Saturday, January 24, 2015


Here in Coronado we have high rise buildings just to the south of the Hotel Del, called the Shores.

Part of my job was to make new covers for the sofa throw pillows.  

I came very close to making the pillows and the new seat cushions with the wrong side of the fabric.  Luckily, I was out walking and ran into the designer on this job and asked, in passing, if the blue side of the fabric was the right side.  She said, no, the black side.  That could have been a disaster had I not asked! The funny thing is either side would have worked.

The 'new' bar stools.

This job was more of an upholstery job, and even though I am NOT an upholsterer, they turned out really well.

The 4 chairs around the glass-top table.

From the back

The renovation is still in progress, but the new pillows and cushions have gone along way to make the condo look fresher and more up-to-date.  Of course, the view of the Pacific Ocean never gets old!

Friday, January 16, 2015


I delivered these large, very large, cushions to my client's home in Rancho Santa Fe the day before Thanksgiving.  We were having temperatures in the eighties at that time, so they needed to be done so my client and her family could take advantage of the gorgeous weather.

When I say they were large, I'm talking the two side cushions were 94" long!  It's not so much that making cushion covers that long is the problem.  No, it's more that when you have batting wrapped foam that long, it gets unruly, to say the least.

My client chose a brown Sunbrella to more or less blend in with the brown wood of the trellis that covers the seating area.  We used a light aqua for contrast welting and throw pillows to mimic the color of the pool water.

I apologize that the pictures are not better.  I was shooting in the middle of the day, with not a cloud in the sky and bright sunshine.  The shadows were quite challenging.

A close-up of the welting and throw pillow in aqua Sunbrella.

Friday, January 9, 2015


I never make anything for myself.  That is partly because I don't pay myself to make things for me, but mostly it's because I sew most every day, for most of the day.  So when I don't have to work, I simply cannot sew.  I was sick at the end of 2014/ beginning of 2015 and decided that I was going to make myself a present.

I got this adorable hot pink polka dot fabric at Home Fabrics for just $8 per yard.  I washed it to pre-shrink it so that I can just throw it in the washing machine when it gets dirty.  

I have had this Parsons chair for, well, ever, and had never taken the time to make a slipcover for it.  Since it is upholstered in white duck cloth, it has gotten really grubby.  I got tired of looking at it and decided to, finally, do something about it.

The slipcover has a button-back, though it is really difficult to see.  The buttons are solid pink.

Now, when I walk into my sewing room/office each morning and throughout the day,  I am greeted with a bright, pretty new gift to myself.  
And I deserved it!

Friday, January 2, 2015


This slipcover was a hurry-up-and-get-it-finished-before-Christmas job.  The fabric is from Lee Jofa and the pattern is Jacobean Tree.

I made it from the existing slipcover, which style was exactly what my client wanted.  Besides, the day I went to measure and cut, my client was talking to me and I could not concentrate, so I chose to take apart the current one to use as the pattern.

Whoever made the one I took apart did not do it like I do...that is, I cut half and flip it over since it is a mirror image.  This one, not so much.  I had to cut it exactly as the taken apart pieces were so it would go back together properly.

My client insisted I take this shot as it shows the other two pieces I've done in the room, the white denim chair and ottoman in the center and the light blue denim chair at the top of the picture.

I got a little nervous that the slipcover might not fit even though I was using the slipcover I took off, so I pinned the entire thing together and took it over to make sure.  It seemed to fit fine, but the original slipcover had just a 1/2" turned up hem and the new one looked like it might be just a tad short.  The solution was to add a 2" ruffle at the bottom, which, in the end, was the icing on the cake, so to speak.

My client loved it!  She kept saying it looked it should be in an English cottage with a low-beamed ceiling.  I was also very happy with how it turned out.

Wednesday, December 31, 2014


May the coming year bring you Health, Happiness and Prosperity!
(Photo by Laura Petersen in London, England.)

Saturday, December 20, 2014


More pillows for the master bedroom...

The same fabric as the balloon shades was used on these Euro squares.  Because the fabric is not an even pattern, there is no way to center the stripe so that it is a mirror image.

But they can be turned so that either the black stripe is in the center as in the previous shot, or the white/silver is.

The double flanged pillows in the front add color to the room.

In the wider view of the bed, the roman shade is visible.  Both of these fabrics are Designers Guild.

Saturday, December 13, 2014


The job with Cara Clancy continues...

These boxed pillows turned out great, but as with most everything else on this particular job, they were a big, fat pain to make.

What made them difficult was the pleated linen welting.  The linen was much too heavy to pleat.  As always, though, I did it anyway.

I like to tell myself that I get the jobs I do because I CAN to them, even when they are not simple or easy.  (Sounds good and makes me feel better.)

This is the guest room.

And in the guest bathroom, a roman shade made of the same fabric.  It is always a challenge to photograph shades when it is really sunny outside.  And since I do not normally deliver items at night, I frequently run into this problem.  This is sunny Southern California, after all!

The shade pulled up.

Friday, December 5, 2014


The client to whom this chair belongs was my very first client in Coronado way back in 2002.  She likes her slipcovers VERY fitted, and requested a zipper instead of the usual buttons-down-the-back.

This fabric proved to be a bit of a challenge because of the pattern, which had to be matched everywhere.  Also, she had bought all Calico Corners had, and, really, I thought it probably wasn't going to be enough.  Luckily, I was able to railroad the fabric, which meant I could make the entire slipcover out of it without having to use another for the welting and/or deck.

