazing tutorial for beginner sewers.
  • Sofa– Ikea (no longer sold in stores) was moved from our den into the living room.
  • Fireplace Brass Andirons– Free- given to me as a gift from my in-laws, purchased at an Estate sale.

Other sources:

Paint Color– Manchester Tan from Benjamin Moore, Trim is White Dove from Benjamin Moore

Drapes– Purchased years ago from Pottery barn

Circular Mirrors– Given to me from my mother

Happy Decorating!!!



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French Provincial Cane Back Dining Chairs-Before

23rd October 2015


French Provincial Cane Back Dining Chairs-Before

With the holidays quickly approaching I was in the market for a new dining room set that would accommodate my family of five, plus our extended family. I had been searching Craigslist for a while now but came up empty-handed until I stumbled upon this set.  It included 6 cane back french provincial chairs, a french provincial dining table with 3 leaves and a hutch.  For a price of $250, I couldn’t pass it up. 


Mr. Wilson was once again pretty skeptical about this purchase, given the condition of the chairs and fabric.  You can see the nasty stains on the chair fabric in the picture above.  But I could see beyond the stains and the dirt…… I had visions of Miss Mustard Seeds beautiful cane-back dining chairs dancing in my head.  She has such amazing taste and has transformed many dining chairs with some paint and drop-cloths.  Yes, you heard me right…DROP-CLOTHS!!!


Image Curtesy of Miss Mustard Seed

Although my sewing skills have progressed, making slipcovers for 6 chairs will prove a challenge for me.  Thank goodness Miss Mustard Seed has an excellent tutorial on how to make dining chair slipcovers and it looks pretty straight-forward…haha, famous last words.  I plan on using this chair as my guinea pig and so far I have removed the seat cushion and lightly sanded it.  Next, it will get a coat of Annie Sloan’s Chalk Paint in “Old White,” a creamy off-white color.  Then I plan on getting started with the drop-cloth slipcovers.


Do you think I can pull it off?  I guess we will see!

You probably noticed I do not have a picture of the table and the hutch.  That is because the table was disassembled for transport to my house.  I will write a later post on the table. 


Reupholstering Cane Barrel Chairs-Phase 4 Tufting and Upholstering

18th September 2015

Cane Chair Reveal

Reupholstering Cane Barrel Chairs

Remember these cane barrel chairs that I scored on Craigslist for $40, they are finally finished….yeaaahhhh!!!  The process was labor intensive but fairly straightforward and I learned some valuable lessons about upholstery that I will share with you in this post, along with step by step instructions on how I did it.


If you missed phase 1phase 2, or phase 3 check them out to see how I got to this point in the process.  I purchased 3 yards of Dwell Studio Leda Peony Fabric in Aquatint which was enough to cover both of my chairs, however if you are using a different print, or this is your first attempt at upholstery, you may want to purchase extra just in case.

I would highly recommend this fabric because the print is very easy to work with and you can utilize every inch of fabric, unlike other prints with one large repeat that you need to center on your chair, wasting fabric in the process.  So lesson #1 make sure you evaluate the print first before purchasing the fabric, prints with large repeats or stripes can be more difficult to work with and you may need to purchase more fabric to cover your chair which equals $$$$.

Step 1: Reupholstering the Seat Cushion

If the foam on your seat cushion is in good condition, re-use it. Unfortunately the foam on my chairs was in pretty bad condition and unusable so I had to purchase new 2 inch foam and batting. 

Lesson # 2 pre-measure your seat cushion, so you exactly how much foam you will need cut at Joanne’s.  Foam is VERY expensive, so you only want to purchase EXACTLY how much you will need for your chair.

Using the old seat foam as a template, trace and cut out the new foam.


This foam was added on top of the seat frame along with a layer of low loft batting.


Using the previous fabric that you saved from this step as a template, cut out the fabric for your seat cushion.  Add a few extra inches to the outside of the template just to make sure you have enough fabric to pull and staple on the frame.  Lesson #3 press all of your fabric with an iron prior to stapling it to your chair.  I had to use steam to get out all the wrinkles in the fabric…take my word for it, DO NOT SKIP THIS STEP!


Center your fabric on top of you seat cushion and then turn it over, making sure that the fabric stays centered and straight before stapling it to the frame.  When stapling, you want to pull your fabric and batting tight, but not too tight, making sure to be consistent with your tension when pulling the fabric.   Lesson #3 turn over your cushion every few staples and make sure that you don’t have any ripples and the fabric looks smooth and neat.  


Pull and staple the fabric leaving the front corners unstapled for tucking.


When you get to the front corners of the seat, tuck the extra flap of the material that was left unstapled underneath the side piece of fabric, concealing it and creating a clean line on the front of the seat.  


