It's Curtains For You...

I do realize that in my last blog post I stressed the importance of laboring less this Labor Day...but it is the weekend before Labor Day and well, this is fun for me.
Get ready for some D.I.Y, Garage Sale Girly style.

Project: Recovery
(as if there aren't enough tutorials online about what's one more right)

The Makeover Subject: Dining Room Chair Cushions
When the hubby and I first bought our home...almost 7 year ago, He surprised me with a super cool Mid Century Dining room set. I loved everything about it except the fabric on the seat cushions...

Snapshot of the subjects. At the back, is one of the chairs with its original fabric. The fabric could have been worse, but of course I couldn't leave it alone. At the front of this photo is my first attempt at reupholstering the chair cushions about four or five years ago.

It is not that my first attempt at upholstering wasn't successful. The execution was sufficient. 
OK, so I used a few too many staples but it was my first time doing this kind of thing.

The Problem: The New Upholstery Fabric
I chose this vintage looking fabric from Urban Outfitters. I loved the colors and the pattern. It was sold as a bedspread, but I thought this 100% cotton printed fabric would be a perfect cost effective solution to cover the cushions. In theory, yes this worked at first. I didn't account for the fact that we get a lot of sunlight though the patio doors at the back of our house. You could say there was some fading. As much as I tried to rotate the chairs so they would all look equally sun faded I eventually realized my attempts were futile and I should just try and find a new fabric (maybe something meant to be used for upholstery...I know, novel idea).

The Solution: It's Curtains (for you, old faded fabric).
I wasn't going to just settle for any old boring fabric, and being the thrifty gal that I am wasn't going to shell out a ton of money either. I tried the traditional upholstery fabric route and just never got excited about the fabrics that I found. I searched online for any vintage upholstery fabric that might tickle my dice. This went on for about a year and a half (It's not like I obsessed about it everyday, but occasionally when looking for fabrics to use in my etsy shop, my mind would take a detour and I would start searching for fabric for my chairs).

One of two vintage curtain panels I found while at a garage sale. It was fate folded up and peeking out of a box.

I almost didn't stop at that garage sale that day. We were supposed to be going out of town but I had to run to the post office to ship a package. I saw a garage sale sign and even though I only had four dollars in my wallet I couldn't resist the temptation. This lovely pair of vintage curtains were sitting in a cardboard box on the floor of the garage. I asked the lady that was having the sale how much she wanted for them. She told me two dollars... I thought she was talking about just one of the panels but as luck would have it, she was selling the pair for two dollars. I snatched them up and walked around the rest of the sale clutching them at my chest. I had no idea what I was going to use them for but, I really loved the colors and the pattern. The nice lady selling them asked me where I was going to hang them, I told her that I had no idea. She informed me that they had been hanging in her bedroom since the 60's. She loved them because they did a really great job at keeping the light out of the room and suggested I should hang them in my bed room. Thanks, I'll think about it. When I proudly was showing off my find to my hubby he actually said..."it might look kind of cool to use those to cover the dining room chairs". Bingo (and since they are curtains I am hoping that the fabrics will not fade...hoping).  He is not just a pretty face you know, he is quite the idea man when he wants to be.

Story time is over...get to work

Step one: Remove the cushions from the wood base of the chair (I know, Captain obvious). 

A special thank you to my assistant, Christopher, for taking care of the cushion removal for me.

The tools you need to succeed.

Tool List:
1. Screw driver
2. Needle nose pliers
3. Staple gun
4. Fabric scissors (duh forgot to put these in the picture)
5. Lots of staples (I guess this is a supply, so shoot me)

Step Two: Remove the old faded cotton fabric. Pry up the million staples that I had previously used to apply old cotton fabric, with the screw driver.

The pliers are a useful little tool to pull out any of the old staples that may be a bit more stubborn and not want come out easily with the screw driver. 
*bonus* I didn't need to remove the cushion's original fabric because it was in pretty decent shape. This saved me from having to deal with the batting in the cushion. If the original fabric has major holes or weird stains or if you are working with a very tight fit you may need to strip the old fabric too.

Step Three: Once the old fabric and staples are removed from the cushion, lay out the new fabric flat face down.
(If the fabric is really wrinkled you may need to iron it. I was in luck, this fabric was pretty wrinkle free)
Place the cushion, also face down on top of the fabric and figure out how large you will need to cut the fabric to cover the cushion (It is always better to have a little extra. You can always trim it away later).

Step Four: Cut the fabric to size.
(p.s. the cut doesn't need to be perfect unless you are really tight on the amount of fabric you have)

Step Five: After your fabric is cut you are ready to grab the staple gun.
Tip: please note what end the staples come out of.

You want to start with two staples at opposite ends of the cushion.
Place the first staple near the center, along the front of the cushion.
Pull the fabric as taut as you can along the back of the cushion and Place the second staple near the center.

Step Six: Fold back the sides of the fabric and place a single staple on each side near the center making sure you are pulling the fabric taught cross wise (Just like you did in step five).

Step Seven: Working the curves. This is where things get a bit tricky. You will need to gather the fabric around the curves, try to distribute the gathers kind of evenly so you don't end up with any major folds, pull the fabric very taut and work the staple gun.

I suggest placing just a few staples at first just to anchor the fabric (you can go back later to place any extra staples you may need to secure the fabric).
Step Eight: Conquering the over hang portion on the cushion (I hope for your sake that if you have a cushion to recover it doesn't have an over hang because it is a bit of a pain in the pa-toot).
You will gather and distribute the fabric like you did around the curves, but this time you will have a few pleats. If you are super anal you can try and evenly pleat around the over hang and give each corner the same number of pleats. I am not.
Hang tight to the fabric and continue to staple around the cushion.
Tip: keeping the fabric pulled tight while securing the fabric is important, so you don't get weird wrinkles on the top of the cushion.

Step Nine: Trim away the excess fabric. Raw cut edges are A.O.K. Most of the edges will be covered when the cushion is screwed onto the chair.

(Anyway, who the heck is going to be flipping your chairs over to check out the bottoms)

Not too bad right?

Step Ten: Screw it back onto the chair and ta da! I had fun...but I am glad I only had six chairs
(too many more and I may have had a little less fun).

It is so fresh and bright. I love it.
(this fabric better not fade)

Then I got a little crazy and added a table cloth just to see... I just love mixing patterns.

Now if I could just change the flooring this easily....

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