Saturday, 5 May 2012

A new chair from old

With the boyf away, I've decided to get a few of the more creative jobs, around the house, that I have wanted to do done.  Most only require one pair of hands and I had the 10yr old till 2pm, so in a sleep-deprived moment of inspiration (madness?) I decided to teach her how to recover a chair.  The armchair in the living room to be precise, the dobe having caught enough of the chenille with her claws to leave in need of a makeover.

Quite by accident, we bought a gorgeous grey, taupe and black leaf print tweed chenille.  Quite different to anything else in the living room, but there are enough hints of grey and black around the room that we'll be able to pull everything together with some new cushions and rug.  It is the only room in the house where everything was chosen to wok with the original colour scheme, it's nice to flex my decorating muscles a little and start to create something new. 

I love recovering chairs; it's a little like a 3D jigsaw, deciding which bits to sew, when and where. We cut each section as rough squares or rectangles; pinned them round the form of the chair, sewed each section, checked it and moved on.  I have never been a huge fan of this armchair, it was a necessity purchase that the boyf and I have always intended to replace with an antique leather armchair, when the right one comes along.  As we worked on it, it was lovely to notice, for the the first time, the curve of the arms as they come round the back of the chair, the matching curve at the base of the front panel; it is actually quite an elegant little chair, it's elegance hidden behind the rather fussy stripes.

The 10yr old has developed a talent for accents, combined (thanks to my father's side of the family) with a happy and humorous ability to play the fool.  The afternoon was punctuated with lots of "Miss Scarlett"'s and "Ooh Rhett!"s: Southern Belle is her new favourite and in an attempt to steer her away from teen Disney, I introduced her to a little Gone with the Wind.  Three quarters of the way through we needed an extra yard of fabric, no bad thing as we'd decided that we also needed to recover the blind that sits directly above the chair!  The existing blind, one of a (happily, already mismatched) pair was too yellow and a too thin faux silk that I never liked.  We went shopping again.

The armchair is meant to be the boyf's man chair... in reality it's the dobe's chair.  

At first, she waited as patiently as possible on the sofa,

before trying to lend a hand!

It took just over 5 hours in the end to finish the chair; including lots of hoovering (the fabric frayed with abandon), an episode of Glee whilst we ate scrambled eggs and numerous cups of tea. It seems to have met with Megs' approval, though the Union Jack cushion will have to go.

Finally, I recovered the blind.  I cheated and simply laid the new fabric over the old, turned in the edges to meet the lining, pinned and slipstitched them in place and then attached the new top layer to the other layers by tacking through all three layers at the points where the rings sit.  It was down, redone and back up in less than an hour.  I'm now eyeing up the other blind as I sit here typing, pondering cushion colours and wondering when we might get the wooden floor laid and a rug down.  But for now, a tired and tatty armchair and a pretty ugly, pointless blind are all better, and for only £70.
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