Slip cover chronicles interrupted by surgery.

Wednesday, a glorious day.  I put aside my sewing to garden.  The forecast for the next several days – rain.   I would finish the slip covers by the weekend.

It was not to be.  Because of a cancellation, surgery that was scheduled in July could be done tomorrow.  This was so much better than having my summer interrupted by a long recovery period.

The grand dame sofa sits partly draped.  She is going to be late to the ball.  The slip cover chronicles will continue shortly.



The magic started with a huge roll of fabric carried down Toronto’s Queen Street West by The Good Husband.



Yards and yards of beautiful white cotton fabric.

There is magic when you take fabric, add a slash of scissors, a mile of thread, and a sewing machine.

Alchemy of a different kind.

I like the idea that I’m a sorceress.

I wave my magic yard stick.

Mutter incantations – one hundred three inches piping, inside back, front apron.

Much stirring of the pot and presto…



A flat piece of white fabric turns into a chic outfit for my grand dame of a sofa.

I smooth the fabric across the back, tuck in around the arms.  It is going to be so elegant.

Two red square hassocks are talking to each other.

They don’t want to be left out.

Alright I say.  You’re next.  I am going to turn you into bold blocks of white.

May the magic never end.



This elegant sofa is getting a fresh, crisp, new look.  Slip covers made especially for this grand dame of a sofa.

Day two I  made the piping for the slip covers.  I than measured and cut out rectangles of fabric for the various parts of the sofa.

Day three and the “fitting the cover” begins.   Any project goes better with music.  The Gipsy Kings and Guitar Music for Small Rooms is perfect.    Step one, the inside back is centered allowing lots of tuck in.

I cut the excess fabric  away from the back.

Now the seat and apron is added.

The inside arm is trimmed to fit.

The outside arm comes next.  It’s trimmed to fit.  Hmmm.  This is starting to look like a  slip cover.

This fit of the front arm piece has to be perfect.  I’ve made a pattern to be sure that both arms are precisely the same.

The front arms are pinned and trimmed.  Now comes the tricky part.  I will pin and mark all the seam lines with vanishing ink pen,  and mark the matching points for the seams.  Because I didn’t have to match a fabric design I was able to work with the wrong side of the fabric.  I will trim the seams to 5/8 in (l.5 cm), leaving a 2 1/2 in (6 cm) seam allowances at the back of the sofa for zipper openings.  Now all that remains is to sew the pieces together.

The slip cover chronicles continue…..


One of my best coups at our local thrift shop was buying this elegant sofa.  It is a graceful.  It is comfortable.  It was custom-built, and it is  covered with fabric featuring birds and roses.  Anything with birds and I am besotted.   I fell in love  with it, faded fabric, rips, tears, and all.

I have already given it as much first aid as I could.  The tops of the sofa cushions were completely worn out.  I took the pillows apart, use the bottoms of the cushions to replace the tops  and a plain fabric underneath (where you couldn’t see it).  I salvaged pieces of fabric from the pillows and patched the most worn spots on the arms.   That was several years ago.  Now this grand dame of a sofa needed a fresh, new look.  I loved the original fabric so much I was reluctant to upholster it until I could find something similar.  Classic white slip covers were the answer.


There’s a fabulous looking living room in the Diane Keaton, Jack Nicholson movie Something’s Gotta Give.  It has a couple of white slip covered sofas.  I had already slip covered a love seat so I was half way there.   I found the fabric in Toronto at the Designer Discount place on Queen Street West.  I bought the entire roll of fabric, enough to cover any number of pieces of furniture.  These dreary rainy winter days seemed a good time to start this project.

Embarking on a project like this is a big commitment. I virtually take over half the house.  The dining room table is required to handle the large quantities of fabric.  In fact the living room and dining room will become my workshop until the slip covers are finished.  The fabric has been washed to preshrink it.    Step one (after measuring the sofa and  sketching out the pieces to be cut) is to make the piping  I want the slip cover to fit snugly .  This is not the sofa for shabby chic.  Piping gives the slip covers a finished look and reinforces the seams.

Day One of the Slip Covers Chronicles.  I have over thirty meters of fabric ready to be formed into piping.  I always make the piping first so all the components are good to go.


I can’t resist gilding the lily.   When my friend Dellis gifted me with some delicate white napkins I knew exactly what I could do with them.    I would take them out of the ordinary with French graphics.

The fine white linen took the design beautifully.  The  French graphics came from THE GRAPHICS FAIRY.  It is so easy to do.  You simply download your graphics and make a copy.  Then you  take this design and copy it  (one for each napkin) with a toner copier.  CitraSolve lifts the design off the paper and on to your fabric.  Detailed information  for this creative process is on THE GRAPHICS FAIRY’s  DIY blog.

