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Yesterday I decided to wash some sofa seat cushion covers given that the weather was hot and dry and they would quickly be available to put back on.

Yes I know the zips are only there in order to make the covers easier to put on when the suite is made, but I have always washed sofa seat cushions since the one experience I had of having them specially cleaned.  It cost a fair amount to have both the suite and carpet professionally cleaned, but they took a couple of days to dry properly and within a few weeks I felt they were starting to look a bit grubby again.

So now I take them off (a lot easier than getting them on!), do the zips up and throw them in the washing machine on a 30 degree centigrade woollen wash, using biodegradable washing liquid, no fabric softener, and a soft spin.  Then hang them on the line to dry after opening the zips.

When they are dry then starts the fun – trying to squash the seats back in to them!  I’ve perfected the art of squeezing them between my knees to make them small enough to at least get the covers on a couple of inches at a time and then make sure they are pushed into the corners before again squeezing them to take the pressure off the zips while I re-close them.

Today however I decided that before I could attempt the fun bit I needed to overlock the seams – which were fraying like mad – otherwise I would soon have no fabric left for the seam stitching to hang on to!

Here, on the right is what they were like before I started and on the left after I had used my Elna Diva to overlock them.  What a difference!

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The Diva (Elsa) is an amazing machine.  It has literally hundreds of stitches (480 to be exact though I’ll have to double check that!) and I especially like the overlock stitch – number 12 if you have a Diva.

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I used an overcast foot I got from C9 store on Amazon.
http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B004MLWFRY/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o00_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1
It doesn’t quite cover all the feed dogs but works brilliantly.  I set the stitch width and length to the maximum for this stitch – 7mm and 5mm respectively and used a new Schmetz 14/90 Jeans needle. Most of the time I was sewing through 4 layers of chenille – the cusions have piping around them – and sometimes 6 but it went through them without any bother.

Actually the only bother was the heat – it was 32 degrees centigrade in my studio and I had to keep taking breaks I was getting so hot.  Actually I think the machine needed them too as after I had been sewing for a while it started squeeking from the take up lever.  I can only surmize that the expansion of the metal and different expansion of the plastic caused some sort of binding – I put one drop of oil on the needle bar when it was right down and then ran the machine like mad for a while, cleaned out the bobbin – took the bobbin case out too and turned the machine off and left it for an hour to cool down.  All was well when I went back to sew.

At least the covers are now back on the sofa – and the dog approves as he is all cuddled up on it!

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