HAPPY NEW YEAR, guys!
A new decade is upon us.
I’ll admit that it didn’t really dawn on me that it’s a new decade as well as a new year until about a week before it actually arrived. December is always manic for us, and we just try to survive day by day until we make it to the holiday break 😂 But yeah, we got ourselves a whole new fresh decade to play with.
Social media is – of course – now filled with everyone’s new gym kit, meal replacement shakes, 5/2 diet plans. I used to be that person, but there’s gonna be no resolutions of that kind for me – instead, I’m making resolutions to look after myself a bit more. I’ll try and eat a few more vegetables. I’ll make an effort to do the stretches that the massage therapist tells me to do, which I never seem to make the time for. I’ve never really been into the whole ‘beauty’ thing (I don’t wear makeup and I’m a wash-and-moisturise morning routine kinda gal) but I seem to have considerably fewer wrinkles than the husbeast, so I’m trying to capitalise on that before it’s too late. I’ve bought a nice facial scrub to use, and tried out a charcoal/clay face mask the other day which is supposed to soak up all the excess oil in your pores. Well, let me tell ya – my mask looked like chip shop wrapping paper by the time I washed it off 😨 Gross. I bet that when I cycle to work, all the gunk off London’s roads collects in my face 😑 I’m determined to tackle the blackheads on my nose, and the hard skin on my feet. I think my feet are tough enough that I could walk across hot coals and not feel it, whereas the husbeast has feet like a newborn baby that hasn’t walked a day in their life. I don’t understand it. Must be genetic 🤷🏻♀️ (I’d rather have the hard skin than the wrinkles, though 😂)
I’ve seen a lot of those ‘my decade in review’ things on people’s Instagram stories which are totes interesting, but as I’ve not yet figured out how to use Stories (yep, really 😂) you’re gonna get mine in the best way I know how… written out 🤓
So – let’s roll on back ten years…
2010 Was the year after my mum passed away, and we moved halfway around the world from England to Borneo. Our dogs were born there and found their forever homes with us that year, too.
2011 We spent travelling in Asia. Good times. I also started my (second) accountancy qualification and got several exams completed while in Malaysia 🤓
2012 We moved back to the UK, dogs in tow. The doggos left 30-degree heat (which was all they’d known, forever) and arrived at Heathrow to snow. Much confusion on their part to this new British weather system. I went back into the job I was in before we left the country, but realised I’d changed as a person since I left and it wasn’t for me anymore. I left accountancy practice, which I’d worked in my entire working life, and went into industry as a management accountant. Passed all my exams and got my qualification this year, and went to NYC for the first time and fell in love with the city 🗽
2013 I discovered sewing! ‘Nuff said. ✂️
2014 I left my hometown for a job in London. The city called to me – the rural fields of Suffolk were no longer cutting it. Aaron remained in his job back home, while I lived in London Monday-Friday and came home at the weekends. It was tough. I started dying my hair bright colours again after I stopped for the job I took in 2012 🌈
2015 We found a rental house in London, and Aaron found a job in the city and once again we were back together 💜
2016 Got my tattoo sleeve!
2017 The first posts on the Wanderstitch blog went live! I’d been planning it behind the scenes for a couple of months, but nothing prepared me for the IMMENSE learning curve that would be maintaining a blog and doing the techy-stuff to keep it running and fix it when it went wrong. This was also the year that we started our Etsy shop 🛍
2018 Bad year. Suffered a head injury right at the start which pretty much wrote off the entire year, and most of the next one too. Happy to forget that year.
2019 For the first time ever, I find myself not working in finance. I’ve had a career change and now work in data protection and information security, and am quite looking forward to what’s to come. Also, I got the courage to get my first ever needle piercing and had my septum pierced. Though I did close my eyes from the second I sat down in the chair (I feel like if I saw the needle I might have bottled it) and I got a lollipop for my efforts 😂
Quite a decade, eh?
