As you may know from our "story" page, Walker Fabrics started out of our family pulling together after a terrible accident. We started from very humble beginnings, and the Lord has blessed our business and we are growing at rapid rates. We are adding products every month and constantly completing some of the best upholstery projects on the market.
Watch the video to learn how to use silk film to reduce the size of a cushion. Silk film will make the it much easier to stuff a cushion inside it's cover. In this video Susan is reducing a spring and foam cushion. Silk film can also be used over top of padding, cotton, dacron and foam to allow fabric to slide over the project without complication. This can be especially helpful on ottomans and bench seating.
Why Take the Old Fabric Off?
I have personally been upholstering furniture as my full time job for over 12 years at Walker Fabrics. I have literally re-covered thousands of furniture projects. So I can tell you from first hand experience that there is a first step which needs to be taken for every piece... TAKE OFF THE OLD FABRIC!
I am so adamant about this because everyday, I have customers come to me with furniture that they "had done years ago" and "have never been happy with." The first problem is always the same, some supposed upholsterer recovered the piece and did not take the old fabric off. If you want your piece to look professional, you will have to do it the professional way which means taking off all the old fabric.
Typically you can tell that something is wrong even before you start work on your piece. If it is obviously old and lumpy, or flat and sagging, there is a problem that must be addressed. That is the reason you need to get that fabric off.
Another reason that people don't want to take off old fabric is a fear that they might "mess something up". That is simply not true. Just take your time and be careful. The worst thing to happen is that you move some foam or cotton out of place and have to put it back.
So here are some tips to keep you on the right track.
1. Take lots of pictures. With the current technology in cell phones, this is easy. Take pictures from several angles. Get close ups of corners, seams, and so on, as well as plenty of pictures of the piece as a whole. You can't have too many pictures!
2. Work from the "bottom" up. What I mean by that is to start at the bottom of the piece and work your way to the top. For most pieces, this will mean flipping your piece over and taking the dust cover off first. Then progressively take each layer of fabric off.
3. Take pictures as you go. (Did we say this already??) This will help you when putting it back together.
4. Get the right tools. You'll need staple lifters, pliers, and angle pliers. Sure, you can get by with a screwdriver, just expect the job to take longer and expect a sore hand.
5. Take more pictures. if you haven't figured it out, taking pictures is important.
6. Save your old fabric. You can use it as a template to cut out your new fabric. Cutting your new fabric will have to wait for another blog post, but trust me, this step can be very helpful later.
7. Throw away sharp hardware pieces. You will see cardboard strip, tackstrips, curve ease, decorative tacks and panel nails. Throw them all away. You can not re-use them, and they are inexpensive enough to replace. Hop on Walker Fabrics supplies page and order new hardware, you'll be glad you did.
8. Spend some time cleaning up the wood. Pull all the old staples and tacks out. Use some wood filler on really beat up areas. This is also a good time to repair or refinish any exposed wood like legs or rails. It could be as simple as using some scratch repair, or completely refinishing the wood, it is still best to do it when the fabric is off.
So whatever piece you are upholsterying, don't miss this first step. Take off the old fabric. Your finished product will look more professional if you do it the professional way and don't skip this step. Its a few more hours of work, your upholstery work should last for years.
Decorative upholstery nail heads are a simple and easy way to dress up your upholstery project. Add them as a finishing touch to your brand new project, or use them to give a fresh look to one of your old favorites. The results are always classy. There are literally thousands of different styles, colors and sizes of upholstery nail heads. Walker Fabrics carries the full line of D.A.D's upholstery nail heads.
Here is what you need:
Nail heads of your choice (enough to do your project)
Nylon Tip Hammer
Something to add your nail heads to.
There really is no "right or wrong" when it comes to choosing a size and style of nail head, it really is about personal taste. My recommendation is to go with the one that grabs your interest. I am always being asked, "which one is right for this piece" and the answer is "the one that you like the most." The use of nail heads is completely decorative. So if you like big ones, or the tiny ones, or the pyramids, or the playing cards, or the chrome finish... the choice is yours.
The nail spacer is a really nice tool to utilize. On one side is a spacing tool to help ensure equal distance between nail heads, and the other end is designed to hold just one nail in place for tighter spots. The nail spacer also holds up the nails so you can easily start them into your project. Simply slide the nail heads into the slots along the spacer, align on your project, and start hammering. Once the nails are started, remove the spacer and finish hammering in the decorative upholstery nails.
