This chair as already been the subject of much debate. For some reason I have been more indecisive about this than almost anything! Firstly a confession – it’s from an old-people’s home. That really puts me off it. Doesn’t it you? Maybe that contributed to my indecision.
This was the photo (below) that inspired me. But not having any french grain sacks to hand, and not having large sums of money to purchase these now highly desirable items, I found a way that doesn’t cost the earth. Coffee sacks! And as you unanimously advised, I combined these with Ralph Lauren linen.
Firstly I stripped the chair back. It’s amazing how much the fabric had faded over time. But the structure was still sound (phew!).
When redoing an armchair you start from the inside out (and the outside covers up all your messy workings). So the first job is the bit under the cushion, for which I used the back of a coffee sack. You can see that I already had a very helpful assistant.
I covered the inside arms with the Ralph Lauren linen – this is just gorgeous heavy-weight fabric. It’s usually hellish expensive and if you were to cover the entire chair in it, you’d need 5-6 metres. But because I was combining this with sacks, I used just two. Don’t you love a bargain?
Then I started on the inside wings – lots of curves mean you have to pull the fabric very tight, use lots of staples, and snip into the curves to ease the fabric round (without cutting the wrong bit…)
I was worried about not seeing any coffee sack from the front, so I used one to cover the inside back. it’s contrasting nicely with the linen I think. The seat cushion isn’t covered yet, but Porridge (cat) is testing it for comfort and (I think) giving it her approval.
I decided to use the coffee sacks mainly on the outside. This doesn’t take any wear and tear – it isn’t sat on or leaned on – so doesn’t need to be either smooth to the touch or very tough (although I assume these sacks are pretty tough). They aren’t rough to touch, but they aren’t as silky as the linen feels.
The seat cushion was a total b**tard actually – I had to sew it twice before it fitted properly – the corners kept not aligning. I measured it really carefully so I have no idea what happened. Anyway, I got there eventually. Please note at this stage what I call the ‘old lady’ legs. The legs of this chair really bothered me. Like those American Tan tights that make legs (my legs not chair legs!) look frumpy, these legs kind of look old-people’s-home to me. I considered cutting them off and replacing them but I was worried about the structural integrity of the chair.
I finished off the arms ends with some lovely printed sacks and pondered the legs. I was also indecisive about using the nailhead trim but an overwhelming vote (thank you!) meant that 100% of you thought I should. Porridge realised immediately that the new colour scheme of the chair sets off her fur beautifully.
I decided to cover the legs with a dark stain – almost black. The difference that small change made is amazing. Here is the finished product in all her (I think it’s a her) glory….
It was so easy to hand over the decision that I am seriously considering polling all major life decision this way. How much easier to have web votes on which job to take, where to live and so on!
I love the nail-head trim round the arm. The old chair was piped around the edge, which I think looks dated, so I pleated the fabric over the end of the arm and added an end piece. The fabric on the end of the arms has printed writing running vertically, but it looks kind of like leopard skin. Funky!
You can really see here the difference in texture between the linen and the sacks. I love her smart dark legs. So much better than American Tan (if you’re still wearing those tights, stop right now and wear fishnets or black instead!).
She even looks beautiful with one of my grain sack cushions on… (wombats rule – they are such cute, chubby creatures)
I used a different sack for the back (if I’d had another black one I would have used that, but I couldn’t face an hour’s drive to get another one).
Just a reminder of what it looked like before?
And what it looks like now…
I’m very happy with how she turned out. And for the price of 2m of fabric.
The cats wanted a final pose too…
What do you think? Does it still look like it’s from an old people’s home??