The zipper is on the other side, but I did such a good job that my client didn't realize I had put one in.

The skirt has gathered corners.

I was especially happy with how it turned out, given that the wings made it that much harder to make sure it all matched.  My client was happy, too, and that's what really counts!

Friday, November 28, 2014


I received a call from a woman telling me that she picked up my card a few years ago at the Farmers Market in La Jolla.  Odd, I thought, as I haven't done that market since about 2003.  As it turned out, she had gotten my card at least 11 years ago and had held onto it all this time.  Cool!

She told me she had purchased a set of flannel sheets that she wanted a tablecloth and napkins out of. Okay, not my strangest job, but up there on that list.

Once I got the sheets, I washed them.  She wanted everything a certain size and had I made the tablecloth and napkins to her specifications, when she finally did wash them they would have shrunk and probably not evenly.  Anyway, once it was all pre-shrunk I then cut out the 12 napkins and the over-sized tablecloth.  It was fairly easy to work with because of the plaid.

After I delivered it to her, I asked that she take pictures of her table once it was all set.  I did think about it briefly once yesterday, but thought she probably forgot.  Today I received these pictures.  So, thank you, Pam.  I am happy that I was able to contribute to a happy Thanksgiving for you and your guests!

Friday, November 21, 2014


This is the same chair I did back in the spring for the home of the designer on this job.  At the time she had me make a permanent pattern because this is a chair she likes to use in all the homes she does.  It is super big, but then again, the homes she works on are super big.  Perfect fit!

The fabric, a heavy linen, is photographing as aqua, but it is really a much more teal green than it looks here.

Since the house is still in the process of being finished, it looks very empty.

The back of the chair, with large buttons, since the size I usually use would have needed about 20, and would have looked ridiculous.  And because the chair is very rounded, the buttons are actually needed to make the slipcover fit properly.

A couple weeks later I was back at the house delivering other items, and took these shots.  By then, pictures had been hung and accessories added so it was looking more like a lived-in home.

The window treatment fabric has yet to arrive, but once it does, there will be balloon valances on the windows that look into the courtyard of the house. The fabric is another gorgeous Designers Guild stripe like nothing I have ever seen.  I look forward to making them and posting the finished room.

Friday, November 14, 2014


When I first started my business back in 1992, then called Design Options, I only was doing window treatments, bedding and pillows.  People kept asking for slipcovers, though, so I decided I'd better learn how to make them.  I bought all the books and read up on everyone else's opinions of the best ways to make slipcovers.  Still, the only real way for me to learn how to do something is to actually do it.  The problem was that at the time I had no furniture that I could practice on.  My sofa was a futon and I had director's chairs for my dining room table.  I had no upholstered pieces.  So I went to Betty's Resale Shop (this was in Chicago) and bought a chair for $12.  It was a small chair and not exactly what I wanted, but the price was right.

In an attempt to make the chair look more like what I wanted it to be size-wise, I bought batting and covered the entire chair with it, several times, until it was puffier.  Then I kind of upholstered it with duck cloth because you can't really put a slipcover directly on batting and expect the batting to stay in place.  I didn't do too bad a job, but because I had no clue what I was really doing, nor how to do it, I sewed the arm fronts by hand, which meant the chair couldn't be used without a slipcover.  No big deal since that was what I wanted in the first place.  Anyway, at the time I was working at Loomcraft and I had always loved this fabric.  With my employee discount, it was probably $5/yard.  By the time I made this, though, I had already 'learned' how to make slipcovers on a client's benches, sofas and chairs.  Talk about being thrown in the deep end and having to sink or swim!  I learned very quickly how to swim, and have been 'swimming' ever since.  I no longer have this chair, but I still love the slipcover!

Saturday, November 8, 2014


This pillow, actually there were 2, took me the entire day to make.

  Let me say right now that I cannot really draw, but I figured since an anchor is mostly straight lines, I should be able to do it successfully.  I did tell my client that if I thought it looked dorky, she would be getting solid black pillows.  So, first I had to draw an anchor big enough to fit on a 26" pillow.  Next step was to cut it out of the paper and trace it on fusible interfacing.  Then I had to iron the interfacing to the white Sunbrella; then cut those out; then do a satin stitch around the whole thing.  After all that, I then zigzagged the anchor to the fabric, and sewed the welting on, put the zipper in and finished the pillows.  Literally, the entire day to do this, and I only made $50 per pillow.  Still, I was quite happy with how they turned out, as was my client.  Next time, if there is a next time, I will charge accordingly.

Friday, October 31, 2014


Another gorgeous fabric from Designers Guild Limited.  This one is called Caviglia, color Noir.

This is the master bedroom of a renovation I have been working on with Cara Clancy here on Coronado.  This is the second time I've made balloon shades with this exact fabric.  The first time was for Cara's own home.

The larger shade is 72" wide, the smaller is 36".  All are lined with blackout, which make them exceptionally heavy.  I originally wanted to split the larger shade, but Cara wanted no light leakage that would have occurred because it is one large pane of glass.  I have to admit, she was right.

This is to the right of the corner window, beside the bed.

The french door got a flat-stitched roman shade.  And the window in the hallway leading into the master bedroom also got a big balloon shade.

The roman shade half closed so you can see the fabric better.  As beautiful as these fabrics are, they are quite challenging to work with as the repeat is huge and not necessarily even.  There is no centering of one stripe with a mirror image on either side.  Still, it all looks lovely in the room.  And, as always, the most important thing is the client is happy!