Well, I’m REALLY late on this post but what the heck, life (aka work) gets in the way of the things we want to do sometimes. We hosted our first family gathering complete with homemade fried chicken (per my mom’s request) and other deliciousness for Mother’s Day in May and I was super excited to have everyone over and cook my first big meal in MY OWN KITCHEN. But let me tell you…8 lbs of chicken is a LOT of cooking! Since I was busy cooking fried chicken for an army I neglected to take any pictures of the spread (as did the husband) so you’ll have to wait until next time to see my kitchen in all it’s messy action glory. The one thing this get together really forced us (let’s be real, ME) to do is to finally reupholster the chairs I had for our dining room! I had never reupholstered anything before, so it was certainly a learning experience, but I watched a bunch of videos and got down to business.
The chairs that I was reupholstering were pretty simple, 4 mid-century cafe chairs with a cushioned seat that I found on eBay and a pair of chairs that were in my parents attic to round out the set. I picked out the fabric AGES ago with my mom on a trip to our local fabric shop. I explained to the owner that I was looking for chartreuse and teal velvet that were similar in weight which resulted in a trip downstairs to where they store all of the fabric. OH. MY. GOODNESS. It was a goldmine! I could have spent all day down there, but alas, we were on a mission. Luckily enough, we came across a bolt of the perfect shade of chartreuse that had just enough on it to do all 4 cafe chairs and a bolt of teal that I could use for the 2 chairs that would be used as head chairs.
Fast forward a couple of months and it’s the Friday night before Mother’s Day and everyone is coming over and the cafe chairs are still gross old fake black leather and ripped tweed (courtesy of my parent’s old cat) and I had to at least give re-upholstering a shot.
Disclaimer: Since I truly value blogs who tell it like it is, and not make everything seem all rainbows and butterflies on the first attempt, I’m going to share this less than perfect project. Not all projects work out well on the first shot, and this is certainly one of those for me. So don’t judge me and the fact that this project is going on 2.5 months and still not complete!
I started by laying out the fabric with the new foam for the cushions I had cut, I drew an outline to make sure I had an even amount of space to work with for each piece then got to cutting! This was probably the most nerve wracking part of the process because there was only a finite amount of fabric I had for each color so I couldn’t get this wrong. In the end, I over-estimated by a lot, but that’s better than underestimating, right?
Once I had the fabric cut, it was time to staple. I have an Arrow Fastener manual staple gun which we bought from Lowe’s a while ago that was pretty darn cheap and did a pretty good job. It was a little confusing to start with because it looks like it’s backwards, but once I got the hang of it I was on a roll stapling away. Since I was so afraid of not having enough fabric, I think I overdid it and need to go back and cut a good amount of fabric off so it doesn’t hang down and likely cover the mess of the underside with some canvas/muslin type of fabric. (So many steps, but it’ll be worth it to make the mess less noticeable!)
I definitely took my time on the first 2 cushions, but then it was getting really late and I was getting really tired, and the husband was asleep on the couch next to me recovering from jet-lag on his trip home from Singapore…so I may have rushed through the cafe chairs (but they needed to get done!). This unfortunately means that I have to take the chartreuse cushions off again, pull the fabric tighter, cut off more excess fabric and do the backs of the teal chairs (which I’m not even entirely sure I know how to tackle).
If you have any interest in learning from my mistakes here are the things I would do differently next time:
- TAKE YOUR TIME! Yes, I know, this is rather obvious. But my rationale for doing this late at night was that what I was doing was relatively simple, these were just seat cushions that needed to be stapled together. While I wasn’t wrong per se, I definitely would have done a better job on the chartreuse cushions the first time around if I took more time to pull these tighter and trim the excess fabric as I went along.
- Have extra hands available. My project partner fell asleep so clearly I can blame him that the cushions need to be pulled tighter since he wasn’t there to help, right?
- Measure the fabric you’re cutting for each cushion rather than eyeballing. Again, this might seem obvious but because it was my first time, I was more concerned with having too little than too much when too much can be a problem too. Thinking back on it, I knew how thick the piece of wood and foam were, I should have measured those, added a little bit of wiggle room and then cut. Now I’m left with clumpy messes underneath the seats that I need to re-do.
All in all, I’m not too disappointed in how this project came out, and I’m sure it’ll look 1,000 times better once I get my act together and finish it up 😉 Here’s what it looked like ready for fried chicken!
…and some pictures of my homemade fried chicken for good measure 🙂
Until next time!
p.s. If you would be interested in recipes/meal ideas on this blog, let me know!