Tuesday, February 12, 2013

A Chair of Pink Perfection

I always have such grand plans about blogging more often. I love reading blogs by others, and I have always enjoyed writing, but somehow it's difficult for me to actually sit down and write what's on my mind. I actually wrote a post about this a few months ago. I think everything I said then was true, and still is, yet somehow I still haven't written since August.

Oh well! Hopefully I'll get better soon. I always tell myself that I'll start blogging when I have something interesting to write about, and soon I will! There's all sorts of exciting things happening in our household (hint: we're buying a house!!), so going forward there might actually be something interesting for me to share. But I guess the point is the sharing, and not the interesting-ness. Right?

So, speaking of my lazy blogging self, I realized that it's been a year since I showed the blogosphere that glider we picked up on the side of the road. A year! I'm notorious for bringing in supplies for projects and having big plans, but never getting around to accomplishing them. Who isn't right? But this one I actually got on right away. And I'm kind of ashamed that I haven't shown you the results yet, because it might be my best project to date.

As a reminder, here's what the chair looked like when we picked it up:

Don't mind the laundry and grocery bags in the background. This was last year when we were still living in our college apartment, with no laundry in-house and no grocery store within 20 miles. When we went to visit Dave's brother, we brought a week's worth of dirty laundry and did the grocery shopping on the way home. After going curb-shopping, apparently.

What can I say, we were classy college people.

It really wasn't all that hard to decide what to do with it. I had some awesome pink fabric laying around from a curtain project that never happened, and it seemed like a good solution. Granted, I did freak out a little bit because, really, pink furniture? Who am I, Barbie? (Actually, I think I am Elle Woods at heart. Legally Blonde is still the best motivational movie, ever.) Ironically, Dave didn't skip a beat. Somehow, pink furniture bothered me, his pink obsessed wife, more than it bothered him. Yet another reason I married him.

So, once I got over my once-in-a-lifetime fear of pink, I dove in. I did search the interwebs (or, mostly Pinterest) for other people who had recovered similar gliders, but I had a pretty good idea going in of what had to be done. That initial idea turned out to be a very good thing, because I found very few tutorials.

Basically, I took the old cushions apart with a seam ripper (used to only break the threads, not to tear through the fabric) and used the resulting pieces as pattern pieces for my new fabric. I just pinned it down and cut them out. I was sort of careful to label the pieces as I went, but I wish I had been a bit better. It ended up not mattering much because when it comes down to it, there is one way to sew the "cushion back piece" to the "cushion front piece," and it doesn't really matter which is which. If the cushion didn't fit terribly well, I just took it out, flipped it over and reinserted it. Easy-peasy.

I did carefully mark where all the snaps and ties went, and added those in as necessary. On the back of the chair, I did originally forget to include the snap tabs, but they were easy enough to add as an afterthought. I just used my trusty seam-ripper to undo the seam a few inches around where the tab needed to be inserted, added the tab, and stitched up the hole!

There were a few tricky spots, however. For example, stitching up the bottom of each of the cushions was tricky, to say the least. I did manage to use my little sewing machine, but it was a group effort, and the resulting seams are not exactly nice to look at. Dave had to help me hold the cushion up as I forced the edge under the presser foot and attempted to keep some semblance of a straight line going.

The arm rests were also a pain in the tush. Since they wrap around the arm of the chair, they're kind of a funny shape. Also, the part on top of the arm is much thicker than the barrier on the side. Throw in there an extra snap tab and things got all kinds of confusing. It was like a puzzle trying to put all those pieces together again, and on top of it I had to shove the whole thing through my poor sewing machine to stitch that dividing line between the arm rest and the side thingie (that's the technical term).

Maybe you can see the funny shape better there.

I'm happy to say that it did eventually all turn out okay. The pieces not only fit together, but even fit on the chair. Hooray!

The final difficulty I had was putting the pretty darts back into the chair. Initially, I thought that maybe I'd skip them and it would still look okay. Nope. It looked like a baggy over-sized T-shirt on my skinny teenage self. Not a good look. I knew there was no way I'd fit that three-inch cushion through my poor machine, and so I slowly resigned myself to stitching it by hand.

Thankfully, since I was reusing the original cushions, there were deep grooves in the foam to guide my uncertain stitching hand. I knew that hand sewing such prominent lines with white thread would be a mistake, so I decided to use invisible thread. Then, I did what any smart girl would: I put on Prince of Persia and started sewing (there's nothing quite like a shirtless Jake Gyllenhaal to take away the pain of hand sewing).

All that to say, I did eventually get the chair done, and I'm so, so happy with it!

I love it. It's the most comfortable seat in the house, and the most stylish to boot! What about you? Do you think the pink fabric was a good choice? Have you ever tried to reupholster anything? I'd love to hear your thoughts! 


Dave said...

Agreed! Very nice work on the chair!

Nance said...

married over 40 years (and frugal) I have tried upholstering 8 or 10 times. I'd say I was 80% successful. I love your chair; the pink works and doesn't it just give you satisfaction that you saved the chair from the landfill and gave it a new life. Good job! I hope you get back to posting and show us where you are with house and baby now.