Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Back in the (reupholstered) saddle!

Yes, I've neglected my blog FOR MONTHS, and I have no good reason other than . . . laziness? reticence? diffidence?  Maybe the first with the other two liberally sprinkled in.  But as I've become more and more invested as a blog follower . . . I've decided to get hopping here again.  With two kids home all summer (and one working!), I've been pretty consumed with parenting, but as it is, I also have been getting our family room out of the doldrums and kitted out a bit.  I sewed some new pillows and have a few more planned. But my big transformation is the "found-on-the-side-of-the-road" chair brought over from Virginia.  If you can believe it, it was pristine when I found it set out for the taking on the sidewalk of a recently sold house.  It had practically new beige ticking upholstery underneath a brocade slipcover from fancy schmancy and defunct furniture store Domain.  But after four years of hard usage this is what it looked like:
I don't think this picture even does the grime justice!  Of course, I've already taken a hammer to it in this photo.  

What I wanted was something more like this:

Wow! Right?!  It's from the London shop Squint Limited.  I can't tell you how many times I've gone there to oggle the sofas, chairs, chaises, etc. But, the shop is in London and, well, chair prices start in the neighborhood of 3000 British pounds.  So I'm not in the geographic or the financial neighborhood of Squint. 
I had never done a proper reupholstery job -- a few chair seat recovers, some slipcover action, but nothing that required an electric staple gun.  And then I purchased an electric staple gun. Now nothing stood in the way of the Squintification of above chair -- no power tool and certainly not a lack of  fabric!
Anyone who knows me, I mean really knows me, knows about my large and ever-growing fabric stash.  Stash is really not the right word for it.  This cannot be stashed . . . it has to be stored in dedicated bins and closets -- occasional pruning has to occur.  It's more like an inventory than a stash. It includes fabrics that belonged to my grandmother, a couple of bins of upholstery (!) samples from the decorator shop my mother's friends shut down in the '90s, freecycle acquisitions, garage sale acquisitions, proper fabric shop purchases, mail order, ebay, thoughtful parcels from my mother-in-law.  What can I say?  I'm a fabric magnet (don't use the word addict).  
This surfeit of fabric, of course, makes this project even more apropos for a peripatetic creative type like me.  I took as my starting point this Heather Ross "Far, Far, Away" unicorn print (I interfaced it to give it upholstery heft since it's a soft cotton woven):
Then I kept loosely to a palette of green, yellow, orange, and pink (with a little blue, too).  I stacked up the fabric bits, mixing and matching as bins were dumped out all over the living room (to my husband's dismay).  Then I painstakingly removed the old fabric from the chair, disassembled the pieces to use as a pattern, then pieced each section.  I was impatient, so each section went on as it was pieced, and bit by bit, the chair came together . . . but no photos were taken of the process.  I'm a hapless blogger.   Until the end!  VOILA!  Here she is, my Squintified chair in her many sided glory: front



A little wonky in some parts and then the use of pom-pom trim -- not something you'll find on a real Squint chair.  But, it certainly neatens up first-time upholstery glitches. All in all, what a chair revival! And now I have my sight set on this little piece.  My trusty power stapler is ready . . . but it's button upholstery . . . am I?