Ooh-la- la a half a dozen luncheon napkins with delightful graphics.

To complete the luncheon set I chose a different design and centered it on this tray cloth.   I have found this process works best on very smooth finely woven cotton.    It’s a great way dress up plain linen, and it takes just minutes to do.

This black ribbon looked very Chanel like.  The perfect accent for my new French linens.


It seems to many of us that as time goes by we start forgetting things.  Some say it is because we are getting older.  I don’t agree.  I think it is because we have more things to remember.Important things like the paint formula for the living room.  Or how many  pounds in a stone (14).

There are those sad souls who think once you past sixty years, or in my case seventy, you should forget birthdays.  Absolutely not.   They should be celebrated and in the best way possible.

I made this card for my dear friend Biscuit, after the following phone call.

“What day does your birthday fall on?” I asked.

“I don’t remember”, she replied.

“Never mind”, I said.

“We’ll have champagne”, was her answer

So I created a card with these two naughty and forgetful ladies planning a champagne birthday party.  They aren’t concerned about the day.  Any day with champagne is a celebration.

(I found this charming graphic for this birthday card on The Graphic Fairy.  A little water color paint, a splash of gold glitter, and a couple of feathers  and  a birthday card is created)


Make your own gift tags and slow Christmas down.  You’ve wrapped your presents beautifully.  Now add gift tags you make yourself.

Most gift tags barely have room to write To and From.  Make your own tags and you can write poetry,  leave clues to contents,  or just have creative fun.

All you need is a scissors, white glue, a bit of glitter, and old Christmas cards.  Old magazines have a wealth of illustrations.  Just cut and glue away.  Check out the hobby section of your Dollar Store.  You’ll find stamps, stickers, dozens of things you can fix to your tags.  You will be limited only by your imagination.

Check out Staples.  A box of large tags is around $6 for 100 .  You can use them for place cards at your Christmas table.  To adorn birthday presents.    To label contents of baskets and drawers.  The sky is the limit.

It is better to have a slow Christmas.

To savour the moments.

To take time to enjoy your day.

To see life with “the beautiful eye”.


I have this on going love affair with France and Paris.  Linens, pillow covers and other fabrics with vintage French graphics are rather pricy.     I stamped these fabrics myself.  It’s not difficult as long as you follow the instructions carefully.

I downloaded the graphics from THE GRAPHIC FAIRY, but you could use any black and white graphic.   THE GRAPHIC FAIRY has the instructions .  For these “grain sack” tea towels I cut up and sewed  vintage cotton sheets that had been languishing for years in my linen cupboard.

These elegant hand towels were made from a damask tablecloth that was terribly worn and unusable.    I cut out the least worn parts  (leaving in a few spots that had been hand-mended for a vintage effect), and sewed them into guest towels.    All these towels can take a lot of laundering without losing the graphics.

If you don’t have vintage cotton or linen sheets stored in your cupboard you can purchase  100% cotton fabric with a tight weave.  The process won’t work on coarse fabric, heavy canvas  or burlap.

Wouldn’t these tea towels, of fabric made into pillow covers, make wonderful and very personal Christmas Gifts.


Here my very tall candlesticks with their original finish.  Really darling, aren’t they a little too brassy.

Here’s what you need.  Soft Gray primer, a couple of craft acrylic paints in lighter shades of gray and one in a darker gray than the primer.

I painted the candlesticks with the gray primer.  The gray I used was Ben. Moore Gullwing Grey.    When it was dry I brushed the two lighter shades of acrylic  craft paint here and there on the candlesticks.  I immediately rubbed the finish with ah of old tee-shirt .  Don’t worry about rubbing too much paint off, you can always repaint.  When you rub the lighter acrylic paint you remove the brush strokes and create the aged look.  To finish I took the darker grey acrylic craft paint and gently brushed the tips and edges of the design.  Voila !  Finished Darling!



My twenty year old wicker furniture was looking sad and sorry.   It needed a quick fix.   This is how I did it.

The chairs were in pretty good nick but the finish had worn away.  First aid in the form of several cans of Krylon spray primer (indoor-outdoor) was needed.

I made a spray booth from a large cardboard box.  You need to protect from over spray.    I sprayed in the garage with the doors open.  Choose a calm, warm day.  WEAR A MASK.  The trick to using spray paint is several  light coats.  Let it dry well as the wicker soaks up the paint.  I didn’t use anything other than the primer spray.    If the chairs need refreshing next season all it will take is another can  of spray paint.  It took four cans to spray two chairs and a small wicker table.  To protect my wicker furniture I don’t leave it out-doors in inclement weather.

To complete the French look I covered the cushions and pillow with out-door fabric I found at my very favorite fabric store DESIGNER FABRICS, 1360 Queen Street West in Toronto.  Ooh la la!