Sunday, May 15, 2011

Chair cover project FAIL

Do you remember the feeling when you first moved out of home?

The excitement bubbling in your belly, the prospect of boundless freedom?

The thoughts of 'now I can eat/sleep/watch/play whatever I want, whenever I want!'

A little twinge of nerves, a fleeting moment of sadness but plenty of determination to do it and make it on your own.

Do you remember what your apartment/ house looked like? I suspect it was much like my first share house - a mishmash of second hand furniture, hand-me-down kitchenware and some well-used, but well-loved whitegoods. But you made it work, cause it was all yours.

A few years ago, my parents gifted me four leather dining chairs that they no longer had a need for. They were bright (each in a different colour), funky and just what I needed. By the time they reached our current house, they'd seen their fair share of dining rooms and were starting to show their age.

A makeover project was born.

With The Boy away for a week on business, I pulled out a seam ripper and started pulling the chair covers apart. It didn't seem too complex at the time (HAH!) - the covers had long zips down each of side of the chair, which when unzipped, slipped off the chair completely (with just some velcro sticking the fabric under the base of the chair).

I made my way down to Spotlight and picked myself up a serious amount of teal striped (my first mistake) fabric, ready to create some patterns and got the project underway.
By the end of that week, I'd managed to re-cover a grand total of ONE chair (and pulled apart a second). And that's all.

Fast forward 9 months and I've done didly-squat. This is what we've been putting up with since then.

Yep. A blue chair, a red chair, a yellow chair (in a state of disrepair - see below) and a wonky looking striped fabric chair.
Did you notice how I've strategically placed the re-covered chair and the dodgy yellow one on the far-side of the table?

So what went wrong?

Mistake one - choosing a fabric with stripes. It ain't easy lining up all those stripes on different pattern pieces. It's even harder when you've got zips down each side of the chair - it looked straight off the chair, but once zipped up, it began to pull.

Mistake two- still having my L plates on. I like to sew, and am good at the basics, but the furniture upholstery was a little too much for both me and my nan's old sewing machine. I broke a few too many needles and with the heavy fabric and wadding underneath, the machine kept jamming. It got to the point where even a straight line of sewing was more than I could handle.

Mistake three - giving up. I wasn't going to be defeated with that first chair. But once  it was done, the thought of doing it three more times was absolutely exhausting.

So where to from here? Structurally, they are still really great chairs, so I don't want to just replace them, but I can't bring myself to recover them totally.

I needed inspiration.
No, not the dog. (What a poser. She seriously tries to get in every photo I take). The new rug!

Pretty huh! It's from Bunnings (an Australian Hardware store of all places!) I've looked at it everytime I've stopped in there over the past few months and finally decided that I just HAD to have it. I was so keen to get it under the table that I didn't even take a 'before' photo without it.

It even takes the focus off the chairs (somewhat). So now I'm back on the chair cover re-do project. But this time, I'm going in simple. I've decided on some simple chair slips to go right over the top.

No zips, no wadding.

In a plain fabric. Perhaps one of these:

Fabric from Polyvore - light blue & brown tweed

Or this sort of colour - in a microfibre finish - chair for sale on ebay
Wish me luck! Another project to add to the list.


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