Tutorial: Coffee table leg cozies

As promised, here is my little tutorial on sewing cozies for dangerous table legs. Thanks again to Christine who masterminded the fix to my problem! I have a good deal of sewing experience, so her idea sounded quick and easy to me.

First, I decided that my best fabric option would probably be vinyl. I headed over to my local Jo-Ann fabric store to peruse my options. They had just the thing I was looking for–black leather-look vinyl with non slip backing. I had already measured the height and width of my table legs before leaving the house, so I had a pretty good idea of the yardage I’d need. The legs are about 18″ high, and the vinyl came in a 54″ width, so I had a 20″ piece cut, allowing me a little extra seam allowance.

At home, I gathered my tools:

 

  • Vinyl fabric, 20″ x 54″
  • heavy duty thread
  • lighter weight thread for the bobbin
  • cardboard, for cutting a template
  • scissors
  • pen
  • ruler

Remember, don’t forget your coupon when visiting Jo-Ann. With 40% off, my leg cozies cost just over 8 bucks!!

Next step, make the template. I held the piece of cardboard up to one table leg and traced around the outside with my sharpie. Then, I used my drafting ruler to mark a line 1 inch outside the first line; this is for the seam allowance. I would normally not use such a generous width, but the vinyl is somewhat thick. For sewing clothes, I’ll usually go with 5/8ths of an inch; for quilting, I’ll use 1/4 to 3/8ths of an inch.

 

ANYWAY. Next, I cut out my template from the cardboard, and traced it onto the back of my fabric 8 times. Four table legs will need 2 pieces each.

Cut out the pieces. I had some leftovers, about 20″ x 20″. Maybe I’ll do a wallet tutorial next…

Next step is to sew them sumbitches together. Put two pieces, right sides together, starting at one end, and use the guide on your sewing machine for the proper seam allowance. Since the pieces were cut with an extra inch all the way around, be sure to align the edges with the 1″ mark on the metal plate of the sewing machine. Mine doesn’t actually have a 1″ mark, but there is a 7/8ths mark, so I’ll guide my fabric just to the right of that line. If I ever have a really wide seam allowance, or am trying to sew a straight line more than an inch from the center of the needle, I’ll measure with a ruler and then make my own mark with masking tape.

So, yep, sew all the way around the perimeter of each set of leg cozies, but leave the top edge un-sewn. Then trim off the excess seam allowance leaving a quarter inch or so. There’s no need to have the extra bulk; it would just be a lumpy, ugly mess with a bunch of fabric all bulged up inside. Oh, and here’s my best sewing tip of the day:

(Pardoning my crappy sewing there…) On curved pieces that are convex, such as this, it’s a good idea to trim out little snippets as shown, especially if you’re doing something like this, where the work will be turned inside out. This will make for a much smoother looking curve. This is a trick I learned when I quilted, but I’ve put it to use in many other sewing projects.

Once you’ve cut away all the extra fabric and trimmed the curves, it’s time to turn these puppies inside-out. Turning stuff inside-out is at the top of my list of least favorite sewing related activities. These weren’t too bad since they’re not overly narrow.

After turning the pieces right side out, I folded under that extra inch at the top. Voila: a hem! Vinyl is awesome, because you can practice sloppy sewing. It doesn’t fray and it won’t slide down.

Here’s the dog trap upside down,

and here’s Olivia, underneath at last!

Oh happy days!

And the winner is…

Christine Guest, with her suggestion of sewn coffee table leg cozies!!!

Christine has chosen the lovely shade of orange fire in Ella Rae Lace Merino

I’d like to thank all of you for your totally awesome ideas!!

Allison suggested cutting some acrylic sheets to fill in the open spaces of the legs; Nance thought of figure 8′s around the legs with leftover yarn; Sheila’s idea was to lace up some boots on those suckers; Emily’s plan was to de-leg another used coffee table with more suitable legs and use those instead. Really, really great brainstorming, guys. I had a damn hard time deciding which to choose!

I’ll be doing a how-to in the next few days on sewing the cozies. I’m pretty excited to hang out in my living room without worrying about Olivia ensnaring herself in that coffee table.

Challenge: Dog-proof my coffee table

Meet my 8 year-old black labrador, Olivia.

In people years, that would be 56. But in black lab years, that would be right around…2. Olivia is the nicest, sweetest, most snuggly dog you could ever hope to have as a companion. But her comprehension and motor skills are, well, not especially well developed.

Meet my coffee table.

I purchased this table at the Salvation Army (or Goodwill, or some other thrift store) for three dollars about 15 years ago. The swirly mosaic design you see here is the second reincarnation of the table top. It used to be trees. I got sick of the trees, so now we have swirls. Anyway, see the legs, here? They’re simple and attractive and hold the table off the floor. See Olivia? Whose legs are drawn as though by a magnetic force to the space in between the open table legs? Yes? Then you see my problem. Olivia has an uncanny ability to get her legs stuck in the table legs, making her yowl in pain, and causing those around us scramble to free her, and hope there isn’t a huge vet bill about to be incurred.

I don’t want to get rid of the table, and Olivia is certainly not going anywhere. So, I need to engineer a fix for the table legs so poor Olivia doesn’t get stuck again; it upsets her terribly! I also don’t want to just wrap a bunch of duct tape around the legs, because that would be really ugly.

The challenge: Come up with an attractive, low-cost solution to above described problem.

Your reward: A free copy of my Tangerine Trifle scarf pattern and a skein of Ella Rae lace merino in your desired color

Leave your solution in the comments by the end of the day, Feb. 28. I’ll choose a winner and notify her/him by the first couple of days in March. I can’t wait to hear what you come up with!

Also: no knitted table leg cozies. The thought did occur to me, but I already have enough knitting to last until the middle of next year!