Decorating · Lakehouse · Sewing · Slipcovers

Wings & the Test of Time

I never considered myself the “wingback” type, but for an affordable $35 it seemed like a good buy and would help fill an empty room in our new home twenty one years ago.  The seam on the pink cushion is busted but other than that it doesn’t look much different today than back then.   The chair served us well for the next twenty years by just moving it around from house to house and room to room whether it be a bedroom corner, a music room, a study, or a nook in my kitchen.  But over the years, my taste in color, style and fabric also changed.  

This chair had been through the sea-foam green and dusty pink decade and then with the help of a slipcover, went on through the gold and burgundy years .  It would not only be my first piece to slipcover but later served as my inspiration for Details by Denise.  I found an inexpensive home décor fabric, a slipcover pattern, some self-motivation and eventually finished it.   These days I am feeling a lot more neutral…with a touch of blue.  So, with a new spot for it in a corner of my lake house bedroom, it was time for a new slipcover. 

I have always wanted to try a fabric combination and wingback chairs are perfect for this concept.  I picked out a two-toned brown striped linen, and a blue and brown plaid.   I had two challenges…. dealing with stripes and matching plaids.  I made the cushion with plaid on one side and stripe of the flip side to change it up if I wanted to, but I really like the look of the plaid.  I only have one wingback but I am sort of partial to it.  I can’t bear to part with it, so I guess I will keep reinventing it as my mood or colors changes.

You can never go wrong with something neutral for slipcovers for the most versatility, but sometimes you just want it a little unexpected and interesting.  You could consider using old quilts, chenille or matelassé bedspreads, ticking or drop cloth for parts or all of your slipcover.  Pinterest is a wonderful place to search for ideas. 

If you have ever wondered about slipping a piece that needs an update, I would love to help you design it and make that thought a reality.  Now is the time if you want it done before the end of the year.

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Decorating · Sewing · Slipcovers

Cottage Chair Facelift

This cute little cottage upholstered wingback chair came to me with a desperate need for an update.   It was a chair my client had in her stall at the store “Reclaimed” at Smith Mountain Lake.  It just wasn’t selling in its current state.  It was a little dated and very definitely a Victorian shabby chic cottage style.  She provided me with a large drop cloth for the job. img_8274

Not all drop clothes are created equal.  This one (Sibiu brand) was a blend of cotton and polyester. It did shrink a little but not near as much as the 100% cotton drop clothes I had worked with in the past.  It also did not ravel or wrinkle as much, didn’t have as much stretch, ironed beautifully and was easy to work with. 

Normally a wingback would take about 9 yards of fabric, give or take, but this chair did not have a separate seat cushion, thankfully.  I was a little worried I wouldn’t have enough fabric to do the job especially since she wanted to have a gathered skirt.  I decided to be very methodical about this before doing any ripping or cutting of fabric to be sure I would have enough and if not, that I could get this same drop cloth somewhere.   The large drop cloth had a seam down the middle, which I proceeded to rip out, essentially giving me two  69×100 pieces, which was just easier to handle.   I graphed out the two pieces and measured all the pieces of the chair in rectangles that I would need to complete the chair to include a gathered skirt.  img_8634I then started to draw out the rectangle pieces on the graph paper, using up every space in the most efficient manner.  I am so grateful I did this, as it saved me a lot of time, guessing, 2nd guessing and most importantly, I had enough fabric….barely.  If I made a mistake, I would be screwed.  I was not going to make a mistake.

Once I had all the rectangle pieces cut, I was on to structuring of the chair cover. 

I finished most of the chair the first day and spent the next day on the gathered skirt and finishing details of trimming and finishing seams, clipping corners, clipping threads and adding a tie detail to the back skirt. I always feel like I am giving my slipcovers a hair trim at this point.

Here are the before and after pictures.

What a transformation!  It’s like it went to a salon and got a whole new makeover.  If it could talk it probably would say it feels ten years younger and ready to take on anything. The creamy drop cloth fabric worked beautifully for this chair and now this chair can be the perfect accent in any room regardless of the color scheme.   The best part is it is completely removable so it can be thrown in the wash if need be.

I think Kathy loved the chair so much she decided to keep the chair for herself. Until next time, do something creative!

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