It All Started at Ikea: Part 2

A few months after Kiki’s custom hacked Ikea Kura Bed was done, the complaints began — despite her delight in the beginning.  She didn’t like climbing the ladder.  She didn’t like sleeping on the bottom.  Yada yada yada.  You can imagine my dismay.  How could this be???

Um, no, you cannot have another bed.  Don’t even think about it.  Not after everything I went through to create the thing — and let’s not even talk about the expense after buying the bed, the fabric, the ill fated Drummel tool and all those emergency distress calls to the handyman.

Here’s a little reminder of what we’re talking about . . .

Ikea Kura Bed Hack, Heather Ross Fabric, Far Far Away, Sarah Jane Fabric, On Parade, Wee Wander

The complaints kept on coming.  “The bed’s not comfortable, Mom.  What can you doooooo??”

This is the problem with being a mom who creates things on demand.  Expectations can get a bit out of control.

Then it occurred to me — the Kura Bed is meant to be reversible.  Maybe I could flip it, and that would solve Kiki’s issues.

By flipping the bed, I mean changing it from this . . .

Kura Bed 1

. . . to this . . .

Kura Bed 2

I mean, how hard could it be??? (Hahaha.)

I discussed this plan with the customer, and she agreed that flipping the bed would be an acceptable (and free) alternative.

Of course, one cannot just turn the bed upside down and call it a day — especially if panels are covered with directional fabric, ahem.

It became clear that the frame would have to be taken apart completely and that the panels would need to be flipped and reconfigured.  And it would have to be reassembled in such a way as to put the ladder on the side of the bed that sits against the wall.  This would take some brain power to figure out.  And there would be more elbow grease involved.

In truth, it took some time for me to accept this cruel fact.

After a brief mourning period, I wiped away the tears and stated to take the bed apart.  It was too painful a process to document with photography, so you’ll just have to use your imagination to picture the grisly scene.  And the cursing.  There was so much cursing that I had to send all children out of earshot until the project was complete . . . again.

In the end, I came up with this . . .

Ikea Kura Loft Bed Hack, Heather Ross Fabric, Sarah Jane Fabric

Don’t tell Kiki, but I really do like this version better than the original.

Ikea Kura Loft Bed Hack, Heather Ross Fabric, Sarah Jane Fabric

At night, when we turn on the twinkle lights for bedtime stories, it really is magical.

Ikea Kura Loft Bed Hack, Heather Ross Fabric, Sarah Jane FabricIkea Kura Loft Bed Hack, Heather Ross Fabric, Sarah Jane Fabric

I love the mermaids hanging out on the bottom of the bed.  You might miss them if you aren’t paying attention.

Ikea Kura Loft Bed Hack, Heather Ross Fabric, Sarah Jane Fabric

Word to the wise — if you go this route with the Kura bed, be very careful to remember to bend your head down when getting into it, especially when running and jumping exuberantly.  Knocking your head on the top of the frame can be brutal.  Really brutal.  So far, this has only happened once.

Ikea Kura Loft Bed Hack, Heather Ross Fabric, Sarah Jane Fabric

Guess what.  Kiki’s now asking for curtains like the ones I put on Lulu’s bed.

Ikea Kura Bed Hack, Heather Ross Fabric, Far Far Away, Sarah Jane Fabric, On Parade, Wee Wander

Figures 🙂

It All Started at Ikea: Part One

Ikea Kura Bed Hack, Heather Ross Fabric, Far Far Away, Sarah Jane Fabric, On Parade, Wee Wander

About a year and a half ago, it was time to find a big girl bed for Lulu.  We’d long ago taken the side of the crib off so that she could sleep toddler bed style, but she kept falling out (poor girl).   After a big bruise on the noggin, we knew it was high time for a different sleeping arrangement.

So I hopped onto Pinterest to see what’s out there, and I came across this loverly pin from Gail.  A few more minutes of clicking led me to this pin, and I was definitely hooked.

