Thursday, 22 March 2012

Tiki Sofa Cushions

So what exactly to do with my recent fabulous eBay win? Barkcloth Tiki Curtains. 

I knew all along that these curtains would end up on the sofa, I just needed to make sure they were actually too small for the window or I would have put them straight up there.

I love my red leather sofa but that's quite a lot of *red* in a small room so I like to ring the changes with throws and fabric. However there is nothing worse than a sofa throw that silently works its way into a pile on the floor - a crumpled mess that needs straightening and tucking in every five minutes. Aaarrrgh.

It drives the family mad too. 

I was determined to make my Tiki dancers into cushion covers that stayed put, trouble being there wasn't much fabric in each curtain and there was quite a bit of damage to along the edges. These might not last the summer, but what the heck..

The pattern of disintegration is interesting, it appears that only the red dye is unstable and holes appear where there is red in the design - mostly along the selvedge edges, so I surmise that it's probably sun damage with the curtains open and the sun catching the edges ... or colour selective moths.

Sunshine + this red dye = rotting? 

Any chemists out there able to throw some light on this? I'd be very interested. I reckon the fabric is probably 60yrs old at the most.

For the cushions I had a couple of choices: 

a: I could take the fabric to an upholsterer and ask for it to be used on the top surface only of a piped and zipped cushion cover in a complemetary fabric. 

b: I could try to do this myself. 

c: I could make a loose cover secured with elastic - like those in catalogues that fall out of colour supplement magazines.  

I chose the easier, cheaper option and chopped the old header tape off.

Squared each curtain up by adding a 7inch strip of canvas from the stash along one edge, then clipped the corners into curves in order to make hemming a pocket for the fat elastic easier.

I threaded elastic, slipped the cover over the sofa cushion and tied it off tight. 

Just fits!

There used to be a lovely small upholsterers just up the road from where I live, the guys there have covered a few things for me in the past - but sadly the shop has closed. Another small independent craft business goes under in the face of chicken shacks and phone shops on the High Street. 
Sad, he would have done a far more professional job.

Saturday, 17 March 2012

Upcycled Domino Jazz Brooch

All finished - my Domino Jazz brooches, Louis and Ella part of the Bakelite Jazz series. Upcycled from wooden beads, thrifted buttons, bakelite beads, brass fixings and plastic dominos.

I had hoped the dominoes were Bakelite, there were listed as such when I bought them - but you just *know* by the feel. Bakelite clunks, these dominoes didn't clunk. 
The ultimate test was drill into the domino and sniff ... the drilling and heat would release the tell tale formaldehyde type smell if it was bakelite.

It wasn't. These dominoes are an early plastic.

Still - I don't love these two any less because of it.

I have fond memories of the warm bakelite smell from when I was a kid - there were enough bakelite electrical plugs and and fixtures around the house. We played a fair amount of dominoes too and still do once a year at the annual family gathering in the log cabin in Derbyshire (I won the tournament this year)!

If I can gather more old dominoes I'd love to create a whole jazz orchestra, my earlier brooch here had a vintage silver trumpet charm which I really love. One of the nicest things about this project is sourcing all the bits and pieces.

My daughter is wearing Louis on her lapel in this last shot and you can see the Guinness necklace she made in honour of St Patrick's Day today. Slainte!

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