I’m moving into this new one with a much more solid idea of who I am, and less of a willingness to change and align with what people expect of someone ‘my age’ or with ‘my job’ or any other crap. Yes, I’m 35 and have just got my nose pierced. Yes, I have pink hair and a tattoo sleeve. Yes, I’m a qualified accountant. No, we don’t want children. I also don’t want to work full time for someone else, and I don’t want the promotion that comes with more money and a bucketload of stress, thanks. I’m happy that both of us have landed jobs in creative industries here in London that allow us to express who we truly are. I’m a wanderer, a dreamer, a creator, and always have been – but I’ve suppressed it in the past to conform to what people think a finance professional should be. No more. You take me for me, or you don’t. Simples 🤷🏻♀️
I feel like I’ve got my life priorities a bit more in order heading into the new year/decade, and that feels good… because at the start of the decade everything was a bit of a mess 😂
Just for the lols, here’s a little 2010 vs 2019 of me and the husbeast… I’m not sure we’ve aged well 😂 There’s definitely a few more forehead wrinkles going on 👀
(also it’s pretty depressing to see that blue skies have been replaced with grey 🤔)
To celebrate the start of this (hopefully) wonderful new decade I did some Home Improvements Of The Sewing Kind…
Take A Seat
Let me get this out the way and say I never thought I’d actually make cushion covers – I mean, who am I? Cushion covers are borrrrrrring 😨 But they can also be kinda necessary, I suppose.
For the last few years, we’ve had some beautiful magenta and gold cushion covers on our sofas. Then the dog discovered she liked to sit on them, and eventually, the fabric wore through (helped by her claws, as she tried to mould them to her liking before sitting on them) and they ended up in shreds. It didn’t help that the cushion inners were just slightlyyy too big for the covers as well, and they bulged in a bit of an ugly way.
Here’s what they looked like when I bought them, and at the end of their days:
Oh! The screenshot actually says I bought the covers in 2014. They lasted well. Yeah… I’m ashamed to say the cushions remained in this state for a fair few months before I decided to do something about them 😨 But I couldn’t decide on the fabric I wanted to use to make replacements.
Then one evening, an idea struck me 💡
You remember that outfit I made for a friend’s Indian wedding? Well, I had a fair chunk of fabric leftover from the skirt (I over-ordered because it was coming from India and I was on a deadline and I did NOT want running out of fabric to be a thing) and I realised that it would make a damn good fabric choice for the new cushions. Pretty similar to the ones I loved so much that the dog had trashed 😑
I roughly measured how much fabric I had left, bought some 18-inch cushion covers from good ol’ Amazon along with some pink and purple basic cotton fabrics from Minerva, and set to work.
When I was cutting up the silk, I then realised that I’d forgotten that one little thing called seam allowance and that I didn’t have enough fabric to cut the panels as planned at 19 x 19 inches side by side – because the fabric wasn’t wide enough. FFS. 🤬
So I cut the fabric in half and went with what I could… meaning that the seam allowance was a little scant, shall we say, on a few of the edges.
I layered the outer silk on top of a polycotton from Minerva (for a bit more thickness) and the backs were made from their slightly studier cotton poplin.
I went for the super easy flap back (is that what it’s called? I have no idea. Probably not. Probably called something way more eloquent than that) so that I didn’t have to faff with zips… and there’s no piping on these bad boys either. If I was going to make stuff for the home, it was going to be done quick sharp so that I could get back to sewing the fun stuff ASAP.
I made each ‘flap’ two-thirds of the height of the back – the front of the cushion was (almost) 18 inches square, so each flap is 12 inches tall and they overlap for six inches (it was a complaint of the husbeast that the last cushion covers we had only overlapped by an inch or so and the innards were exposed – probably more because the pads were too big for the covers, but 🤷🏻♀️).
I sewed a double-fold hem of 1cm on the mouth of each back piece.
I layered everything up – silk on top of polycotton (right side up) and then the back sections on top of the silk, right sides facing. Everything was pinned in place and then the whole thing was whizzed through the overlocker, which took about sixty seconds. (And it was even quicker because I couldn’t be bothered to change my overlocker threads, so the cushions got whatever was in there at the time. Hey, it’s on the inside, no one’s gonna know. Except for you lot, because I’ve just told you 😂)
Twenty minutes (not even, probably) and three cushions later, and I’m turning them right side out and marvelling at what a pretty cushion cover I’ve made in no time at all (and cursing myself for actually buying these previously when I could have actually attempted to make them myself 🤦🏻♀️) The pads were inserted, corners poked, back flaps flattened and they were placed on the sofa. And they looked pretty damn good.
Here’s a little before-and-after:
I’m still marvelling at the difference they make even now – and, most importantly (OBVS) – the dog approves.
She is, however, under strict instruction NOT to shred these beauties with her claws, or damage them in any way. Yeah, look at her – butter wouldn’t melt in her mouth. Bloody would, I tell ya 😑
Once I’d made the cushions, I was on a bit of a roll with the housey-stuff – the ironing board was next.