The Ikea Kura Bunk Bed.  It’s such a great idea.  The draw for me was a combination of cuteness, creative possibility and an opportunity for Lulu to sleep in a bed that is essentially a mattress on the floor with no possibility of falling out.  The other plus is that Lulu’s room is smaller than Kiki’s, and a bed like this gives more playing space in a small room.

If you want to be amazed, check out this Pinterest search filled to the brim with about a zillion genius hacks on this bed.

Of course I couldn’t just buy this bed, assemble it and call it a day like a normal person.  That would be way too easy and economical.  I had to customize.

And, of course I couldn’t stop with just one bed.  Kiki wanted in on the action, too.  Who wouldn’t, really.  Customizing an awesome bed for her sister and not for her seemed cruel.  So two beds it was.

Ikea Kura Bed Hack, Heather Ross Fabric, Far Far Away, Sarah Jane Fabric, On Parade, Wee Wander

I decided right away that I wanted to paint the frames white, and that I wanted to cover the panels with fabric.  I gave both girls a carefully curated selection of fabrics to choose from.  Lulu chose Sarah Jane’s Wee Wander Summer Nights in twilight and On Parade, and Kiki chose Heather Ross’ Far Far Away Unicorns in green and Sarah Jane’s Out to Sea Mermaids in blossom.

My husband watched the kids while I drove out to Ikea and bought the beds.  When I got them home and opened the boxes, I was completely horrified by the number of frame pieces that required sanding, priming and painting for two beds (if I really wanted the beds to be white, which I did.)  The girls would be in high school before I’d ever finish this painting.

Emergency Distress Call to Handyman #1 — Dear Handyman, can you please, please, please sand, prime and paint all 100,000 pieces of bed frame and save me countless hours and frustration, as I’m not really that good at it myself???  Answer — yes.

Ikea Kura Bed Hack, Heather Ross Fabric, Far Far Away, Sarah Jane Fabric, On Parade, Wee Wander

Ok, so a couple days later, I have a huge pile of freshly painted bed pieces up in Lulu’s bedroom.  Time to finish up my cappuccino, roll up my sleeves and get crackin.

Ikea Kura Bed Hack, Heather Ross Fabric, Far Far Away, Sarah Jane Fabric, On Parade, Wee Wander

Here’s how I did it . . .

The way this bed works is that it’s basically a wood frame with thin fiberboard panels that slide into groovess in the frame.  The first thing to do, then, is to cover your panels with fabric (or wallpaper or whatever).

Survival Tip #1 — You’ll  notice that some of the wood frame pieces are labeled with numbers.  If you decide to paint your frame, be sure to write in your numbers in Sharpie.  If you don’t, you might end up killing yourself when it’s time to put the thing together.

Ikea Kura Bed Hack, Heather Ross Fabric, Far Far Away, Sarah Jane Fabric, On Parade, Wee Wander

I got myself some good fabric glue.

Ikea Kura Bed Hack, Heather Ross Fabric, Far Far Away, Sarah Jane Fabric, On Parade, Wee Wander

As you can see, it’s not cheap.  But in this case, I think you’ve got to use the good stuff.

Next, I cut my fabric about one inch wider than the first panel on all sides.  Then, I squeezed on that glue.

Ikea Kura Bed Hack, Heather Ross Fabric, Far Far Away, Sarah Jane Fabric, On Parade, Wee Wander

Then, I adhered my fabric onto the panel, making sure to smooth it out really thoroughly and tightly.  It should look something like this . . .

Ikea Kura Bed Hack, Heather Ross Fabric, Far Far Away, Sarah Jane Fabric, On Parade, Wee Wander

Next, I trimmed the fabric so that I could glue the fabric to the edges of the panel without overhang.

Ikea Kura Bed Hack, Heather Ross Fabric, Far Far Away, Sarah Jane Fabric, On Parade, Wee Wander

Then, I squeezed glue along the top, bottom and side edges of the panel and folded the fabric over, faking it on the corners.  I think I ended up trimming the fabric on the corners to avoid excess bulk.

