No sew shabby-to-chic chair makeover.
When I saw this post from The Nester about her fur-chair makeover…I knew that I had found what my soul had been searching for. OK, maybe not my soul…but definitely my decorating muses. Living in a small house means that seating is always at a premium and no matter how you slice it, someone is going to end up on the floor.
For a while we had our couch, a bench, a trunk, two oversized chairs and an ottoman in the living room. This gave it the approximate look and feel of a frat house. I can’t handle clutter and I need lots of space, so I took the chairs and ottoman downstairs and brought up a recliner and a rocking chair, which helped with the space issues but left us with less seating.
Last year I found this little chair at an estate sale and picked it up for $20.
After spending way too much time trying to figure out what era it was from and if it had any value, I put it on Facebook to see if my friends could help. I discovered that although no one could actually tell me anything about it, several people remembered their grandmother having one just like it. This kind of narrowed it down to before WWII and that’s as far as I got.
I finally decided that the value was irrelevant, as it was just sitting in our shed. It was worth the $20 I had paid for it and that was good enough. Since it was the perfect size for our living room, a makeover was in order. My ground rules were simple–make it look good, make it easy and spend as little as possible.
After spending an hour or so removing the skirt (There were approximately 435 little tacks in that thing–it did not go quietly!) I was down to the bare bones. The seat was made of burlap webbing and was in excellent condition so I didn’t remove it.
After a couple of coats of black velvet paint I was ready to figure out the seat. I knew I didn’t want the cushions to be detachable like the original ones. I trotted off to Hobby Lobby and bought two foam cushions and a yard of cotton quilt batting. For the seat, I traced the shape of the old cushion onto the foam, adding an inch or so, and had Dan cut it out for me.
I used a combination of hot glue and a staple gun to cover the cushion with the batting, which left me with a nice smooth surface for my fabric. For the posts I cut the batting and worked it around, making sure to tuck the raw edges under and overlapping the sides to hide the raw wood. (I know–I should have taken a picture–I forgot until I was finished.)
I really really wanted to cover my chair in fur, but since I was on a strict budget I needed to get creative. Enter the fur throw that I found on clearance at Home Goods a couple of months ago. I laid it out on the floor and cut off the binding, leaving me with a piece of fabric approximately 48″ x 56″. I cut a 34″ x 34″ square for the seat.
The nice thing about working with fur is that it hides your mistakes (for the most part–don’t get crazy). I stapled the front and back of the fur under the seat, then worked the sides around until I had everything situated and finished stapling. Working around the posts I brought the two sides together but didn’t overlap them because I didn’t want the bulkiness at the seam. The fur actually hides the seam altogether.
For the back of the chair, I cut my foam so that it fit snugly between the two posts. I cut my fabric about 8″ longer than it needed to be, adding 4″ on either side, then wrapped it around the foam. The excess I wrapped across the top of the chair and stapled underneath, then did the same for the back.
Using my handy combination “glue gun/fingerprint eliminator” (seriously–I can’t be the only one) I glued the sides to the posts. To finish I cut a piece of fabric slightly larger than the opening. I folded the sides and stapled it to the top and bottom. The fur hides the staples well, so you won’t see them. Finally, I glued the sides to the posts.
Overall, the Gus and I are pretty satisfied with the way it came out. I ended up spending less than $25 on it, which fit my “cheap” category. Painting and letting it dry I did over a period of several days when I had a minute. Finishing it took me about an hour and a half of HGTV-watching, and other than the finger-print-elimination it wasn’t difficult to do, which was another one of my requirements.
You don’t have a seating problem, or a shabby chair that needs a facelift, or a blanket that needs repurposed? This isn’t about the chair. It’s about the inspiration to set a goal and a time frame, and spend an afternoon satisfying your muses. Write something. Read something. Create something. Dream a little. Dream a lot. Just do something.
“Write it. Shoot it. Publish it. Crochet it, sauté it, whatever. MAKE.”
― Joss Whedon