The nylon tip hammer really is a must. The nylon tip of the hammer is there to protect the nails from being scuffed. The small diameter of the hammer head also makes it easier to hammer without damaging adjacent nail heads. The upholsterers hammer is balanced and weighted appropriately and therefore the perfect tool for the job. My dad always taught me that if I wanted a professional looking job, then I needed to use professional tools and materials.
What is the difference between Railroad and Standard position fabrics
Have you ever spoken with someone in a profession who seems to be talking over your head on purpose? Many times I feel this way when talking to the mechanic. I don't know where my ball joints are... much less what can go wrong with them. For all I know they could have arthritis.
In every profession there are terms that the general public wouldn't have a clue what the professional was talking about. Today we will tackle one of those issues in the upholstery world. The terms I want to deal with are "railroad" and "standard" position. I want to explain what they mean technically, and explain what they mean for your project.
Lets speak technically for a moment. The term "standard" means that the up position of your fabric is correct from the cut edge toward the roll. Imagine a fabric with a definite picture in the print, like our very own Mandarin Pewter. The little people are facing "up" toward the roll.
Railroad means that the pattern is "up" when you turn the roll sideways. Think about a fancy fabric like Onyx Stripe. Here the stripe are up and down when you turn the fabric roll up on its ends. So from the selvage edge to the other selvage edge is "up"
See the example below for more clarification.
Example of Standard position fabric and Railroad fabric
What exactly does this mean for you though? I mean who really cares? Well it means two things. One, consider the length and width of your project. Let's say you wanted a fabric with little people on it for your drapes, but it was printed in the railroad position. If you ran the fabric up the length of the window, the little people would all look like they were lying down.
Or let's think about a long couch. If you had a standard position fabric, you would have to seam the fabric together to make it wide enough to cover the long pieces, like the back. This can cost you extra fabric, and could change the look of your project. If you chose a fabric with a railroaded print you might be able to purchase a smaller length.
Railroad and standard position make a difference in how much fabric you will need for your project and the over all ascetic when you are done. Remember, we are always happy to help you choose the perfect pattern for your project!
Just how much fabric do you need? This is the question that any person who is seriously considering an upholstery project will inevitably face. There is a simple answer which is to use an upholstery chart, or to email a great company like WalkerFabrics.com and ask. Considering that we actually work with the fabrics we sell, and love sharing our expertise, we can usually estimate pretty close. However there is only so much that one can do via a picture, and there are so many variables that it is good to know how to figure out how much fabric you need for yourself.
So, the long and short of this article is this, take out a piece of paper and literally draw out each piece on paper as if it was your entire role of fabric. I will expand upon this thought, and give you some examples, but the biggest step you can take is just draw out each piece. Your drawing doesn't need to be “to scale.” Just a sloppy doodle with plenty of measurement notes will do just fine. This can keep you from making a costly mistake of ordering too much or too little fabric.
so lets start by considering which direction the fabric runs. Standard position, or UTR (up the role) is the pattern running “up toward the roll.” Fabrics which patterns up position is from edge to edge is known as “railroad.” Think of it like this, standard is best for something long and thin, like a drape, railroad would be better for something extra wide, like a large sofa, where you would not want to put seems in the long pieces like the outside back.
In this article we will measure for a fabric running standard. We will use the wing back chair from the picture above as an example. Use the same process for anything you might be trying to cover. I like to measure in the same order which I will cut and assemble. This takes a little prior knowledge, but keeps me from forgetting which pieces I have measured. As long as you measure and draw every single piece, than the order doesn't matter. However measuring in the upholstering order makes the most sense.
1. Measure the apron
2. Measure the seat deck
1. Start along the front under the cushion. This piece is known as the apron. You will see the seam near the front, that marks the apron. 2. From that same seam toward the back of the chair is the decking. Measure each piece from front to back and from side to side and then draw them on your paper, making notes of their size. This does not need to be to scale, but it is a needed step, so you can see what pieces will work side by side.
3. Measure the inside arms
Next... the arms. In our example we have a sock fit arm. So we measure the rounded front inserts, from top to bottom, and from left to right and we draw that on our paper. We then do the same thing with the larger arm piece, again front to back and top to bottom.
4. inside back and wings
Now measure for the inside wings and the inside back. The same process. Measure up and down as well as left to right and draw those pieces on to your paper. Be sure to make notes of the measurements. It does not need to be perfect, but a reference to what can be cut from where.
5. Measure the outside arms, wings and back
We Now move to the outside of the chair. This will start with the outside wings, and then the outside arms. Measure from top to bottom and then from left to right for both these pieces, and draw them. Depending on the size of each piece, you might be able to fit two pieces side by side, but if two pieces wont go side to side, then just move up to the next place on your paper. This will represent how you have to cut. Once you have measured for the outside wings and arms, you will need to measure for the outside back following the same process.