Ikea Kura Bed Hack, Heather Ross Fabric, Far Far Away, Sarah Jane Fabric, On Parade, Wee Wander

Then, I repeated the same thing on the other side of the panel.  I ended up with this.

Ikea Kura Bed Hack, Heather Ross Fabric, Far Far Away, Sarah Jane Fabric, On Parade, Wee Wander

After covering all seven panels, it was time to assemble the thing.  I’m sure you know what that’s like.

Survival Tip #2 — If you accidentally and inexplicably knock a hole into one of your panels, don’t panic.  Just cover it with duct tape and pretend it never happened.  Here you see the back of the panel that goes against the wall, so no one ever sees it anyway 🙂

Ikea Kura Bed Hack, Heather Ross Fabric, Far Far Away, Sarah Jane Fabric, On Parade, Wee Wander

Then, trouble arose.  When I tried to slide the panels into the grooves on the frame, the gd things didn’t budge.  The addition of the fabric and the glue made them too thick for the grooves.  Double crap.

Ikea Kura Bed Hack, Heather Ross Fabric, Far Far Away, Sarah Jane Fabric, On Parade, Wee Wander

I took a deep breath and ran like the wind to the hardware store, where a very well meaning clerk suggested I purchase a Drummel Tool, with which I could allegedly plane the grooves to be wide enough to accommodate the now thicker panels.  Ok.

This did not go well.  If you’ve ever used a Drummel Tool (I had not, obviously), it’s like a crazy strong and (if you’re me) uncontrollable electric knife.  As soon as I touched the blade to a frame piece, wood shaving flew every which way and I managed to gouge up the thing in a terrible way.  I tried again.  It was worse.  I was afraid that three things would happen if I continued . . . 1) I’d ruin the bed, 2) I’d gouge up the wood floor in Lulu’s room, and 3) I’d maim myself.

Emergency Distress Call to Handyman #2 — Dear Handyman, can you please, please, please come and take back these frickin pieces of wood frame that you already painted and take them to your shop where you can properly plane them so that I can fit these panels in without anyone getting hurt???  Answer — yes.  (He took a panel with him so that he would know how much planing needed to happen.)

Once I got the planed frame pieces back from the most excellent, talented and patient handyman, things went much more smoothly.

After the bed was all assembled, I realized that two things were missing . . . lights and curtains, of course!

Ikea Kura Bed Hack, Heather Ross Fabric, Far Far Away, Sarah Jane Fabric, On Parade, Wee Wander

The curtains are just panels of $3/yard cotton gauze with a rod pocket sewn on top and zig-zagged edges attached with tension rods.  The rods do get pulled down periodically, but I haven’t come up with a better method.  No big deal.

The lights are attached with 3M Command hooks.  Aren’t those things just so handy?

Ikea Kura Bed Hack, Heather Ross Fabric, Far Far Away, Sarah Jane Fabric, On Parade, Wee Wander

Here’s Lulu’s bed from underneath . . .

Ikea Kura Bed Hack, Heather Ross Fabric, Far Far Away, Sarah Jane Fabric, On Parade, Wee Wander

It’s pretty fun!

Ikea Kura Bed Hack, Heather Ross Fabric, Far Far Away, Sarah Jane Fabric, On Parade, Wee Wander

Ikea Kura Bed Hack, Heather Ross Fabric, Far Far Away, Sarah Jane Fabric, On Parade, Wee Wander

Ikea Kura Bed Hack, Heather Ross Fabric, Far Far Away, Sarah Jane Fabric, On Parade, Wee Wander

Now that Lulu’s bed was all done, I got to do it all over again for Kiki — but this time without the steep learning curve.

Ikea Kura Bed Hack, Heather Ross Fabric, Far Far Away, Sarah Jane Fabric, On Parade, Wee Wander

Ikea Kura Bed Hack, Heather Ross Fabric, Far Far Away, Sarah Jane Fabric, On Parade, Wee Wander

Kiki opted for lights, but no curtains.

