The Making of a Slipcover: A Lost ArtWritten by Robin Hall
Today in this world of fast everything, most of us just don't have time (nor patience) to do an all consuming job of making a slipcover. We go buy them and not always are they what we want. They are generic in most cases and just don't work on furniture right or look professional. If you can find time and feel creative, you can produce a masterpiece for an old (or new) piece of furniture that needs a change to correspond with a new room update. The slipcover will produce a sense of confirmation and beauty for "you", person doing work. A job well done is always good for growing self- confidence and character!
I owned a very busy tailor shop and I was use to "custom fitting" my clients and worked slipcovers same way. When one was finished, it was hard to tell if piece had been re-upholstered or slip covered. What a great feeling it was to see finished piece!
So with that said, I have a few techniques for you to use that will make this lost art of slipcover making a bit easier.
Start with a simple furniture piece. A good example would be an ottoman, simple dining chair or a toaster! Look at piece, see where natural lines are? That is where seams will be for slipcover. Scratch out a picture of your furniture piece, this will help as you take measurements for pieces. Measure width and length, add an extra 1¼" to width and length for seams. Write each piece size down on drawing to reference from. Make sure you have your closure type figured out. You will need to add extra material for overlapping if using velcro or ties and zippers. Where will your closures be? Do you even need one on this slip cover? All of this needs to be calculated into original diagram of furniture piece. We will tailor fit these pieces to furniture INSIDE OUT. You will end up with all your slipcover pieces being odd sized squares or rectangles, etc. This is easier for quick marking and cutting instead of attempting to cut exact shape of each piece. There will be some extra material in certain areas (which you will cut away) but it gives you room for making a few mistakes! Remember, art of slip covers and upholstery is very forgiving!
If you are using denim or heavy cotton or anything that does not have to be dry-cleaned for your slipcover, I suggest you preshrink material. You can wash and dry it later many times without shrinkage (a great option if you have small children and newer furniture). Choose a solid color. Sheets or curtains (even older ones found at Goodwill if you're on a budget) can work for making slipcovers and you may find them on sale to make cost less. Cording can be covered and added into prominent seams of slipcover if you want to add some detail. Most of your material to cover cording with will come from leftover inches at sides going along length. They will be long pieces sewn together on a mitered seam. Cording material width is 1 ¼". Cutting everything with pinking scissors will eliminate (to a certain degree) having to serge or finish edge of raveling fabric.
You will "railroad" your slipcover measurements by marking them (and eventually cutting), going length wise on fabric and then side by side across width of fabric. If you have an exceptionally wide piece you will "railroad" it going length of material instead of across, thus avoiding seams. Visualize how sizes will lay out on fabric, using drawings here will be very helpful. Example: If you use 60" width material, you will get at least 3 dining chair slipcover backs across, if they are 16" – 18" wide. They could run 36" – 48" in length down material. Then you will need to figure inside back, seat, and sides or skirting (remember, if you are doing 2 or more of same, times each piece by number you are doing). Depending on how much turn up you want for hem will depend on how much extra you add on side or skirting measurement. Figure out how much material you will need by calculating length of longest slipcover pieces, adding them together and divide by 36" for yardage. Make sure to utilize most from your fabric. There are cheat sheets at some material stores that give basic yardage for upholstering & slip covering furniture , see if you can find one, their priceless!
Beautiful Lighting Tips 101 - A Crash Course in Lighting DesignWritten by Brian Starr
Many people cannot immediately identify why they may like or dislike a particular room or interior. Proper lighting and illumination is single most critical factor in designing a pleasing interior environment. A successful lighting design is pleasing to eye, focuses attention on key room features and eliminates shadows and "hot spots". There are several lighting applications that can be used to meet specific lighting needs or to achieve a desired special effect.
GENERAL or AMBIENT LIGHTING refers to an even overall level of light provided to make a room or space comfortable and safe for its intended use. Recessed lighting is very popular as a general lighting source. Recessed lighting may be in form of 3" to 8" diameter "can" type fixtures consisting of a "trim" and a "housing.” Recessed "trims" are visible portion of recessed light fixture and are available in hundreds of styles and colors to control spread of light, reflect light and/or match a particular decor or theme. The "housing" is actual enclosure that is installed into attic and connected to power system. Different housings are available for new construction and remodel construction where attic access is difficult. Where recessed lighting may be in contact with building insulation, an "IC" rated housing is required to prevent a potential fire hazard. In may office environments, general lighting is provided in form of luminous fluorescent ceiling panels.
TASK LIGHTING typically refers to higher level of light provided on work areas such as kitchen islands, countertops and desks. Additional light is directed to these areas using recessed, track or pendant fixtures. Concealed under-cabinet lighting is also frequently used by lighting designers to provide task illumination without seeing source (fixture). Fixtures with either low or line-voltage halogen or xenon bulbs provide a whiter, warmer light than fluorescent under-cabinet lighting. 5 watt xenon or halogen lamps spaced 6 inches apart are suitable for most task lighting purposes where fixture is within 24" of work surface. Whether recessed, track or under-cabinet style, low voltage halogen or xenon lighting fixtures are smaller than line voltage lighting but require a transformer to change voltage from 120 volt to 12 volt. The transformer is included inside many low voltage fixtures but is also sometimes separate depending on particular fixture and style.
ACCENT LIGHTING. To be effective, accent lighting should be approximately four times level of ambient (background) light in an area. Focusing light on an "accented object" or "area" draws attention to a picture, vase or other focal point. Here again. Halogen lighting type fixtures provide a whiter, brighter appearance than standard incandescent or fluorescent type fixtures. The selected fixture should be directional, either a swivel or gimbal type fixture to aim light exactly where it is needed. Adjustable surface mount fixtures, track fixtures and even recessed style fixtures are available with "aimability" in mind. For a dramatic museum-type effect, some fixtures can include a focusing lens for pinpoint accuracy. The "Lighting Illumination" PDF attached to this file is a good guide for estimating illumination or brightness of various bulb types and wattages.