Monday, January 3, 2011

When I saw I lost a follower this morning, I slammed my mouse on its soft pad.

POST EDIT: I found a picture of my chair in the background of a photo of me.

We usually put our coats on it to cover its fugliness.

This week and next, I am trying to recover this load of wood and cotton:

That's right everyone (all 89 of you), I am recorvering my living room chair. I bought this chair about a year ago when Steve and I were living in our tiny 400 sq ft apartment in P-town (Provo). The chair was so large that we couldn't fit it in our living room/office/sewing room/dining room. We left it in our Rav-4 for three months till we moved in the apartment we are in now. Yes, we lived like white-trash for a few months, but you gotta do what you gotta do. 
I was dumb and didn't get a picture of the chair before I tore it apart. I didn't like looking at it really-- it had a New Mexico theme going on. But when I saw it for $75 on KSL, I knew I wanted to recover it and make it my own one day. We bought it, and I dreamed of its new clothing for a whole year.

Early in December, I had just cleaned my whole apartment and I was feeling very energetic and go-getter-like. I saw the chair as it stained my entire blue and gray living room with its nasty South-American themes. I grabbed my beautiful sewing scissors, and started cutting, tearing, and pulling, until all that ugliness was gone. Mind you, I am smart enough to realize that I needed to keep all the pieces whole in order to know exact dimensions for the new fabric. If you have a chair you are dying to recover, I council you to just start tearing and ripping, and you will learn how to recover it through the process. Luckily my chair is only upholstered on the seat, with craftsman style handrails, so I don't have to deal with recovering arms. Steve and I sanded and stained the arms ourselves (which took 4 days to dry because we put it on too thick, and probably have to re-do from gunk falling on it those four days on our balcony). 

Blogger is being dumb again and won't put my photo right. The handrails do look good, just don't look too closely, thanks.
I am really excited to do this, mostly because it is one thing I have always wanted to do but never been brave enough to try. Now I am! I am seamstress and i can do this!

If anyone has recovered a chair and has any pointers for me, please leave them in my comment section or email me. Thank you much.


  1. Are you using the old cushion covers as a pattern? I find that getting the fabric straight (that strip that goes around the edges of the cushions looks horrible when it isn't lined up just right with the corners of the top and bottom pieces) is probably the hardest point, so my recommendation is to be sure that you are sewing it evenly on both sides. Maybe once you sew it to the top (or bottom) you can measure how far it was to the corner and then mark it on the other side of the strip so it is even? It all kind of depends on the construction of the cushion cover, I suppose.

  2. Ellen, I have a question for you. How have you learned so much about patternmaking with knits? I find there is much more material (ha) out there about patternmaking with wovens - any suggestions?

  3. Richelle:

    I never learned how to make patterns with knits until I tried it. Nothing in school except for bathing suit patterns. Basically, you have to shrink down every side of a pattern, then cut it out, sew it up, and try it on. It is ALL trial and error. Luckily with knits, it is easier to sew and cut out than wovens (much more mold-able).

    For starters, find a knit pattern shirt that you like (I suggest McCall's 6164) and make it to fit you perfectly, then transfer all the alterations to the pattern, and use that as your base for all others. If you want to make it into a dress, then just add a skirt. If you want a coat, then add some room to the sides and sleeves-- it is that easy and simple. Don't be afraid! Buy cheap-o knit to use first.

    I hope that helps!

  4. Ellen,

    Thank you so much, you were very helpful! I think I have been greatly intimidated by knits because I haven't worked with them much, but I feel like they are a must-know because in order to create pieces that match much of what is popular right now you have to be able to sew and manipulate them. I love reading your blog :) It is very inspiring! Thanks for everything