Ikea Kura Bed Hack, Heather Ross Fabric, Far Far Away, Sarah Jane Fabric, On Parade, Wee Wander

Ikea Kura Bed Hack, Heather Ross Fabric, Far Far Away, Sarah Jane Fabric, On Parade, Wee Wander

Ikea Kura Bed Hack, Heather Ross Fabric, Far Far Away, Sarah Jane Fabric, On Parade, Wee Wander

Ikea Kura Bed Hack, Heather Ross Fabric, Far Far Away, Sarah Jane Fabric, On Parade, Wee Wander

As my own mother often says “I wouldn’t do this for anyone else.”  This is love, my friends!

You might think this is the end of the saga of the beds.  But surprisingly, in the immortal words of Elephant & Piggie . . . “There’s more to my story!!!”

Stayed tuned for the next installment . . .

Rollerskates & Strawberry Ice Cream

Oliver + S Ice Cream Dress, Rollerskate Dress, Heather Ross, Briar RoseDon’t you love to click around the internet machine, drooling over all the beautiful creations that you wish you had time to make (while you should probably be doing something else)?  Me too.  When I came across these two creations from the very talented Avocadopie on Flickr, it became immediately clear that I would be finding the time to provide Kiki with her own versions.

Here we have an Ice Cream Dress and a Rollerskate Dress, both from Oliver + S.  I’ve sewn up both of these patterns before, and was glad to pull them out of the pattern box to use again.

As always, ice cream first.

Oliver + S Ice Cream Dress, Heather Ross, Briar RoseI love this pattern so much.  There’s something so classic and old fashioned about it, but without being stuffy or too sticky sweet.  It really is the perfect thing to wear to the ice cream shop in the summertime (and we have, believe me)!

The fabric is forest Andover chambray, paired with the famous Briar Rose strawberries from Heather Ross.  I think I’ve now sewed with every colorway of these strawberries in both woven and knit.  Love it!

Oliver + S Ice Cream Dress, Heather Ross, Briar RoseJust as I was about to cut the yoke, I saw that if I didn’t make some changes, the strawberries would be upside down in the back — since the yoke is designed to be cut in one piece that drapes over the shoulders in the front and the back.  Luckily, I saw this coming before my rotary cutter actually started rolling.

All I did to solve the problem was to split the yoke pattern piece into two pieces at the shoulder — a front and a back — add 1/2 inch seam allowances and stitch it together.  If you look closely, you can see the new shoulder seam (along with some new freckles)   here . . .

Oliver + S Ice Cream Dress, Heather Ross, Briar RoseNow, the strawberries are facing the right way in the front and the back!

Oliver + S Ice Cream Dress, Heather Ross, Briar RoseShe loves the pockets.  Who wouldn’t?

Oliver + S Ice Cream Dress, Heather Ross, Briar RoseKiki wore it on her very last day of preschool.  Am I the only mom kooky enough to make a new dress for the last day of school???

Now, onto rollerskates . . .

Oliver + S Rollerskate Dress, Heather Ross, Briar RoseThis dress is a great way to savor a beautiful fabric like this one — more Briar Rose.  This print is a regular feature in Kiki’s closet.  She loves the color, and we’ve found that it’s a great choice for tops and dresses alike.

Like Avocadopie, I decided to skip the neck facing altogether and just add a little bow.  I gave Kiki several choices of ribbon color — no surprise that purple was the winner.

Oliver + S Rollerskate Dress, Heather Ross, Briar RoseI also found just the right pink rose button for the back . . .

Oliver + S Rollerskate Dress, Heather Ross, Briar RoseFor both of these dresses, I cut a 4T width and 5T length.  This always works well for Kiki in Oliver + S patterns.  Kiki’s shoulders are so narrow, that there’s room to grow here, even though I sized down in width.

