I met Ali Clifford (check out her website, Instagram and Twitter here) a few months ago, and she mentioned that she'd found some old chairs by the side of the road which would look great recovered in my fabric - we could do it together and write a blog post about it. Now this appealed to me immediately, although it did take a little while to get a date sorted, and I finally went to see her to work on the chairs last week.
I should start with before pictures really - she had several chairs, but as we had limited time, we chose a pair which matched each other (and which had easily removable seats).
The mid-century style appealed to me straight away, and it was clear that my new Windows fabric would go really well with them. We decided to recover the seats, but were undecided about painting the backs and/or legs as well, so did a little Periscope to see what the world was thinking (my first, although I don't actually appear in it, and only say a few words!). The film is no longer available on Periscope, but I know Ali was planning to save it, so if I can I'll link to it here at a later date.
Ali has recently had a new carpet, and suggested we use some of the leftover underlay to pad the seats out a bit - this meant that we could retain the lovely shape, but make them a little more comfortable. I drew around the seat and then cut an identical shape from the underlay.
I then stacked the underlay on top of the seat, and used this as a guide to draw a template on brown paper- I needed to allow enough fabric to wrap over and leave a decent amount on the back. I pinned the brown paper template to the fabric and cut two pieces - one for each chair.
It was then time to get the staple gun out! I placed the fabric face down on the floor, the underlay into the centre of the fabric piece, and then the seat back, face down on top...
Starting in the centre on the longest side (closest to me), I put one staple in and hammered it down (my staple gun is a little temperamental, and the staples usually end up sticking out a bit!). I then took the centre of the fabric on the opposite side and pulled it tight, before stapling and hammering that in place too. I repeated this with both of the short ends, then turned over to check it was nice and tight and not over or under stretched.
I worked along the bottom and top edges in the same way, adding more staples, then the sides and finally the trickier bit - the corners. This fabric isn't too thick (and the current fabric weight I'm using is a little too light for heavy usage on chairs - I'm looking into a proper furnishing weight version), so I was able to simply fold the corners without the need to cut any fabric away. Ali helped to hammer in the staples...
And it was finished!
I then repeated this for the second chair seat. We were really pleased with how they looked, but continued to umm and err about painting the backs.
Just look at Ali's telephone (it's by Wild and Wolf)! Eventually we decided to paint the backs in an Annie Sloan grey paint (Ali had a yellow and a grey, but the yellow was the wrong shade - I think the grey worked well though). Here's Ali doing the painting - apparently you don't need to sand back when using chalk paint - although it did get a good wipe down first).
We then replaced the seats again and they were complete - I think you'll agree it was definitely worth adding the paint as it's finished them off really nicely.
We're so pleased with them, that we're thinking of having a go with the remaining chairs and one of my other fabrics - I'm not sure which would be best though at the moment. The chairs are almost identical in style - which design do you think would work best? South Bank maybe?
Oh, and here's another shot of that phone (just because!)...