Your almost there. You still need to measure for the cushion. Measure from front to back and from left to right. Do this for the top and the bottom. Then measure the boxing, and the zipper boxing.
Lastly measure the welt cording. This means anywhere you see cord, measure how long it is. Now take that number and divide it by the width of your fabric roll. Most rolls are about 54” so we will use that for our example. Lets say you measure 540” of welt cording. So divide 540” by 54”. 540/54=10. This means you need 10 strips for cording. Thus you will need 10 2” strips the full width of the fabric, or 20” of fabric. So draw that on your picture as well.
Now that you have all your pieces drawn out, add up the length and then divide this number by 36. Lets assume you measure 360” of fabric, so you will divide that by 36. 360/36 = 10. So you need 10 yards of fabric to complete your chair.
I hope this helps you consider how much fabric you will need for your next project.
Do you want to host the perfect dinner party this year? You know the type where every one dresses nice, and the house is festive for the occasion. You wear the cowl neck sweater you treated yourself to on Black Friday, and that bracelet your husband bought for your anniversary. Instrumental music is softly playing in the background and the house is permeated with an aroma of fresh cooked food so that when your guests arrive their first instinct is to raise their noses just slightly to take it in.
As your guests make their way through the foyer and into the dining area, your table will need to be just as perfect.This is the place for custom created place mats. Though you may be able to find mass manufactured place mats that actually match your décor, they are expensive and the store never seems to have the number of place mats you need. It's kinda like folding socks straight out of the dryer, you'll always be missing one.
This is where Walker Fabrics comes in. We have lovely fabrics for every occasion and decor; more importantly we can match your personal style. Below you will find simple, detailed directions to create place mats you can be proud of. If you'd prefer, we at Walker Fabrics would be happy to create what you envision.
1 - Cut out 13"x19" rectangles
Lets start with what you will need. You are going to need enough fabric for your place mats. Typical place mats are about 12” x 18”. So for every yard of fabric you purchase you could potentially make 8 place mats. That is assuming of course that you don't need to match a pattern. You will need to mark out and cut eight rectangles 13”x 19”.
2 - Cut to shape
Now you can begin to play with shape. A rectangle is always nice.
You could simply cut 2” off of every corner.
You could also round off the short sides to make an oval. lastly you might try to cut out a 13” circle.
3 - Take care of the raw edges
Now if you have a serger sewing machine, and you are a perfectionist like myself, then you could serge around the edge of place mat. A serge stitch is a special type of “zig zag” stitch that goes along the edge of a fabric so that when it is hemmed it does not fray out. Flip up the edge of your shirt sleeve and you will see a serge stitch in the hem. Once you have serged the edge, fold it over 1” and iron it down all the way around. Now you are ready for hemming.
If you do not have a serger machine, never fear. You have two options, one is to double fold the edges for the hem. First, fold in the edge ½” all the way around. I would recommend you iron it down. Next, fold the edge over ½” again, iron it again, and now the raw edge that could fray is down inside the folds where you will stitch.
Your last option could be to leave the edge raw and use a no fray adhesive along the edge. This might come in an aerosol can or look like clear glue. Use the no fray according to the directions all along the raw edge. Once you have applied the no-fray, you can fold over the edge 1” all the way around and iron it in place.
4 - Hem up the edge of the place mats
Once you have dealt with the raw edges, you are ready to put the place mat in the machine and hem the edge. Use a simple straight stitch, all the way around about 3/8” away from the edge. Use a large stitch to keep your fabric from gathering up in the machine. I also recommend using a heavy duty thread, this will protect your place mats as they are repeatedly cleaned.
If you do not have a sewing machine, you can still make your own place mats. At your local hobby store you should be able find iron on stitching. Usually you just put this fusion tape under the edge to be hemmed, and iron it in place.
5- Add personal touches
For an added touch, have you can have your initial monogrammed onto the mat. Depending on the size letter you choose, this can be very reasonable to have done and as seen from the pictures, this will make your place mats uniquely yours. You might also try using some trim like a tiny welt cord around the edge or maybe a tassel on a corner. Walker Fabrics can provide you with there embellishments.
6 - Set your table
Now that you have your mats made, it is time to set the table. It really is not as complicated as it may seem. The first rule is not to place any utensils out that aren't being used. In other words, no salad...no salad fork.
Set your plate in the center of your place mat, with spoon and knife on the right and forks on the left. Cups should go toward the upper right side and saucer plates should be placed on the upper left.