Oliver + S Rollerskate Dress, Heather Ross, Briar RoseIsn’t summer sweet?

Oliver + S Ice Cream Dress, Heather Ross, Briar Rose

The Piped Swingset Tunic — the Best of Times and the Worst of Times

Oliver + S Swingset Tunic Heather Ross Briar Rose It’s been a while since I’ve checked in here . . . but not because I’ve been slacking off. Truth be told, I’ve been pretty much sewing my ass off.  But between finishing projects after midnight on a fairly regular basis and doing all the other things we do in the summertime, I’ve been neglecting this little blog.  So, here I am today to chronicle the trials and tribulations of my very first attempt at the Oliver + S Swingset Tunic. (I’ve since made two dress versions of this pattern, one of which is made with the very same fabric that you see here.  But I’m going back in time today to catch you up on my process.) Oliver + S Swingset Tunic Heather Ross Briar Rose When I started out on this project, I knew wanted to add piping.  I’m really into piping. I had read on various blogs that the construction of this tunic is a little counter intuitive, so I knew I’d need to put on my thinking cap for this one, especially when throwing piping into the mix.  Let me warn you . . . there was trial and error involved. First off, after reading the directions a time or two, I knew I’d need some help.  I found this very helpful post on the O+S blog.  I highly recommend it if you’re trying this one out for the first time. To add the piping, I got started putting the yoke together and separated the lining from the front of the yoke, as directed . . . Oliver + S Swingset Tunic Heather Ross Briar Rose Then, I sewed the piping onto the front of the yoke, matching the raw edges. Oliver + S Swingset Tunic Heather Ross Briar Rose As you can see, the yoke lining is not the same shape as the front, so you have to take care in pinning the lining out of the way. To add the piping to the back yoke, I did the same thing, sewing carefully across the placket. I then smugly sewed along, thinking I’m the greatest sewing genius on the planet.  But when I got the whole thing put together, I realized I’d made a near fatal error.  I didn’t read the directions carefully enough and had cut two of the pattern pieces for the straps, rather than cutting one piece and then cutting that piece in half.  So, the straps were twice as long as they should be.  Crap!! I didn’t want to take the whole thing apart to change out the straps.  I mean, I had already topstitched the yoke and everything.   So, I decided to be a smarty pants and snip the straps at the shoulder, cut them down to the correct size, and then sew them back together as you would when joining two pieces of bias tape.  What a marvelous solution. But . . . when doing something slightly complicated while watching the clock (knowing that the kids will be calling any minute) and while feeling slightly frustrated, things like this can happen. Oliver + S Swingset Tunic Heather Ross Briar Rose Ouch.  Want another view? Oliver + S Swingset Tunic Heather Ross Briar Rose Even in the moment, I just had to laugh.  I mean . . . really????  This has to be one of my favorite sewing goofs ever! Needless to say, I regained my senses and decided to leave this to be fixed another day . . . with a clearer head.  Don’t worry — it all worked out in the end. Oliver + S Swingset Tunic Heather Ross Briar Rose Now that we’ve gotten that little tale of woe out of the way, let’s get back to the piping.  I don’t think it’s a complete success. Oliver + S Swingset Tunic Heather Ross Briar RoseIt looks pretty nice in the front, but it doesn’t lay flat in the back.  This is because when you construct the back yoke, you clip the seam allowance on either side of the placket. You then press the seam allowance away from the yoke at the placket and toward the yoke everywhere else.  Sounds weird, but that’s how you do it.  Anyway, the seam allowance thing keeps the piping from laying nice and flat all the way across the back. Oliver + S Swingset Tunic Heather Ross Briar Rose See what I mean?  This is why I decided to forgo the piping on my next Swingsets.  It was worth a try, though. I should also mention that Kiki is wearing the Oliver + S Sailboat Pants I made after she pleaded and pleaded for pants.  You may be wondering why I was loathe to provide her with the pants she so desperately wanted, especially when I had such a fab pattern as this sitting around.  The reason is that this kid never wears pants.  Never.  She swore up and down that she would wear these if I made them for her.  I indulged in this fantasy, because I knew she’d look so cute in them. Oliver + S Sailboat Pants And she does. Oliver + S Swingset Tunic Heather Ross Briar Rose Guess what.  She’s never worn them.  Not once 🙂  (I coerced her into wearing them for these photos with the promise of chocolate.)  Ah well, it was worth a shot.  There’s always a chance the Lulu will wear them in a year or two. Oliver + S Swingset Tunic Heather Ross Briar Rose The other unfortunate thing is that when Kiki wears it, she insists on tucking it in.  She does this will all tops for some reason.  I don’t want to stifle her sense of style, but it’s really not the best look . . . Oliver + S Swingset Tunic Heather Ross Briar Rose So for now, I think we’ll stick with dresses. Ah, motherhood.

