Thursday, 16 September 2010

A Little Bit Of Elbow Grease

Over the last few days I have been busy, busy, busy getting stock ready for the shop. I am much better at buying than I am at selling my stock - no surprise there! But my house is totally overflowing now, and while Mr. Thing and Little Thing 1 are away (more about that later), I have been working through some of my backlog. But it can't just be work, work, work, can it? So I have picked a favourite project to keep my creative juices flowing.
Yes, I love a chair project. I think it's because I get to do a little bit of everything - and I haven't done anything with fabric for ages. So, how did it start out? Well, this chair came from auction as part of a lot which I was after for the Lloyd Loom Chair (ah yes, that's another project yet to be finished...). This is what it looked like when it came home.

Not the nicest thing is it? But, I could see from the shape that it did have potential. So, first step was to take the seat out and sand down the woodwork. Then I applied some white primer.

... and it's already looking better. Another coat of primer, and then it's time to crack open the tin of Farrow and Ball. I love applying that first coat of F&B - it's so exciting to see how it transforms the furniture. This time I was using eggshell in Bone, which is a fabulous soft grey - it seems to take on the colour of whatever is around it, so you can use it in almost any colour scheme, and it has that sort of "already used" feel.
So after another coat of the F&B it was ready for the most time consuming part of the whole process - choosing the fabric to recover the seat. This takes me for ever - I had to go through
1) my stash cupboard,
2) my huge box of "washed but not ironed yet" fabrics and linens that I've bought for the shop, and
3) a couple of boxes of "not even looked at properly" linens.
I just needed to find that perfect fabric which suited the style of the chair. I came up with a few possibles, but settled on these vintage curtains.

... a romantic toile de jouy - which was hugely disappointing! Why, you ask? Because I really, really wanted to use either some vintage embroidered linens or some of my funky 70s fabric in some sort of patchwork. But they just didn't suit the chair - especially now I'd painted it in the soft grey colour. So, I reluctantly took the curtains apart and pressed the fabric. Then I used the old cover as a template to cut out the toile, trying to centre up a "scene", and cut some new wadding. My excitement over my new creation was growing now, and it all started to come together rather quickly after that, and I forgot to take any photos of this phase - sorry. But basically my stapler was put to good use!
The secret to getting a good finish, is to take care over the tension of the fabric, leave the corners to last, and take care to create nice neat even folds. It all went really smoothly, I was soooooo happy. All that was needed next was to cut out and sew on some backing to make the seat lovely and neat.

and there is was - all lovely and neat and clean and gorgeously shabby chateau.

But is isn't finished yet - it needs to be distressed. This will have to wait for another day, cos the paint needs more time to get nice and hard before I get to work on it! I have to admit that I find the distressing bit quite hard, cos I like to do a nice paint job, so it hurts to shabby it up! But I know it will look much better once it's done, so I'll steel myself to get down to it tomorrow so that I can get it in the shop before the weekend.

Whilst I was looking through my boxes of linens for this project I came across some of the most lovely hankies, which I just have to share.

This one is my favourite! But these ones are cute too.

And then I found this amaaaaaaazing bright, bright shocking pink HuuuuuuuuuuuGE crochet doiley, isn't it amazing?

So, back to the absence of Mr Thing and Little Thing 1 - they are doing a charity bike ride - from Winchester all the way to Gibraltar - that is a LONG way! And it's for a charity that is very important to me - Cancer Research UK - you can read about it here. Apologies for the quality of the photos, but my usual camera has been taken on the bike trip, so I'm having to use Little Thing 2's camera, which I'm struggling with a bit!


  1. I love a project too and have often painted chairs but never dared try re-upholstering. Yours looks amazing. And isn't it all so much easier when 'they' are not around for some reason!

  2. What a lovely job you made of that chair, can't wait to see it 'distressed'.
    Thanks for your comment on my blog!
    Ali x

  3. Hi
    Thought I would say hello, new to following your blog, and love the chair combonation of the grey and pink, I have an old grey painted chair with no seat at the moment and was going to cover it in natuaral linen, but now you have changed my mind! Kx

  4. I'm getting into painting now.It's really addictive.I've done two pine corner cupboards and the next project is a Lloyd loom type chair.
    Your chair is gorgeous..a wonderful makeover.Where will it live I wonder? :o)

  5. The chair is absolutely gorgeous, and you have definitely chosen the right colour paint and fabric for the seat. I would have a dilemma though, I would want to keep it!!
    Jo xx

  6. It's amazing what a lick of paint can do - great job!


  7. You have excelled yourself!
    The chair now looks as good as new... but only better!



Thank you so much for taking the time to leave me a comment - I really do appreciate every one of them and they make me smile!