Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Introducing Ethel and Drop Cloth Chair Re-upholstery (Deployment Project #76)

Let me introduce you to my newest family member… Ethel.


After my new (less than one year old) very expensive embroidery/sewing machine broke down for the third time in year that I have had it.  I knew something had to change.  That was 2 months ago and my machine is still in the shop getting fixed - - actually, it got sent back to the factory, but is STILL not fixed.  After talking with a representative from my sewing machine company, I found out that I was actually killing my machine with all the re-upholstery stuff I was doing on it.  Going  through up to 10 layers of thick fabric actually broke the feed dog spring on my machine - - not a common piece to break!  He suggested that I find an old 1950’s Singer machine and use that for my re-upholstery projects.IMG_4998

I found Ethel on Craigslist a few weeks back.  She’s simple, but she is a workhorse!  She will plow through anything and just keep right on going - - no little annoying beeps or error messages.  IMG_4995

There is something enduring about her.  IMG_4996

Her simplicity. 


Her history.


As I’m using her, I wonder about her past.  Who used to own her?  What did they make with her?  Has some mother sat at her and made dresses for her little girl?  Has a grandmother sat at her and made a quilt for a newborn baby?  Has a mother and daughter worked at it together to make a wedding gown?IMG_5000

Let me just throw in here that if you are only doing one re-upholstery project, or even two, you have nothing to fear - - you are not going to break your machine.  I do one to two re-upholstery projects a week - - that much pounding on a machine is just too much!!

So, let me show you the first project that Ethel has completed.


This is the chair I was telling you about yesterday.   This chair is going in a little boys’ room.  My friend wanted a vintage look that would be durable for two toddlers!!  She also did not want to spend a lot of money on the fabric for the chair.  I ended up using drop cloths to re-upholster it.


I had never used drop cloths, but of course I have read about them everywhere on blog world.   I decided to try it out.   I would say that all in all, it was easy to work with - - maybe a bit more difficult to work with than a heavier weight upholstery fabric - - but for a loose, informal look I think it is fantastic.  I did wash the drop cloth before I used it - -they stink something fierce straight out of the package!!


This chair has quite the history.  My friend bought it when they were stationed in Germany.  Brought it to DC when they moved here,  and now, I’m re-upholstering it before they move back to Germany! IMG_4992

Look at the before fabric - - ugh!  Time for a make-over!


When I got the fabric off, I realized that this chair had been re-upholstered once.  There was still some of the original fabric on the chair.  It was originally upholstered in a chartreuse green silk.  I can only imagine that with all her fun curves and details, she was one fancy lady!!



Infarrantly Creative said...

Hi sweet Ethel...welcome to the world again. Be ready to work. No sitting still sister. Amy will beat you into submission. Great job on your first project dear one. Good luck living with her ;-)

GigiElle said...

Ethel is gorgeous! It's great that the old girl can show the newer machines a thing or two! I have a Bessie at home, but she is not nearly as storied as Ethel must be, though perhaps she will be many (many) years from now.

Sew Shabby Sweet said...

Awww! Look at her in all her steel and metal finery. She's one tough cookie from a bygone era. :D My grandmother's name was Ethel and she was a tough cookie as well. Have fun with your new partner!

Kristi H. said...

Woohoo! You finally got the real workhorse you've been wanting for so long! Do not be misled by her curvy figure and metal finery; Ethel looks like she's one serious girl. That's great for you, though. That means she's dependable and is down to business--your business!

I got your email the other day and it just made me smile! I will call or email back by this weekend. :)

Autumn said...

Ethel is one fine lady!!
Miss you friend!

Dreams of Perfection said...

I finally took my machine out of the box that it came in and had been sitting around in since Christmas. I wish I could be more brave in tackling the machine :o( You are def. inspiration to do so. I love the chair you recovered along with the pillow. You give your pieces so much new life.

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