Sad Chairs, Happy Chairs

            Big Man hasn´t exactly gone hungry over the last two weeks, but a lot of my time has been taken up with recovering my dining chairs so we´ve eaten a lot of tortilla.  I´ve never been taught properly how to “do” dressmaking or upholstery, but have just picked things up as I went along. I´m sure the finished results are not perfect, and certainly not to a standard that I could get paid for the work, but I was really pleased with the way my most recent project turned out.  Big Head me!

Sad Chair (right), Half way through makeover (centre), Happy Chair (left)

            When we moved into the house 3 years ago, we bought a lovely dining table in a light oak colour and six matching chairs which were upholstered in a cream cotton type fabric. Obviously over time the colour started to look a little sad.  Particularly at the top where the chairs are held and moved around.  I tried fabric shampoo on them but it didn´t seem to make much difference.  At a fabric shop near Malaga, on a sneaky trip to Ikea (to buy napkins and candles, what else?!) I saw some lovely fabric in a burnt orange colour at a bargain price.  I had already measured the chairs and knew I needed just over six metres, so asked for seven (allowing for any mistakes).  There was eight and a half metres of fabric left on the roll, so the shop very kindly discounted the last metre and a half and I went home a happy woman.

            I started out by pinning large sheets of plain paper to a chair.  I had had to stick several together to get the pages wide and long enough.  Then I drew around the outline of the chair marking corners and edges and then cut the pattern out.

Making the Pattern Template

            The pattern was then pinned to the fabric and cut out, leaving a 2cm edge all around.

Pin Pattern to Fabric and Cut Out Leaving 2cm Edge

            The hard work then began, as the next part took the longest, particularly on the first chair which I needed to make sure was absolutely right before cutting out any more fabric.  Luckily it all worked out well!  I pinned the fabric, inside out, to the chair, using the pins as though I was tacking the material together.  This allowed me to pull it tight and manoeuvre it to get a good fit around the chair.  The fabric was then tacked in a contrasting cotton and the pins removed. 

Pin and tack to chair

            With the first chair I turned the fabric the right way round and slipped it back onto the chair to see how well it fitted.  Phew, all ok, so I was ready to sew.  Out came the trusty sewing machine and I machined the tacking in a matching thread with a straight stitch.  In order to ensure the fabric wouldn´t fray at the edges, I switched the machine to a zig zag and stitched all the edges to tidy them up.

...and stitch away...

            The final part was to turn the fabric right side out, slip it over the chair, and pull it tight at the bottom.  The chair was then flipped upside down and with a fine, flexible sewing needle, I tacked the zig zagged edges onto the underside of the chair.  I guess this could have been done more quickly with a strong stapler, but after Big Man put the wrong sized staples into ours the other day (we still can´t get them out), it was hand sewing for me. 

Hand sew or staple to base of chair

            The first chair took me the longest, probably about 8 hours in total over a couple of days, but by the time I got to the sixth and final chair, I think I was down to about 4 hours!  They´re all finished now and I´m happy with the results.  Here´s to many delicious meals eaten whilst sitting on the newly covered chairs.

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4 thoughts on “Sad Chairs, Happy Chairs

    1. Thanks Florence! We´ve now used them for a week or so and they´re blending in nicely with the house. I´m glad I took the plunge and tried out doing something new.

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