You are not done just yet. You need to do something that makes your table uniquely yours. Try decorating the table with items suitable to the occasion. In the photo we have used Christmas tree ornaments and candy canes as a part of the decoration. You could even try putting several round ornaments in a flower vase and using it for the center piece. Add some candles in the center and you are ready for a dinner part to remember.
Got some ideas of your own? Leave them in the comments below. We'd love to hear from you.
The above video will show you how to make your own Christmas Stocking. You will need a 1 yard of Fabric, scissors, paper for a template, 1 yard of trim, and a sewing machine. This project is perfect is easy and can be done in about an hour. Its a great way to get in the Christmas spirit too.
Want us to make a stocking for you? We can do that.
1. Dining Chairs
Dining chair seats can be one of the simplest upholstery projects. Most of the time they are all “pull and staple” projects, with no sewing required. Not to mention that dining chair seats don't take much fabric at all. One yard is usually more than enough to cover two chairs. So if you have six dining seats to cover, you should only need three yards of fabric. You can even make up a little welt cording and staple it around the bottom to give your chairs a professional touch.
Watch our video about covering dining chairs if you are a little unsure.
2. Table Cloth
Table cloths are as straight forward as can be. Take a piece of fabric large enough to cover your table, and with as much drape as you would like down the sides, hem over the edge to keep it from fraying. If you have a table that is not a square or a rectangle, then just lay the fabric over the table, trace out the edge with chalk, add some extra for drape, and then hem the edge. For example, lets say that you have a circular table that is 3' across. Trace out your three foot circle on the fabric, then add a foot all the way around for drape. Now you have a 4' circle. Cut it out and hem the edges and there you have it, a transformed table ready for holiday gatherings.
3. Table Runner
Table runners, unlike table cloths which are usually made of solid, light colored fabrics, are where you can let the colors flow. It would be perfectly appropriate to use bright red, rich green or gold for a 1' wide table runner. To create one, cut a piece of fabric about 14” wide and the length of your table, plus a foot or so on each end for drape. For example, if you have a 6' table, you'll cut 14”x 96”. Hem over the edges half an inch and lay it down the middle of your table. Add a few candles and you are set to go. Remember, table runners and place mats are frequently paired with a lovely table cloth beneath.
4. Place Mats
Why stop with a table cloth and runner when you could frame your place settings with custom place mats. Just to give you an idea, typical place mats are 12”x 18”. You can cut 13” x 19” rectangles and hem over the edges and there you have it. Place them one inch from the edge of the table and you are ready to seat your guests. As an added touch of elegance, print each guest's name on card stock, cut them out and prearrange the seating. Check out this article about place mats for more ideas.
5. Throw Pillows
A great way to get the sitting room ready for the big game, or your favorite Christmas movie, is with some new throw pillows. Novelty fabrics are great, but why not use something with a little more class as well. Try rich tones of silver, gold or deep shades of red. Instead of contrasting red and green, why not try different shades of red all in the same room. Making throw pillows is simple, simple, simple. First, cut two pieces of fabric the size and shape that you want your pillow. Lay them face to face and sew around the edge, making sure to leave an opening big enough to get your hand inside. Turn the cover right side out, stuff in your pillow insert, and sew up the opening.
6. Hearth Cushion
We all could use a little extra seating with so many guest, so let's use what you have. If you have a fire place try making a cushion for the hearth. This is a great way to invite guest to sit down at the fireplace. A word of warning here, if you are using your fireplace this is not a good idea. We don't want to create any fire hazards. But assuming you are not burning a fire that day, or that you have a gas fireplace that doesn't release any dangerous embers, a cushion on the hearth says to your guests that they are welcome to “sit here.”
7. Window Cushion
If you have a window that allows, try making a new cushion for it. Everyone loves sitting in front of the window, especially when the weather's right. Nothing says holidays like the snow slowly falling outside the big picture window with a warm cup of hot chocolate in your hands. But who can enjoy the best spot in the house if they have to sit on hard wood? If you can't make a cushion for yourself, call us at Walker Fabrics.com and we can make custom window seat cushions out of any of our fabrics. We can even cut the foam insert if you don't have one. This is also a wonderful place for some fluffy throw cushions, they are great for snuggling in!
8. Christmas Tree Skirt
Why can't a Christmas tree skirt look as nice as the rest of your home. For a few weeks, before any presents are placed under the tree it certainly is going to be seen. Not to mention, who really wants to have a flat round Christmas tree skirt? Here is an idea for you...cut your fabric into a large rectangle and hem the edges. Then lay it around the base of the tree bundling the fabric up into layered piles. Your tree will look lavish and luxurious rather than flat and bare.