Puns N Needles

Dispatches from my adventures: sewing, knitting, and otherwise.

Christmas in July

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No, I’m not in the southern hemisphere where it’s currently winter. But I woke up one morning a few weeks ago with excitement and anticipation rivaling that for a kid on Christmas morning. I got out of bed knowing that I had just about 90 minutes left before I was completely finished working on a project that had my attention for several weeks.

It started with a text from a friend that went something like “My dad is looking for someone to sew 10 leather cushions for his office. Are you interested?” The answer was easily yes, though I didn’t know exactly what it would entail. That led to an email from her dad, which led to him dropping by my new workplace with a piece of leather and a sample cushion that he’d made in cheap denim and foam. And finally, this morning, it was done.

Setting snaps, a final step.

The project was pretty straightforward: sew up 10 matching cushions in black upholstery leather (provided by friend’s dad); procure foam and make the cushion inserts. Even with the piping/welt and zippers, it was not a technically challenging sewing project. However, I was terrified.


The client provided the leather,  which he purchased at a local Mennonite harness shop. We met in the parking lot of my workplace to move it from his vehicle to mine, and once I got it to my sewing room, it sat for a few days. I was kind of afraid to touch it.

The hides were so large that I did most layout and cutting on my sewing room floor.

Leather isn’t cheap. I assume he was charged a fair price for the material which is quite durable, but definitely more expensive than say, canvas. And, unlike canvas, it’s not very forgiving because each time a needle punches through leather, it leaves a permanent hole. There aren’t really do-overs when sewing leather.

Preparing the seat cushions, foam and dacron.

Finally, I was just plain scared that I’d screw something up. I was being hired to provide 10 leather cushions for a classy conference room, using material that was given to me, and I dare not mess up.

And guess what? I did mess up. About midway through the project, with (mostly self-imposed) deadlines approaching, I realized that I had put together some pieces backwards. It was really frustrating. I didn’t know if I had ruined material (spoiler alert: I didn’t). I wasn’t sure if I should have been doing this project at all. It was upsetting, because like I wrote a few paragraphs back, it was not a technically challenging project for me. So smart man that my husband is, he suggested I stop working and come back to the cushions the next day.

Some of the thread removed when I had to take some pieces apart.

I’m glad I took his advice because the next day, when I was re-doing multiple hours’ of work that I had lost to my foggy brain, I realized something. I could do this. Yes, I always knew that I knew how to create these cushions but I had a lot of uncertainty about how I was going to do the job. And while I struggled to overcome my mistakes, I gained quite a bit of confidence.  There are several hours of my life that I’ll never get back, but I do know that I can tackle another project like this again.

Delivering the cushions. I’ll miss their smell.


Author: Accacia

I own a sewing shop in Lexington, Virginia. I sew, I knit, and I cook.

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