The Benefits of Sewing

The Benefits of Sewing

Make sewing your New Years resolution, 

Whether you’re a creative type or not, sewing is a hobby you should add to your list. The simple act of sewing has proven health benefits that will enhance your wellbeing, amongst many other things:

The benefits to learning to sew

  • A Unique Look
  • Hand Eye Co-Ordination
  • Emotional Well Being
  • Social Life Improvement
  • Environmental Impact
  • Sewing Is Creative
  • Lifetime of Learning
  • Self Esteem
  • Learning
  • Creative mind
  • Clothes that actually fit
  • Time away from smart devices
  • Saves you money!

My Money Saving Idea: Today I am going to talk about how I transformed my old sofa and ensured it lasts another ten years

If you answer yes to 4 out of the 6 questions, it’s time you to do the same and started fabric shopping!

  1. Have you had your sofa for 20 years?
  2. Has your cat scratched the ends?
  3. Is your sofa fabric dated?
  4. Are you bored with the colour?
  5. You can’t afford a new one?
  6. Can you sew?

It’s a yes to all of the above for me.

One of the first things we buy when we get our first home is a sofa, but how long should they last, a life time?

Sofa purchase

I remember waiting 2 months after I ordered my sofas and when they arrived feeling really disappointed. The fabric looked totally different from the swatch I chose in the shop, all those weeks before. It was so beige and I couldn’t send it back. I was stuck with a beige sofa, really?

No to beige!

I have had the same sofa’s for 20 years now. I have changed the cushion covers 3 times in this time, the first with ready-made brown suede covers and fancy Heals cushion covers. Next, I covered the sofa with a bright patchwork throw and made cushions to match. Most recently I have gone for a very different colour pallet altogether.

It’s cheaper than buying new ones and or decorating the whole room.

Adding to your sewing skills.

It’s not just the fabric we need to think about, we have to consider the colours and which fastening is suitable and whether you actually have the skills.

Fastening: A lapped zip

Last year I mastered the lapped zip, and consequently taught zip classes at the Knitting and Stitching show. I now find them quick and easy to do, the finish is really professional too. I have created a resource, so you can master this yourself.

I made close to ten zip samples before I felt like I could teach the technique. I watched tutorials and read books and found the best way. It does involve a bit of hand sewing, but it makes it work really well every time.

Here is a worksheet for you to try at home.

Fabric

The best part of making your own clothes and interiors is the shopping. I bought a navy fur throw from Dunelm, this was my initial inspiration.

When ever I teach at the Knitting and stitching show I pick up some Liberty fabric from; the Sew box and Fabric Galore stands. Most recently I picked up 2 gorgeous corduroy prints; one with a leopard pattern and a bright blue and orange floral. I have had these in my stash since October and couldn’t decide what to make. Sometimes fabrics inspire my makes, some people decide on what to make, then shop for fabric. I see a fabric I like, I buy and decide later.

Colour

I am a little obsessed with the colour orange at the moment. I love Orla Kiely and have some of her orange stem fabric in my stash. I went to my local Furnishing fabric shop, the Curtain factory. They call themselves ‘wholesalers’, but the prices don’t match wholesale prices. They have a great range of fabrics, I found some lovely thick cotton, blue and orange velvet, a bold black flocked leopard print and abstract black flock fabric. So we have blue, black and orange, really eclectic, but trust me they all work so well together.

I also picked up an orange blanket from John Lewis and a black fur throw from Primark, both in the sale. So each sofa has a fur throw and a blanket to snuggle. My last cushions were made from cotton, they had no texture to them.It was important to me that this time I wanted to sofas to be more comfortable, cosy and warm.

Shape

I made a paper pattern from the original cushion cover. this makes cutting out quicker and more accurate. I allowed an extra 2cm on one end, to allow for the lapped zip. I added two notches to this side, so I could remember when adding the zip later. I like to cut out one day and make another. I had twelve cushion covers to make, a mission indeed. Cutting out took a while and was done over a number of days.

No one cushion is the same. I like how I can turn the cushions around for a completely different look. I put the; blue velvet with the orange stem, I used some black sequin fabric with the black flock, the navy velvet with the blue Liberty corduroy. The leopard print with some black leopard flock, the orange velvet with the abstract flock. All fabrics have really soft textures, making sitting surrounded by them so comfortable.

I couldn’t tell you how long it took to make them all, I made over about 3 days, any pocket of time I had, I would whisk up another cushion. My deadline was to finish before Christmas, as we were having lots of visitors. I overlooked all the squares first. I backed the corduroy fabrics with black cotton to make them extra sturdy. I backed the stem fabric with white calico too. I didn’t add any piping.

Something from nothing

I had some extra off-cuts, so managed to make an extra small cushion from these. I didn’t have enough to cut one back panel, just two small pieces, so this cushion had to have a back button opening. I had some large Liberty buttons in my stash, perfect for the job. Liberty fabric is so expensive, so I will always find a way to use every last piece. I have a box of Liberty scraps, kept for future patchwork.

My sofa has been transformed and will be here for another 5 years at least.

I really enjoy sewing and sewing benefits me in all the reasons I mentioned at the beginning of this blog. My favourites being; I keep learning, I am able to be creative, I have unique products and I save money.

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