5 years ago

So how has everyone been??? I'm sorry I've been neglecting my blog. I've been so busy with some new things to try. Like this new chair! Please, please leave a comment and let me know what you think....or if you can help me learn how to post some pictures on here so I can show you more of what I've been doing and the things I'm planning to do. Thanks!

Image02272013103111 I found this old, interesting, neglected, smelly, (did I say "old"?) chair and thought, "What could I do with that??" So I bought her and brought her home and there she sat, in my living room, right in the middle of everything, for several weeks. I walked around her, (as did everyone else), but I studied her bones and tried to imagine what her life had been like before.... Before the bites on her ankles, before the sun faded her face, before the gouges in her sides, before the smells permiated her very soul. Aggghhhh! Too much time had gone by to be able to restore her to her original beauty. Soooooo, time for a complete and total makeover! Who doesn't like that?

I found this fabric at Goodwill for a very reasonable price. Someone started making curtains out of it. It's a very heavy, canvas type fabric and I thought this would be perfect for upholstery! BUT... It's so far out of MY comfort zone. I'm a little more conservative and traditional but my husband keeps reminding me, it's not always about me. What???!

So on to the makeover... first, I had to remove all the smelly old fabric and get down to the bones of the matter. I put her upside down and just looked at how each piece of fabric was put on over the next. As I took her apart, piece by piece, I wrote them all down. I started at the bottom of a page of paper and worked my way up to the top, noting each piece as I went. (This makes it soooo much easier to put it back together when you're ready). Some of the fabric was so rotton, it fell apart in my hands as I worked to remove it.

I removed all the staples one by one. (I use a screw driver to pry them up a little and then a pair of needle nose pliers to finish pulling them out). If I couldn't get them out (like if they broke) I used my hammer to drive it into the wood so it wouldn't scratch me when I went to put it all back together again.

After all the staples and old fabric was removed I looked over the mess I had in front of me. I have a naked boned chair, a pile of rotting fabric (I needed to use for a pattern for the new pieces so I can't throw it away yet), a couple pieces of squished, dirty foam, some old cotton batting, and the used up cord from the piping around the chair.

Where to start??? Should I fix the bones first or fix the fabric? Logically, I thought, I need to fix the chair so I can have something to fix the fabric to right? Well, truth is, I had to work on both at the same time.

I used some wood putty to fix the deepest gouges in her legs. One was so bad I had to fill it several times, wait for it to dry, and sand it to shape as I went. After it was completely dried,  I used some clear, top coat spray paint to "seal" the putty so my ANNIE SLOAN CHALK PAINT would go on smoothly and not "show" where the putty marks were. I painted the arms, legs, and cross members in ASCP OLD WHITE and gave it a good hand wax with clear wax. After some light distressing with the sander, she looks great for her age!! I don't know why exactly, but some of the finished paint "crackled" when it dried. Not all over, just in some spots. I thought, "Wow! Now that's cool".  I decided to leave the old cane sides in for stability for my makeover.

Inbetween bouts of putty, I worked on the fabric for the chair. I re-used the old piping. When I took it apart, I found the most unusual substance. It looked alot like the fiber a naugahide(sp) dog bone is made out of. It's kinda stiff, but a little flexible, cream colored, with a plastic feel. (The end did look like a dog had gotten ahold of it! Hey, maybe that explains the chew marks on her legs). I knew the measurements were right because it had come off the chair right? So I covered it with the new fabric and voila!! New piping!

I don't recommend this to everyone, but it worked for me. Remember the squished, dirty foam? I thought "I've got nothing to lose" so I sent it through my washer! OMG! It came out so nice! Smell's gone, dirt's gone, squish is gone. So I tossed it in the dryer...watched it close, checked it often, and so happy! New foam! And it fits the chair!

After Christmas, you can find some great deals. I found batting (aka "Buffalo Snow") on sale at K-Mart for 49cents a bag! Ah-ha!! This is just the thing I needed to use for filler. I placed it against the caning on  the outside of the back and for each side of the chair. After the cavity was filled, I covered that with some blanket batting and lightly stapled it into place. On the inside of the chair, I used a thicker piece of blanket batting and stapled it into place.

Now it is time to cover her back up!

I replaced the piping on the bottom of the chair. If I had to do this again, I would have stapled it to the seat cushion wood instead of the chair itself, but I was following my list I had created earlier. Live & learn.

I then folded some newspaper to use as a pattern for the inside/outside of the chair. Then I cut my fabric. Boy was that a challenge! It just bugs me to no end to see something made and the patterns don't line up! I know, I know, a little OCD but I just think it looks so much better if things line up. It may take a little more time, effort, fabric and patience, but it's so worth it. Well, as you can see, this fabric is WILD!!! It was quite the chore to make sure it matched up. 

I covered the inside of my chair back and sides first because I knew the seat would have to rest against them. I stapled them in place all around the top and smoothed and worked it to fit the contours of the chair and then stapled it to the bottom.

Next was the seat. I used the foam from the old seat (after laundering) but there were some "divits" left in the foam from the buttons and years of being condensed, so I filled them with "batting balls", then covered the whole seat with blanket batting to smooth everything out. After a few tacked staples, I went to work on the fabric for the seat. Since I already had the back completed, I was able to match up the pattern quite easily for the seat. (It's not exact, because the fabric pattern is so wild but it is so close!). I stapled about 3 tacks in the front, then the back, pulling it tight and working out the wrinkles, then each side 3 X 3, and kept working my way around the seat leaving the corners till last. I folded them over from one side of the corner to the other and stapled it all down, cutting the excess as needed.

Then the seat was secured back on the chair with the original screws.

Next was the back seat cushion. I used the old fabric for a pattern and the old cording was recovered with new fabric. When I was putting the piping together, I saw that there was a split in the piping. Oh well, I thought, it's gonna be centered in the cushion and it probably won't show. Boy was I surprised!! I love how life gives you "happy accidents". See how the top of the cushion has a heart shape? TOTALLY happy accident! So after the new back cushion was sewn up, I attached it to the back of the chair with newly covered buttons and attached them to the old caning with several strands of upholtery thread, tied in several knots.

Now that the inside is done, the back cushion is on and the seat is in, it's time to cover the back. My fabric was just wide enough to cover the entire chair without piecing it together. I did however need to cut some gussetts for the top to fit correctly. I stapled it all the way around, top & bottom, sides and underneath.

I then took my hot glue gun, some beautiful black braid and finished my chair by covering all the edges (and staples).

It's hard to belive it's the same chair....well, I guess she's really not is she? Makeovers are like that right? Now if I can get one scheduled for me.....

Till next time,


 P.S. this chair can be seen at


or on Facebook or at their store...

Serendipity Vintage Furnishings

2580 State St.

Salem, Oregon

(I've GOT to figure out how to post pics on here!)

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