About two years ago, I challenged myself to take on my first ever big wood project: garden decking. It’s these challenges that keep building my confidence to take things even further.
But as we have a whole house to renovate, I try to save money where I can on many jobs to stretch our cash further. And more wisely. This also meant not buying decking furniture on a whim. If I can wait, I’m more likely to find wise-cash opportunities.
And it paid off, because a couple of weekends ago, our neighbour sold us their swing chair and a table with two chairs for £40. They instantly transformed our decking, but it needed some TLC. So, to start off, I looked at replacing the torn and faded canopy, but couldn’t find my size, despite them being rather affordable from £26.
But since I still had the canopy as a template, I started practising some cuts and sewing around the scalloped edge using a scrap piece of ripstop fabric.
The inward corners were my only concern getting a binding to fit perfectly. It looked rather fiddly as it’s been almost a decade since I’ve made them on my patchwork quilt.
I also thought ripstop offered many great benefits: it’s waterproof, anti fray (so doesn’t technically need hemming), anti rip and lightweight and ordered it in plain green. However, when it arrived, it was far lighter than what I’d ever used. So, a heads up: go for a one thicker than 60gsm (grams a square metre). Personally, I’d pick 110gsm or higher.
With the lightweight in mind, I decided to trace around the old one on to the ripstop with tailor’s chalk. Then add half an inch hem allowance (if you’re confused, there’s a video below), cut it and folded it over up to my chalk mark and sew a basic hem.
Note, I eyeballed almost every aspect of this project because I didn’t think it was cost effective to spend all day making something that can be bought cheap. But, I do talk about where you can go for gold in my video.
Another quicker job I did was not copy all of the scallops, so turned them in to straight edges instead using my omnigrid board. Normally I’ll also use this along my rotary cutter and looking back, that would have been a quicker choice. But as most people won’t own one, I demonstrated using some sharp scissors instead.
So now I have the main body of the canopy, the next stage was to resuse the old canopy’s fittings by picking them all off. Again, this would have been just as quick cutting some from ripstop as it doesn’t fray, but waste not want not. And it was all roughly the same colour.
Now, don’t be put off by where exactly to sew the fittings as it did my fiance. It was easy as measuring the distance between each one (from the outer edges). I then measured the distance between my new fabric’s corners and because I’d copied it like for like, it was spot on.
That meant everything fitted perfectly. SCORE!
But for something a little off topic.
The day I was going to start this project was the same day I flicked though this month’s copy of upcycling magazine, Reloved and found my blog in it. I was interviewed back in February and to be honest, I thought they’d dropped me.
It’s very stylish and picture perfect, which is quite a contrast of my usual DIY projects. But was really lovely and coincidental that my last ripstop fabric project (an upcycled roller blind) was also featured.
I am truly thankful for the coverage and memorabilia about my home renovation journey and but also feels surreal. If you also need some updates in your home, I urge you to give a few things a go, no matter how small they may be initially. Each job, whether successful or not teaches me lessons to keep improving. And I’m almost always impressed when I see how far I’ve come with the before and afters.
Things I Used:
- Brother BC2100 Sewing Machine
- 2 metres bottle green ripstop fabric
- Size 80 sewing machine needle
- Black cotton thread (preferably slightly darker than your fabric)
- Dressmaking scissors or a rotary cutter and omnigrid board
- Glass head pins
- Tailors chalk
The Visual Learning Bit!
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