Shame on me for NOT getting around to taking a photo of the slipcovers I made by myself. I will post a photo after I repair them. I still hope to publish a slipcover tutorial because I learned by reading and watching other tutorials on the internet and I want to encourage you to do it, too.
One reason I chose white instead of gray was so that I could wash them with bleach if necessary. I was surprised that they were beginning to get very dingy (in spite of the winter season and the kids not playing outside much). Maybe it’s a clue as to how dirty our house is….blech!
I put the cushion covers into the washing machine on the soak setting. This machine is new to me (but used) because our fancy, schmancy Fisher and Paykel washing machine needed yet another motherboard and I wasn’t having any parts of that. I wasn’t aware that the soak cycle was manual and maybe it’s not supposed to be. Like I said, this machine is used.
The slipcover was soaking in bleach water over night. That ain’t good. I ran it through the spin cycle to drain the water. They were in pretty decent condition after that and I decided to just run them through a normal cycle. As you can see by the mangled, frayed, hot mess above, I should have taken a few precautions.
If you took the time to make your own slipcovers, you might want to follow these steps in order to minimize damage during the laundering process
#1 Zip your slipcovers closed
I’m pretty sure this one simple step would have minimized the fraying and protected the zippers. Instead, nearly every edge frayed into a tangled pile of string. The underside of one cushion completely came apart in the middle. Boo.
#2 If you’re planning to use bleach, minimize the soak time
Bleach is pretty potent stuff. It can be brutal on fabric, thread and seams. Have you ever accidentally spilled it on something? I have and it burns holes through fabric.
I know, I should have used a chemical-free, natural whitener. Honestly, I haven’t found any that work as well as diluted bleach. I know I’m weird, but the smell also makes me think it’s really clean.
#3 When you’re making your slipcovers, serge or bind the edges if possible.
I don’t have a serger (they kind of scare me) but I know you can protect edges manually by using a zig-zag stitch. This would have minimized the fraying and the piles of thread and fabric I ended up cutting off the covers.
#4 Use the gentle cycle
Again, I’m not sure this would have prevented fraying and tearing altogether but I think it would have helped. Had I zipped the covers first and washed them on the gentle cycle, I don’t think I would be forced to repair the covers.
So, I learned my lesson. Of all the slipcover tutorials and tips I’ve read, none has ever warned about the dark side of laundering them. I did read one post about PREWASHING the fabric to prevent shrinkage after the slipcover is made. I hope these tips will help you avoid the same mistakes I made and preserve your handmade slipcovers.
Although I wasn’t planning to sew this week, I’ll be getting the machine out to try to salvage the cushion covers until I can spend more time replacing some of the parts that lost too much.
Now for the book recommendation….
I’m currently reading a great actionable study of Philippian’s 4:8. “40 Days To a Joy-Filled Life” by Tommy Newberry is kind of the workbook to his first book called “The 4:8 Principle“. The first book explains and makes the case for taking Paul’s advice to set your mind on what is true, noble, praiseworthy and excellent. The companion book breaks it down and suggests daily “drills” to help you practice joy-producing thoughts.
I’m about half way through the book and it has helped me maintain peace and even joy in spite of some challenging circumstances. It’s definitely a book that I’ll refer to repeatedly but it’s been great to help me identify joy-reducing thoughts and practices during my days and replace them with joy-producing thoughts.
Newberry has worked as a life coach for years and has such a clear way of explaining and supporting his ideas scripturally, spiritually, practically and physiologically. Not only does he effectively convince the reader that joy is a choice regardless of your circumstances or environment, but he gives you a plan to experience joy as a habit by controlling your thought patterns.
I highly recommend both books and even got the teen version, “Think 4:8“, for one of my daughters. We plan to make our way through it together during lent.
On that note, I think these books are excellent devotionals for lent. You can start “40 Days” without having read the first book, but if you’re not convinced that joy is a choice, you might want to take the time to read “The 4:8 Principle” first.
Linking up to Elizabeth Foss’ blog. If you’re looking for inspiration for sewing or something to read, head on over there.
Also linking up here:
Go BE INSPIRED!
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