Now this one I’d actually prepped for a while back. I’d already chosen (and bought) my fabric – two metres of an Alexander Henry print that I found as a remnant on eBay. I’d also already bought the replacement fleece padding stuff that goes under the cover.
My current cover was Boring With A Capital B. Grey and white, with a bloody great rip in it that I’d tried to patch with interfacing (yes, really) and lots of holes all over it. Before you wonder what the hell I did to it, I use spray starch a lot for the things we sell on Etsy, which collects on the cover so it has to be washed fairly regularly. The washing exacerbates all the tiny little holes and thin patches where the cover has just worn through… until it ends up looking a mess. Like, a big hot mess.
Yep – I’d bodged a rip with fusible interfacing 😂 Twice.
Underneath wasn’t much prettier either:
The foam was shrunken, and burned, and generally looking pretty sorry for itself.
The plan was to salvage the tape from around the edge of the current cover, and attach this to the new one. I’d do away with the ugly grey ‘heat resistant’ pad at the top end because I never used it anyway – why you’d want to get into the habit of placing the iron hot side down on an ironing board escapes me, and it’s just asking for trouble. Since we got the dogs, I’m totes a nervous wreck about things that can cause catastrophe – irons, hair straighteners, candles, the oven – I worry about all of that lot when the dogs are home alone. More than what is considered a normal amount, I bet. So I for sure do not want to start putting the hot surface of the iron on things and getting into that habit.
(Plus that grey bit looks ugly and I didn’t want to cover up my pretty fabric with it 😂)
So I started out by removing the cover from the board. Eeeeeeeasy.
I then laid out my Alexander Henry fabric on my folding picnic-slash-cutting table (yep, really – £20 off Amazon and it’s the best £20 I’ve ever spent because it folds up and lives under the sofa when not in use) and literally cut around the cover. No measuring, no nothing – just me and the scissors. I’m actually kind of alarmed at how simple this whole process was, if I’m honest.
Once that was cut out, I proceeded to remove the edging tape, and then sew this round the new cover I just cut. As the stitching was going to be underneath the ironing board, I took the opportunity to use up some of the thread that’s sitting in my thread box which never gets used – so, brown for me (I don’t even remember which project I bought this thread for, or if I was given it or what 🤷🏻♀️)
Sure it looks ugly, but my finishing on the bottom corner is way better than the original and I’m taking that as a win 🤘🏻
The fresh padding was put on the board, and cut round (very roughly), and the cover put on top of that. All the string-tightening happened and the whole thing now looks 100% awesome! I’ve had this ironing board for about seven years (and that nasty grey cover, as well) and it now feels brand new – I can’t believe I waited this long to do such a simple refresh.
It’s cool, right? Recovering the board is not something that I’m gonna be doing like all the time – because although I’m sure that you can buy that white tape that goes around the edge, I’ll just keep reusing that same bit – but at least I know that it’s not too much drama to sew a new cover when then this one dies. Saying that, it would be good to have a second one that I could put on when this one goes into the wash (which, tbh it could do with now), but… meh. I dunno. Perhaps I also should have drawn a paper template for future use 🤔 Too late now.
Anyways, I was pretty chuffed that with just an afternoon’s work, I was able to dramatically improve some things that were looking particularly shabby – yay!
I hope you all had a great new year’s eve – we stayed at home (always do, because one of our doggos is super scared of the fireworks), and I was in bed by 10pm because I couldn’t keep my eyes open any longer.
I know, SO rock and roll 🤘🏻😂
Did you all manage to get some sewing done over the Christmas break? I hope so ✂️
Happy Sunday everyone ✌🏻
Oh! One last thing. Please settle a….disagreement between me and the husbeast 🤔 He thinks I’ve put the fabric on the ironing board upside down. His reasoning is that when the ironing board is folded and stored upright, the girls are upside down. He says the ‘top’ of the ironing board should, therefore, be the narrow end. I disagree. I put the fabric on what I thought was the right way up – my reasoning being that where you place the iron (ie, the widest end), is the top of the ironing board. And the way I’ve done it just looks visually *right* to me. But it seems that we disagree.
So – are you team right way up or team upside down? 🙃
On the blog next week – it’s fur coat weather! I’ve sewn a vintage fur coat pattern with a super cool lining 👀 Subscribe below to have it drop straight into your inbox 🙌🏻