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The "I Want a Chair" Project

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The darling man always knows there is a project coming when I start a sentence with  "don't you think it would be nice…" followed by something like  "to have a nice comfy chair in this empty space in the family room to lounge in?" In Theresa-speak it really translates to "I think we need to fill this empty five feet in our family room that I've been staring at with disgust for a month."

Let's be honest here, I think he's on to this.

Of course, I don't mean "let's go spend hundreds of dollars at the furniture store". No. He knows I mean "let me find something cheap-cheap and make it ours". The timing couldn't have been more perfect because this light went off in my brain right at the same time that our semi-annual neighborhood garage sale was about to take place. Yay me!

Good timing too for our new neighbor who discovered that not everything he took off the moving van fit in his house. We met our new nearby resident, handed over $20 and this beauty was ours!

My bad for not taking a proper before photo, however, you can kind of make out the tired tapestry-like stodgy fabric on it that had clearly seen much better days. But the bones were terrific; it was very well made - solid - and sturdy enough to withstand teenagers plopping down all over it.

The darling man, my pal Mimi and I spent quite a bit of time de-fabricing (is that a word?). Honestly, this was the most time-consuming part of the entire project. Because I wanted to reupholster rather than make a slip cover, I needed to use each piece intact so I couldn't just do major demo and rip it all up. I needed each piece to be pattern ready so to speak. Once we were finished, it looked like you see on the right.

I laid out all the pieces and figured I needed about 8 yards of fabric. I headed off to Joanne's with my 40% coupon and high hopes of finding something that would tone in with the rest of my furniture and draperies which were already made. It took a bit of digging on the 'last chance' table but I found a durable butter yellow heavy weight cotton with a small gray box pattern and remarkably, they had exactly enough with about half a yard to spare. Score. Or so I thought, but more on that later...

I rolled out the fabric on my long dining room table - which is used more for projects than dining - and laid out all of the pattern pieces making certain that all pieces would run in the same direction. Like you see to the right.

I did a bit of an oops in measuring because by the time I finished cutting I realized I was short about two yards. Crap. As you'll recall I purchased all they had, so I had to drive to another two Joanne's stores to locate that last bit. And then, no coupon but I was still relieved. Something I did was to take a picture of each piece as it was being removed just in case it got confusing later. And it did get confusing later so I was super happy to have that reference.

My Stanley electric stapler in hand and beginning with the sides, I matched the pieces to the chair, pulling each one as taut as possible (you need a helper for this part) and stapled them firmly in place. I made a few adjustments and went through quite a few staples because of improper placement, but in the end I managed to get it all together. For the seat cushion, I sewed a cover using the zipper (I hate sewing zippers!) from the old one - yes I'm a cheater, but it's in the back. You never see it.


We are super happy with the results. As you can see it's a fairly wide chair so it accommodates all kinds of legs being slung over the sides. I did have to touch up the front legs a bit with a dark walnut wood finish stain marker from Minwax. I just love those. They cover all manner of dents and scratches.

A few things about this project. It all seems so obvious now. Lay out the pattern pieces before heading to the store for fabric. This is especially important if you might purchase fabric with a visible nap or pattern. I didn't mention it earlier, but I did add some batting to the backrest of the chair as it seemed a bit under padded there. 

The whole project cost less than $100.00 including the $20 to my neighbor. That's right, the fabric cost me $6.49 per yard with the exception of the last two yards and I even had enough for a small pillow. Again, measure first!

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