Then create a neat fold/pleat out of the remaining material and pull it down and staple it under the chair.  This is called a “tailored pleat” and you can watch how to do it here.


After you are finished stapling all the fabric, trim off the excess fabric and batting.


2. Front of Chair- Button Tufting and Stapling

First you are going to recover the buttons you saved in this step in your new fabric (I used scraps of left-over fabric from the seat).  

Cut a circle a little larger than the diameter of the button.  Using a hot glue gun, apply glue directly onto the face of your button and stick the fabric on.  Then apply glue around the sides and bottom part of button (the side where the prongs attach) and working in small sections, secure your fabric around the sides and bottom part of button.  Make sure the fabric is tight to the button and is securely glued on. Trim the excess fabric.



buttons-covered-with fabric

Using your needle-nose pliers, make sure to clamp the prongs of the button back together to make it easier for re-inserting into the chair.


Cut out the fabric for the back panel of the chair using the template you saved.  Make sure to add a few extra inches of fabric to all sides for good measure.  Iron the fabric to smooth out any wrinkles.


I applied two layers of low-loft batting to the back of the chair and laid the fabric on top of the batting, making sure the fabric is even and centered (I don’t have a photo of this).

Reupholstering-cane-chair-button-tuftingThe tufting was sewn into the back of these chairs, so I used the natural indentations/tufts and previous holes as a guide for placing the new buttons.  Starting at the top of the chair (in rows) and working down, I used my fingers to feel where the holes were made in the back of the chair, and I inserted the button into that exact spot from the front.

Lesson #4 you may need to help the fabric along to achieve the nice folds that create the “diamond” pattern between the tufts.  This video may help to clarify what I mean.

Once all the buttons have been added and tufting is complete, you are going to staple the fabric to the chair frame.

The picture below, shows numbers which represents the order in which I stapled the fabric to the frame, I don’t know if this is the correct order, this is just the way I did it. The fabric on the top of the chair was stapled to the top back part of the frame.


Make sure you are stapling the fabric into the channels along the sides, where you removed the staples during the stripping process.  


Once all the fabric is secured to the frame, carefully trim off the excess fabric.  I pulled the extra fabric taunt, which made it easier to trim.


3. Back of Chair-Tacking Strip and Welt Cording

Once the fabric is stapled to the front of the chair, you are going to apply single welt cord to the top-back of the chair.  You can see how to make this by watching this video, I used my zipper foot for this which came with my sewing machine. Glue it to the top back of your chair using a hot glue gun.  Lesson #5 do not use too much hot glue, use a thin even line otherwise it may glob out and be visible on your fabric.


Cut your back panel of fabric using the template you saved when you stripped your chair.  This panel of fabric is going to be applied just under the single welt cording using tacking strip so that the staples are not visible.  You will do this by draping your back panel of fabric over the top -front of your chair with the wrong side facing up.


This part is confusing, but basically you are stapling the wrong side of the fabric under the tacking strip so that when the fabric is then flipped back over, the right side of the fabric will be hanging down the back and no staples will be visible.  The tacking strip should be stapled just under the welt cord.  This video may help if you are confused about this part.


Flip the fabric over so that it is hanging down the back side of your chair.  You can see how clean the line looks with the tacking strip!


Pull the fabric taunt and staple the fabric to the bottom underside of the chair, working your way around the sides of the chair.  Once fabric is secure, trim the excess fabric.


Make two long strips of double welt cord using the old double welt cord as a template to determine the length you need.  I purchased this double welt cord foot which made sewing a lot easier, just make sure that the foot you purchase will fit your sewing machine.   I followed this tutorial on how to make it.

If you can thread a sewing machine and you can sew a straight line, then you can sew welt cording it is really not that difficult so don’t be intimidated.  If I can do it, you can do it too!

Glue the welt cord along the side channels of the chair with a hot glue gun, making sure to work slow and steady, only applying just enough glue to secure the cording.


Lastly, re-attach the seat to the chair using the screws you saved and staple a new dust cover to the bottom of the chair frame to keep the dust bunnies out.

I am thrilled with the finished product!  Not bad for my second upholstery project…but I couldn’t have done it without the help of Mr. Wilson!






Let me know what you think!

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Reusable Party Favor Bag Tutorial

5th September 2015


Some of the fondest memories from my childhood are from great birthday parties that I was lucky enough to attend.  I specifically recall the time at the end of the party, just before all the kids were going to leave to go home, waiting in anticipation to see if the parents were going to hand out party favors or “goodie bags” as we called them.  I remember thinking the best goodie bags were LOADED to the BRIM with CANDY!

