Friday, August 19, 2011

Hitch-hiking Chair

Look what I found
     On the side of the road
               Just BEGGING to be brought home!
 Well it wasn't hitchiking exactly, I found a 'curb alert' craiglsist posting for a chair that had been wrecked by a cat.  I had to dash out to the posh end of town to find her languishing at the end of a driveway, but it was worth it!
It's a room and board chair. ROOM AND BOARD!!

 I know, I know, it's what's on the inside that counts, but.... SWOON..  I love the insides of their furniture, too.  I'm not totally superficial.

Here's another shot.  The cat damage is isolated to both sides of the chair.  and the arm tops, too. Check out that top corner edge of the arm-- gross and matted down and chewed cat slobber.  The white you see is the padding that's left after I tore off the ruined scraggles of fabric on the sides.  Also, if you look close, there is nail head trim along the base of the front.  I found a store that sells similar nails and think I can continue the look around the edge to tie in my repair.

Now, the repair...

I had planned on recovering the whole thing.  The sillhouette is lovely, and I'm normally a fan of lighter upholstery, but after getting the two sides off, this thing is really , REALLY well made  (ROOM AND BOARD!!)   and it would be a tragedy if I amateurishly redo the thing entirely.  So, the plan is to go to a fabric store and get some brown that is similar enough that re-doing the arms won't be noticeable.

That didn't happen.  no matching fabric.  

The inspiration for a new sort of fix:

Kat Von D

Kat Von D's arm tats  +  this funky chair from restoration hardware

How will they go together?  I don't know, but it's fun to think about a chair having a rough Friday night and waking up with some new arm artwork.
here we go...

I bought this chartreuse swirl pattern that has the same heft, weight, fuzziness level and even same brown as the chair.  Each side will take 1/2 yard.  First step is to sew 90 degree angle for corner of arm.  See seam.
Next, pin fabric into place and roll salvage end under  (I actually sewed my salvage down, you can barely see the stich, but this will help it stand up to the gymnastic routines kids will put it through).  Get ready to hand stitch it.  I used doubled up brown upholstery thread AND...
an uphosterer's needle.  It's curved.  lifesaver, or rather, finger saver.

Where do you handstitch?  where your new fabric meets the inside arm of the couch (there is no place to staple here, so stitch away friends, this is the only way unless you can fit your chair under the foot of your sewing machine.
Here are the two arms mostly done.  I left the inner arm (inside fabric) the original brown.  I thought it went with my tat design inspiration and also, it was in perfect condition.  Ahh, that Retrospect label...

Moving along-- next you pull fabric taught and at bottom edge you staple (industrial staplers available at home depot)  staple away, because you are going to vover up the ugly gray things with the nail heads.  look at below pic, there's a staple and there's the nail going right over top.
Step four or something:  Add nail head trim, this will make the new addition blend in more seamlessly.  Seamlessly is going to be sort of relative from this point out, because my kids have heard the hammer and come a-runnin'.  I now have two or three helpers that don't have the best hammer aim, but are brilliantly happy to be helping.
Don't be a hero here, people--   Use plyers to hold the little nail heads!!  Here is K demonstrating.  Also this is a good shot of how we continued the nail head trim all the way around the sides.  I think Kat Von D would approve of the hardcore yet sophisticated edge this gives the chair.

Finished Project.

Now don't tell my sister, but this is her birthday present!   That's one of the reasons the kids were so eager to help.  All in all pretty simple project, fun for the whole family and desperately hard for me to give away.  I hope she likes it!!

1 comment:

Katie and Lane said...

Awesome job! Best birthday present ever.