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Monday, October 15, 2012

Curtains & Re-covering Chairs


This project was completed in an afternoon, but I can't take all the credit. My partner-in-crime was my roommate and all-around awesome person Kari Lott. We are fortunate enough to have a dedicated game room in our house, but it gets incredibly hot during the day because it has several large windows and gets a lot of direct sunlight. Using some old curtains of various sizes, we made new curtains and used the same fabric to recover a couple of chairs.

We had one red curtain that was a single panel and a set of patterned curtains. We used the extra valances to lengthen the shorter curtains. Because of the type of print, we had to line the prints up before cutting. This type of fabric was also very prone to unraveling so we used a French Seam to attach the pieces. The red curtain simply had to be cut in half so that it would be narrow enough for the window.

We found two of these chairs at Goodwill for $6/each. While they are much more comfortable than the uncushioned chairs we'd previously been using for our regular game nights, were weren't fans of the fabric. So we used the leftover fabric from the curtains to fashion our new seat covers. We measured the seat and determined that with 1/4" seam allowance on each side, our seat was 20x20". We measured the side height of the seat and determined that our side panels should be 5" tall. We sewed the sides to the main seat panel first.

Next, you'll need to sew the corners. For this, we basically did a little fabric origami. We folded the panel on the diagonal so that the side seams line up.

The picture at the right shows where you will be sewing your corner seam once you have it pinned. We recommend that you start from the unfinished edge and sew toward the seat panel as indicated by the arrows in the photo; we recommend this because it will be difficult for you to get your needle in just the right spot if you start at your previous seam and sew away from the seat panel. You don't need to worry about finishing the side panels because they'll be stapled to the bottom of your seat cushion and won't be visible when the project is complete.

Next we put the covers on the seat cushion and pulled the sides down so the cover fit snugly. This took a little effort since we were not able to remove the arms of the chairs and instead had to finesse the new cover between the arm and cushion.

You'll want to staple one side at a time and make sure that you pull the cover as tight as you can so you don't end up with any extra fabric or puckering on your cushion. If you have enough extra fabric, you can fold the unfinished edge under so it won't be visible.

For the back of the chair,  we had a single seam on each side that only went halfway down the back cushion to accommodate where the back is attached to the arms of the chair.

We slipped the cover over the top of the cushion and stapled the back piece first and wrapped the the front piece around and folded it over before stapling it so there would be a clean edge.
As a finishing touch, we trimmed the fraying fabric and used craft glue on the edges under the cushion to help keep the unfinished material from continuing to unravel. Depending on the fabric you use, this step might not be necessary but (as previously noted) our fabric frayed very easily.

When it was all said and done, we had two newly covered chairs and three new curtains.

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