Most parents now-a-days are more health conscious and instead of loading the goodie bags up with candy, they are filled with small toys or functional items like craft supplies.  So why not make the bag itself functional and reusable?  I am a sucker for homemade gifts because you get to design them yourself and they are more special and unique than something you can buy off the shelf.IMG_3267


dig-goodie-bag-tutorial diy-party-favor-bags

Since this years birthday party was going to be at an apple orchard I decided to go with a red buffalo check fabric for the girls goodie bags and a apple green zig-zag fabric for the boys.  To make the bags more personalized, I decided to embroider each child’s first initial on the front of the bag. I purchased the fabric and embroidery supplies at Joanne Fabrics.  I found this great video tutorial from Brooklyn Bride which inspired me to create these bags.


-Fabric of you choice (I used 2 yards which made 13 bags)

-Ribbon or string for drawstring tie

-A sewing machine 

-Thread (coordinating with your fabric, I used plain white thread)

-Pinking Shears

-Cutting mat and ruler

-Rotary cutters or scissors

-Small embroidery hoop

-Embroidery needle

-Iron and ironing board

-Safety Pin


Decide on the length and width of your bags, taking into consideration what items you are going to place inside the bags.  I made sure my bags were long enough to fit a pencil and wide enough to fit a sheet of stickers.  I folded my fabric in half and cut (using my rotary cutter and cutting mat) a length of 11 1/2 inches and a width of 5 1/2 inches.  My cuts aren’t exactly perfectly straight but that is okay!


Open up the fabric so that it is one long piece and press using your iron, making sure to smooth out any wrinkles.  Then with wrong sides of fabric facing up, fold each end of your fabric (width wise) in 1/2 an inch and press flat with iron.favor-bag-making-casing

Then fold each side over again 1 inch (I used my clear sewing ruler to measure 1 inch) and press (you are creating two casings for your ribbon).


Sorry for the blurry photo, it was late at night and I was a little out of it.  I cannot emphasize enough how important pressing/ironing seams is when sewing, I have tried skipping this step and it makes for uneven sewing and a sloppy finished product.


Now with wrong side of fabric facing up, sew each casing closed. I used about an 1/8 inch seam allowance, sewing close to the edge of the casing so that there is plenty of room for your ribbon to slide through.


After sewing both casings, you are going to move on to embroidering your letters on the fabric. Please do not be intimidated by embroidery, you only need basic sewing skills to do this.  It is easier than it looks, trust me, I have no formal training in this and I can do it!  Figure out where you want to place the initial on your favor bag and lightly draw the letter on the right side of your fabric using a pencil.  


Then place your fabric into the embroidery hoop with the fabric pulled taught in the hoop.  You can adjust the tension of the hoop by twisting that doo-hicky on the top.IMG_3135

Thread your embroidery floss onto your needle and get started with outing the letter by inserting your needle from the back of the fabric/hoop to the front of the piece, bringing your needle up through the fabric at the end point of one of the lines.  


Then outline the letter, using long stitches and following the lines you drew with the pencil. To finish off,  tie your tales together at the back of the fabric to secure them. For the girls bags, I used a little fancier  but simple “backstitch” which you can learn by watching this video.

Once you are done with embroidering, it is time to sew your side seams together to form the sides of your bag. Place your fabric down on a table with right sides facing together and wrong sides facing out.  Make sure to line up the top of your fabric so all the seams are matching. You can use pins to make sure that your fabric stays lined up when you go to sew the side seams closed.


Sew side seams using a 1/4 inch seam allowance, making sure NOT to SEW along your casings—-they NEED to REMAIN OPEN for your ribbon to go through.  DO NOT SEW CASING CLOSED!! So stop stitching when you get to the casing.  After sewing the side seams, I used my pinking shears to trim the raw edges and make it a little neater on the inside of the bags.

Sew side seams

Turn your bag right sides facing out and press your seams to give your bag a clean, professional finish.


Measure out how much ribbon you are going to need to fill your casing, adding a few inches to the ends for tying a knot.


Insert your ribbon into the first casing and feed it through until you get to the end, then insert it into the second casing and work it through to the end.  


Once the ribbon is threaded through both casings, tie the tails/ends of ribbon together with a knot.  When you pull on the knot, it will close the opening of your bag.


These bags are actually a lot simpler to make than I thought and I have brainstormed lots of ideas how they could be reused:

Pencil/crayon bags

-A bag to hold match box cars or small trains

– A reusable snack bag

-A bag to hold barrettes and other hair accessories

– A travel bag for legos

So here is my reusable party favor bag tutorial, hope you enjoyed it!  Let me know if you have any questions.




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