2014_April-lumbar-pillow

Do you have a chair that’s so deep it’s uncomfortable to sit in? Or maybe you’re looking for that missing piece to finish off your bedroom? A lumbar pillow might just be your solution! Lumbar pillows can be really functional or purely decorative.  You can place one on the back of a chair or sofa for added lower back support or you can set one decoratively across your bed for a variation in pillow shapes.  No matter how you choose to use your lumbar pillow, the process for making one is the same.

As part of our DIY Porch Makeover, we made lumbar pillows for both function and style. We brought in a new set of wicker patio chairs with pretty deep seats. We knew we wanted throw pillows on them to tie in some of the deep blue tones in the porch’s rug, so we decided to make lumbar pillows that would also add to the comfort of the chairs.

To make these pillows (and all the pillows on our porch) outdoor friendly, we used outdoor fabric and sewed them with polyester outdoor thread. For the lumbar pillows we chose a simple, solid blue fabric. We wanted our pillows to fit perfectly on our chairs, so we also chose to make our own pillow forms, but you can always use a pre-made pillow form, too.

 

Materials Needed:

You can find all the materials needed to make your own lumbar pillows at www.sailrite.com.

Want to make even more outdoor pillows? Check out our other pillows tutorials and learn how to make a pillow with a zipper, a neckroll pillow, and an envelope throw pillow.

What did you think of this project? Are you going to add lumbar pillows to your patio set? Share your ideas and opinions with us in the comments.

Have you ever wondered what was inside your sewing machine? If you were to take the casing off, you would find an intricate set up of shafts, gears and mechanics that all work together to make your sewing machine run. Today, we’re going to take an up-close look at the part of the sewing machine where all the magic happens, the needle and bobbin assemblies, to see how stitches are formed.

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View of the needle on the downstroke. Shown without thread or bobbin.

Creating a Lock Stitch

To understand how a stitch is made we’re going to take a look directly under the needle plate. Beneath the sewing machine’s needle is a bobbin, which is a small spool of thread. The bobbin sits in a shuttle that moves with the rhythm of the machine.

When you engage your sewing machine, the needle is pushed down through the fabric. Once the needle reaches its deepest level, it begins its ascent back through the fabric. As the needle begins to pull up, the friction of the needle against the fabric and thread forces the thread out one side of the needle creating a loop. The needle has a groove on one side, which allows the thread to slip without friction. Since the thread can slip on that side of the needle only one loop is created, on the opposite side of the groove. At this exact moment, a hook on the bobbin shuttle catches the loop of thread and interlocks it with the thread feeding off the bobbin. The two threads then interlock around the fabric pieces to create a lock stitch.

Some sewing machines, like the Sailrite Ultrafeed LS-1 & LSZ-1, have a walking presser foot. This walking foot mechanism helps to ensure that proper stitches are created. The walking foot is timed with the machine to help pull the fabric into position for needle puncture on the downstroke and to hold it in place through the upstroke. By holding the fabric in place as the needle rises the walking foot helps to ensure that a proper loop is created under the fabric.

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Thread loop being hooked by the bobbin shuttle. Shown without bobbin thread.

When Timing Goes Bad

This process requires exact timing within the machine’s movement to successfully create a stitch. When the timing in your sewing machine goes awry, it results in dropped stitches or other problems. If the hook reaches the loop too early or too late a stitch is not created. Similarly, as the needle rises, if the fabric is not secure against the machine it will rise with the needle and a loop won’t be formed.

If you experience dropped stitches with your sewing machine and you suspect timing issues, check your machine’s guidebook for more information. The Sailrite Ultrafeed Guidebook contains detailed troubleshooting solutions including how to reset your machine’s timing.

To learn more about Sailrite Sewing Machines, how they work, and all of their great features, visit www.sailrite.com.

2014_April-porch-swing

Ah, a porch swing. Isn’t it so relaxing to sit and rock on a porch swing? Our porch that we decorated for the DIY Porch Makeover already had a great wicker swing installed but the cushion on it was drab and had seen better days. For our third project in our porch makeover series, we’re going to recover the cushion on the swing and show you how to make a classic box cushion.

Box cushions are a great sewing skill to learn because they are so versatile. You can use a box cushion for a swing like this, a chair, a bench, or even as a stadium cushion. Once you know the principles for making a box cushion you can adapt those skills to make a project of any size!

For our project we re-covered an old cushion so we chose to re-use the existing foam. If you’re starting from scratch and you need foam, we recommend using Polyfil Nu-Foam or Polyurethane foam wrapped in batting. To see how to pattern new foam, you can refer to our How to Make Cockpit Cushions video.

We chose a striped P/Kaufmann Outdoor fabric for our swing cushion. Stripes are great for a box cushion because they provide a built-in guideline for how to line up the panels when sewing. If you’re using a solid or irregular pattern fabric, don’t worry; instructions are given in the video on making match-up marks to keep your plates evenly aligned when sewing.

In this video you will learn how to pattern the fabric, make piping, create a zipper plaque and assemble the cushion.

 

Materials List:

All of the materials needed to make your own box cushion are available at www.sailrite.com.

Don’t miss a post in our DIY Porch Makeover Series! We still have two more great projects to share. If you haven’t already, subscribe to the blog by entering your email address under Email Subscription in the right-hand column and click “Sign me Up!”

What did you think of this project? Any other porch swing fans out there? Share your thoughts and ideas with us in the comments!

