8.19.2011

simple wool covered chair

When I was pregnant with Smootch, I kept hearing about a thing called 'nesting'.  Apparently this is a stage when a woman near the end of her pregnancy will suddenly feel compelled to prepare her home environment for her anticipated newborn.  I was told I would know when I'm nesting because I would suddenly begin cleaning like possessed madwoman or organizing long neglected photo albums or laying sod.  The urge to nest, I was warned, is completely undeniable and it's best to capitalize on this manic energy because I will not have any after the baby arrives.

Well, they were right about not having any energy post-baby, but I never did have that urge to nest.  No burst of energy for me, unless you count late night slurpee raids at the corner store.  I've always felt a little left out, and embarrassed because my photo albums are still empty and stacked under growing piles of loose photos.

Which is why it pleases me enormously that I've recently begun taking a genuine interest in the way my house is decorated.  Which isn't to say that I have mad energy to burn - oh, would that ever be wonderful! - but that I am actually, really real, taking the initiative and trying to perk the place up a bit.  It feels like I'm nesting now, though, without the energy.  Or time.  And three and a half years too late from my last pregnancy.  But, hey, something is better than nothing, yes?

Of course, with the taking on of the mega home decorating project, my immediate reaction is to bury myself alive in decorating books and becoming entirely overwhelmed with the possibilities.  And then I freeze, dreading the amount of work involved in it all.  I am quite good at biting off way more than I can handle and then procrastinating until the whole thing gets pushed aside by life happening.

Lucky for me, I have next to no money to decorate anything, so my choices are quite a bit slimmed down.  Also, my tastes are currently running towards minimalist, which also helps keep the vision within my budget.  To prevent the inertia of not starting, I decided I would tackle a small project, something I could start and finish in under an hour.  Get that initial happy feeling from a job well done and use that to spring board myself into something more involved.

So, here we go with the first of several tutorials for the frugal, green, busy, minimalist decorators here:

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I am starting my decorating journey with a stack of second hand blankets I picked up at thrift stores recently.  Most of the blankets are in neutrals tones, heavy on texture, and of natural fibres.  All of them cost under seven dollars each.  Pictured below is a cotton bed sheet, a king size raw linen duvet, a cotton bedspread, a patchwork quite, two flannel blankets and two rough wool blankets.

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In the basement of our new house I had found an abandoned vinyl covered chair.  It was still pretty sturdy and I thought that I would work well in our unheated front porch.  Though the vinyl was in good shape, despite a few paint splatters, the look of the chair was uninspiring and I thought recovering it would be a good way to make the first cut in my pile of blankets and avoid the procrastination that big new projects tends to bring out in me.
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With a bit effort on Birdie's part,

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the chair cleaned up quite nicely.

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Taking the seat off by unscrewing it from the bottom, I laid it down on the wool blanket and cut a piece just a bit bigger.  There was a paper covering on the bottom that was in terrible shape and I removed that first.  The vinyl I left on because it was still entirely intact and provides a waterproof surface to protect the foam underneath.  If I had pulled it off, however, I would of added more padding to the chair to make it more comfy.

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With a stapler, I pulled the blanket tight around the edges and secured in place.  The picture below is with just a few staples.  The finished seat has over a hundred staples in it and the excess blanket trimmed.

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The seat was then reattached to the chair with screws.

For the top, I made a very simple slip cover to go over the vinyl backing.  Recovering the back would of actually been quite labour intense, but the slip cover took only fifteen minutes to create and looks just as neat as a recovering would of.

This slip cover is just a rectangle.  I measured the width,

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length,

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and depth.

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To cut the blanket, I used the length times two plus the depth for one side of a rectangle.  The other side was the width plus half the depth plus a seam allowance.

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Folding it all in half (right sides together) and sewing the sides closed completed the cover.  Since I used wool, I did not need to hem the bottom, but most other materials will need a hem and extra fabric for it will need to be taken into account before any fabric is cut.

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With the slip cover turned right side out and dropped over the back, the chair is finished.  Given some time and inspiration in the future, perhaps after the snow falls and I'm feeling the need for colour, I may do some decorative stitching or applique on the back.  For right now, however, I've got a whole lot of more things to recover, curtain and paint, so I'll just enjoy the simplicity of the design and natural covering.

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3 comments:

  1. I was the same way with my first; both 7-11s in my area knew my boyfriend and me by name/favorite Slurpee flavor by the 2nd trimester.

    I love the idea of leaving the vinyl; I have a sewing chair that needs a little loving and I think I'll be leaving that vinyl on. :)

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  2. I didn't really nest with my first baby. I went way overdue with him, my mother came and made me nest. He was born two days later at 43 weeks.

    I think your chair is adorable! I love grey, and I can see you sprucing it up with some bright embroidery. Good luck with the procrastination. If you find a cure let me know, I could use one.

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  3. I have the opposite problem. I am in the process of de-cluttering/packing up and I am really overwhelmed by the amount of crap my family has acquired. It is both a blessing and a curse that I have a while to get the packing done. Means I can put it off for way to long...

    Love the chair! I want to do the minimalist thing at our next house. I love the thought that less is more :)

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