KCW: A Couple of Bucket Hats

Oliver + S Reversible Bucket Hats

Summer is here — time for sun hats!  We are a fair-skinned bunch, especially the red headed Kiki, and my girls don’t have the greatest track record in actually wearing their hats outside in the sun when they really need them.  so I’m hoping that these custom made babies will entice them to practice better sun protection.

These are Oliver + S Reversible Sun Hats.  The pattern is in Liesl’s book  Little Things to Sew, and is also available as a free download on the O+S website.  Nice!  I do have the book, but I found it easier to just print out the pattern from the site than trying to locate the book in my ultra organized house (ha).

Oliver + S Reversible Bucket Hats

Let’s start with Lulu.  Her hat is sporting Made By Rae’s Lotus Pond fabric inside and out. This view is Lily Pond and there is Meadow Blossom Blue on the inside.  I’m late to the party with these fabrics, as they came out last summer and are getting to be hard to find. Luckily, they’re still too be had on Etsy.

Oliver + S Reversible Bucket Hats

These hats are pretty easy to whip up.  All you need is 1/3 yard of two fabrics and a little bit of fairly stiff, sew-in interfacing, and you’re halfway there.

That being said, there are a couple of tricky bits.  Sewing the top of the hat onto the sides is a little bit fiddly.  Liesl tell you to clip the seam allowance in the sides of the hat before pinning onto the top.  It took me a few minutes to get the hang of this, but once you hit your stride, it’s not a big deal.

Also, I found top-stitching around just above the brim to be a little more challenging than expected.  What looks nice on one side would be screwy and puckered on the other — you know.  And since this hat is reversible, I wanted both sides to look nice.  As with most things, with a little more practice I’ll be better at this.  But for now, these look just fine, I think.

Oliver + S Reversible Bucket Hats

One other thing to note is that I assumed that both girls would wear a medium, as the age range on the pattern si 3-5.  After making the first hat in a medium and trying it on both girls, it turned out that the 5 year old Kiki needs a large.  (She has a big head just like her mother.)  The moral of that story is to be sure to measure your kid’s head before you start.

Oliver + S Reversible Bucket Hats

Kiki’s hat is made with Heather Ross’s Far Far Away fabric.  One side is Frog Prince Blue on Cream, and the other is Meadow Blue on Cream.  These fabrics are also getting to be few and far between, so Etsy saved me once again.

Oliver + S Reversible Bucket Hats

These prints are so sweet, and I’ve been itching to use them on something.  But I think that they are a little too subtle for a hat, and their little surprises get lost.  The more punchy Lotus Pond on Lulu’s hat makes a bigger statement.  But, Kiki’s hat is pretty cute nonetheless.  I’m sure I’ll come up with some other way to use the leftovers — maybe as pockets or a dress bodice — so that they can be more thoroughly appreciated.

Oliver + S Reversible Bucket Hats

The girls are enjoying their hats so far.  Today, I found them stuffed in Kiki’s bike basket, ready for the next adventure.  Ahhhhhh, summertime!

Oliver + S Reversible Bucket Hats