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This archived content is from Mary Wilkins’ sewing and quilting message board “Sew What’s New,” which was retired in August 2007. It is being provided by “Sew What’s Up,” which serves as the new home for many members of “Sew What’s New.”
From: temom
Date: 01-28-2007, 10:47 PM (1 of 5)
Hi All,

I am a newbie, and I was asked about the floor cloth that started my sewing journey, and I said that I would post it here. So here goes.
We have a 12 X 20 foot sunroom, and installed carpeting as soon as it was built. Many rains and 2 tropical storms later, the carpet was a smelly mess. We ripped out the carpet and padding, fixed what leaks we could fix (the roof still leaks, but I have a big bowl placed in just the right spot). Anyway, with 2 children and this huge room with 3 sides of it glass, the noise was horrid. My husband refused to install carpet again, and it would have been at least $500.00 USD to have the carpet installed, and that didn't include the cost of the carpet. I remember reading many many years ago about floor cloths, and thought at the time it was something I would like to do someday. Someday had quickly come. Unfortunately, I couldn't find directions, so I made it up as I went along.
At this point in my life, I didn't sew. I had a machine, but it was too hard to use. Anyway, to buy a piece of canvas for the room would be outrageously expensive, and I couldn't find canvas at fabric store (and no-body to help me look, either). So I ended up going to the local home improvement store and bought 3 canvas painter's drop cloths. They were rated for their thickness, and I think I bought not the thickest, but the next one down. Price was a huge consideration. If I took out the side hems, they would be the correct width. So I ripped the side hems and sewed them together, then measured the length, and cut with a good foot to spare. I then stared at the blank canvas for a long time, and tried to figure out what to do with it. In the meantime I put down carpet padding under the floor cloth. My next step was to seal it. I chose a waterbased wood sealant for wood floors, and painted that on. I chose the waterbased stuff over the oil based, as I have terrible allergies. Unfortunately, the stinkin' canvas shrunk. After being stumped for a few more days, I went to the store and bought a pretty cotton print, and made a border that I glued down. At this point, the sewing machine was on it's way out. But I finished it. I decided to take family photos (digital) and print them out on the photo transfer paper. I reversed the pictures, and printed them, 4 to a page. I cut them then ironed them onto the floor cloth - all 180 pictures. (This is over the one coat of sealant) Did I mention that the iron was a casulty of this endeavor? I then put captions under the photos with fabric markers, and had the kids dip their hands & feet in fabric paint and paint their handprints and foot prints onto the cloth. My next step was to seal it again. This time it didn't shrink, and I also painted sealant on my border (which I had the forsight to pre-shrink).
So here is what I learned:

Preshrink you canvas, even if you have to buy a kiddie wading pool and wash it in that.

Iron and decorate your fabric before you piece it together. That way, you can do it on your kitchen table and not a concrete floor. This will save you lots of money in chiropractor fees.

Don't use the waterbased sealant. No matter what.

I would try to find another kind of sealant, as the wear of the family on a flexible surface (carpet padding) has caused a subtle cackling of the finish. It doesn't bother me, but It most likely would bother others.

So there it is. I hope this isn't too long. Now I know how not to make a floor cloth. But I'm happy with it, even though I've found one picture that had been damaged due to something heavy being dragged across it , but this was an experiment, and I consider it a success.
User: temom
Member since: 01-19-2007
Total posts: 410
From: ninifav
Date: 01-29-2007, 12:34 AM (2 of 5)
Good Lord, but you are brave...I never would have the courage to attempt it!!! Would probably just have whined about how I hated the bare floor!!!
User: ninifav
Member since: 09-06-2004
Total posts: 204
From: lizzybugsmommy
Date: 01-29-2007, 08:53 AM (3 of 5)
I would be whinning too. I would have gone for the peel and stick It comes in so manny combinations now and pretty cheap. I never would have attempted somthing so big. I bet the kids did enjoy the painting though. It will always be a project to remember.
Catherine lb_pml&cb=PW

Husbands gone fishing..... I've gone fabric shopping
User: lizzybugsmommy
Member since: 05-20-2006
Total posts: 207
From: grandma C
Date: 01-30-2007, 01:36 AM (4 of 5)
Thanks for the pros and cons. I have a patio with a floor about the same size. I think I will try a floor cloth. I wonder if the sealant we use on the wood deck would be ok? Necessity is the mother of invention. But it takes a brave sole to be creative on a big scale. Congratulations!!!
Grandma C
User: grandma C
Member since: 01-15-2007
Total posts: 263
From: temom
Date: 01-30-2007, 08:32 AM (5 of 5)
I don't know if I am brave or stupid!
Grandma C, if you are going to have the flloor cloth on a hard surface, the sealant will be fine. Just be sure to pre-shrink the cloth first! If you use padding underneath, the sealant will crack.
User: temom
Member since: 01-19-2007
Total posts: 410
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