Desk Chair Transformation {from ugly and boring to cute and sassy}

Today I am working on some crafting, redoing centered around my desk chair.  I have had the idea for a long time, to recover our ugly, well-used desk chair.  Several options were swimming around in my head.  I knew I wanted it removable for washing.  {Since I have messy children.}  I knew I wanted it to be durable.  I knew I wanted it to be cute {since I had been living with ugly boring for so long}.  We really have had this chair for probably 10 years.  It functions fine – it just looks awful.  So, after bouncing around many ideas in my head I settled on the fabric and the details.  All the necessary supplies…I already had!!  Here is what I ended up with!!!  

I am excited beyond belief!!!  It is exactly what I wanted and even more!!!  {I’m sorry for all the exclamation marks, but man I love it when I can actually create what is in my head!!!}

Isn’t it ca-ute?!?  Considering what I started with I would say a much needed improvement.  
The most fun part was digging pulling my sewing machine out of the closet.  I haven’t sewn in forever!!  I truly believe that if you have a machine and know some basic skills – you can slip-cover just about anything.  I learned long ago from watching DIY television the way I start a slipcover.  Drape your fabric – cut quite a bit bigger than the piece – over the piece you are trying to cover and then pull out your pins.  Start pinching and pinning all the way around the piece.  Now you have you sewing guide.    

you might notice that the fabric in these picture look a little whiter than the others- it is – I was going to line it and decided against it – because I’m too lazy :), and it really wasn’t necessary.

Take your piece to the machine and sew right on the line created by your pins.  Easy peasy!!  {If you are using a fabric that has a definite wrong and right side, make sure the right side (the pretty side) of the fabric is facing or against the piece you are covering – ugly side showing.}  

Trim off the excess fabric, leaving about an inch outside the seam.  Then you will want press/iron your seams “open”/flat.  This piece has some curves on it, so I clipped the corner seams every so often so they would lie flat.  Then turn it inside out and “try it on”.  
For the seat, you may just want to take apart the chair and staple the fabric to the bottom.  But, I wanted mine to be removable, so I decided the best way to do that was to use elastic.  I cut a piece of fabric {which is a canvas drop cloth BTW}, large enough that it will fold under the edges of the seat well.  When I cut, I cut a square.  Obviously my chair seat is not a square exactly.  So, I folded the piece in fourths {half one way and then half the other way} and cut a curve on the four corners.  I folded it so I could cut the curves at the same time, so the curves would be the same.  

Somethings do not need to be perfect and this is one of them.  Now, this part could be a little tricky if you have never sewn before.  You will need to sew a narrow hem all the way around your piece.  Then you will need to create a “casing” for the elastic.  I find it helpful to use my iron here.  I fold, and press down the edge wide enough to sew the edge and still have room for the elastic to go through easily.  {about 1/4″ larger than the elastic you are using – I used 1/4″ wide elastic}  After you have your fold pressed all the way around the piece – back to the machine.

Stitch on top of the stitching line you made when you hemmed the edge, making sure you leave a little opening at the end to put the elastic through.  Cut your elastic the same size as the bottom of the chair.  {better for it to be too big than too small}  Thread the elastic through the casing.  Try it on and pull the elastic until you have a tight fit.  Then you will need to stitch the ends of the elastic together at it’s tightened point.  I use zig-zag for this and go back and forth across several times to secure the pieces together.  

Then sew up the hole.  I used this same procedure for the arm-rest covers.  
I could have very well stopped here – much improved all ready, but I wanted to add some cuteness.  First, I decided to try my hand at an initial stencil.  Again, using what I had, I printed a G with a font I liked, as large as I could get it on one page.  Then, I traced the G onto some clear contact paper.  Very carefully, I cut out the inside of the G – leaving a sticky stencil.  The edges were all curling up so I put some heavy books on it overnight – worked like a charm.  

Pealing off the paper backing from the contact paper proved to be pretty tricky.  Then I placed the stencil in the middle of the back of my chair cover, pressing down all the edges really good.  I pulled out the paint I used on my front door, and a sponge brush, and went to work.  I squished off most the paint on my brush each time to help keep it from bleeding beyond the stencil.  Perfect!!  



Then I decided to treat the bottom of the back cover with some pleated “trim”.  Again, this might be a little tricky for someone with less sewing knowledge, so no tutorial on that – this time :).  I really did wing it on this part.  I barely measured the piece of fabric I used and eyeballed the size of the pleats.  It’s not perfect, but I love the way it turned out!!!


Here again, a before and after for your viewing pleasure.  


I have a couple of other “home office” improvements in store that I will hopefully be able to show you soon!!  

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