2014_February_jim-boat-finished-cushion-2

If you spend a lot of time on your boat, either during the season or year round, you want your boat’s cabin to feel like home. A small way to soften the look of your cabin’s salon is to add a tablecloth to the main table. We designed a tablecloth that looks sleek and is functional even when underway. Today, we’re going to show you how to make your own tablecloth for your boat, with a bonus quick tutorial for making placemats that are perfect for use on your boat or even your patio.

This boat tablecloth is a little different from a traditional tablecloth that would be used inside a home. We wanted our tablecloth to not slide around as the boat moves, so we made it to fit snug to the table and wrapped its edges over the table’s sides. We chose to use a Naugahyde Universal fabric so the tacky texture of the vinyl will help keep items on the tabletop in place better when underway.

Our table on the Islander37 is mounted to the bulkhead with hinges, so we accommodated for that in our design. If your table is free on all four sides, create the fourth side in the same manner as the 3 shown in the video.

For the placemats, we used a Sunbrella Sling fabric, but Phifertex Plus Mesh would work just as well. These simple no-sew placemats can be made just by cutting out a shape from the mesh and running a hotknife along the edges to seal them.

 

Materials List:

All of the materials needed to make your own boat cabin tablecloth are available at www.sailrite.com.

Would you use a tablecloth in your boat? Tell us what you think of this project in the comments!

 

2014_April-Porch-1

There’s something special about outdoor drapes. I just love how they can take your backyard and make it feel more like a tropical spa. Drapes around a porch or pergola provide privacy and make a space feel more finished. In our second project from the DIY Porch Makeover, we’re going to show you how to make your own outdoor drapery panels.

When it comes to selecting fabric for your outdoor draperies, it’s all about the look you’re going for. We chose a Sunbrella Sheer fabric to give a soft ethereal look. If you want heavier curtains for privacy, Sunbrella Upholstery fabric would be a good choice or if you want something to make a bright statement, try P/Kaufmann Outdoor. Whatever fabric you choose, just make sure that it is meant for use outdoors so your curtains can handle the weather.

Instead of using a traditional curtain rod, we opted to use something a little sturdier for the outdoors—stainless steel tubing. The tubing we used is actually marine tubing hardware. Since it was made for a marine environment it will be durable in all kinds of weather conditions and it gives finished product a really nice look. We attached the tubing directly to the wood trim on our porch with mounting bases. This tubing would also work great for curtains around a pergola.

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To attach our curtains, we used rings with clips, which are easy to install and make the curtains easy to remove for the winter months. If your curtains will be up year round, you could also install curtain grommets in the fabric and hang the curtains that way.

In this video, you will learn how to measure for outdoor curtains, seam and hem the panels, install the rods, and install the curtains.

 

Materials List:

You can find all the materials needed to complete this project at www.sailrite.com.

Do you love outdoor drapes? Where would you add some around your home? Share your ideas and opinions in the comments!

2014_April_makeover

With spring on its way in, it’s the perfect time to start thinking about the outdoor spaces around your home. “Outdoor living space” has become something of a buzzword lately, but for good reason. Porches and patios are becoming much more than just extra spaces; they are now truly being integrated as outdoor rooms that are an extension of the home. If you’d like to turn your porch or patio into a stylish outdoor living space, you can! It’s easy to do-it-yourself with just a few simple fabric DIY projects.

Fabrics can really warm up a space and make it feel cozier. To demonstrate how easy it is to turn a bland porch into an inviting outdoor room, the Sailrite Team completely made over a porch using DIY projects that you can do at home.

Over the next month on the blog, we’ll feature five projects in detail with how-to videos to show you how to re-create this stylish look in your own home.

To get started, check out this video that shows the stunning patio before and after. Also included in the video are great planning tips to help you select fabrics and get a vision for your space.

 

DIY Porch Makeover Projects:

If you haven’t already, be sure to subscribe to the blog so you don’t miss a project! Enter your email address under Email Subscription in the right-hand column and click “Sign Me Up!”

Be sure to visit www.sailrite.com and browse all of our great outdoor fabrics to start planning your own outdoor makeover.

What do you think of our porch transformation? Which projects are you excited to try? Share your thoughts and ideas in the comments!

2014_March-wall-hangingAdding art to your exterior walls around your patio can make your outdoor living space feel more like a room and bring in a pop of color. A great, affordable way to create large-scale outdoor art is to make it yourself! By using outdoor friendly materials, you can make a great piece of outdoor wall art that will stand up to the elements. In this post, we’re going to show you how to make your own outdoor fabric wall art.

We made our outdoor fabric wall art as a piece of a larger DIY Porch Makeover. The porch we were working on is covered, which was a good location for art like this. Still, we wanted our art to be extra sturdy for the outdoors, so we chose to use small wooden doors as the base for the art. We covered the boards in an outdoor fabric from P/Kaufmann Outdoor. You could use any outdoor fabric you choose.

The techniques we used to make our outdoor fabric wall art can also be used indoors with a few modifications. For indoor fabric art, use something lighter for the base, like an old canvas or canvas stretching frames. You are not limited to outdoor fabrics for indoor art, so let your creativity flow.

These outdoor wall hangings are a simple, no-sew project for your outdoor living space. In this video, you will learn how to determine the canvas size based on your space, measure and cut the fabric, staple the fabric in place, and hang the finished art.

 

Materials List:

Find the perfect fabric for your outdoor fabric wall art project at www.sailrite.com.

Have you ever made fabric wall art? How did it turn out? Share your thoughts and ideas in the comments!

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