Another project has finally been crossed off my to-do list! Little R moved from his high chair to a booster seat on a kitchen chair several months ago. Since we only upcycled one... two kitchen chairs for ourselves three years ago, this required us to sweet-talk Grandpa into sanding another down and varnishing it for us. Rachel didn't have the time and I can't go attacking a chair in the garage with a sander and varnish while pregnant. That'd be a tad irresponsible!
Happily, Grandpa was kind enough to oblige and the only step that I needed to do was to create a patchwork cover for the seat. This I managed to do over the Easter weekend at Mum's, while I was on my big finish-my-WIPs-mission (I nearly finished his Roman blind, made a start on his curtain tie backs and DID finish his monster bottomed trousers and some knitted cotton dishcloths, so I did quite well!).
Step one was the hardest of all; drawing a diagram to decide how to lay out the patches. I found this not unduly taxing when I made the first two covers. But back then, I wasn't pregnant. I'm really finding the left side of my brain has genuinely packed up and gone on holiday this pregnancy. I'm much more intellectually hampered than I was when I was pregnant with Little R. My vocabulary is limited - I often pause partway through a sentence trying to recall a really quite basic word. Often I have to abandon the search for that word and explain myself a different way. Or kind people rescue me by suggesting what I might mean! I can barely remember any of my pin codes, which has caused some heart-stopping moments in shop queues. And I'm clumsy as heck. I literally cannot carry an object from A to B without launching it into the air or dropping it onto the floor. I'm just generally feeling pretty stupid. So this nearly reduced me to tears. I eventually managed to plan out the seat cover, but while cutting and stitching the fabrics found a glaring error whereby several centimetres had gone missing. Luckily my blagging skills are still in tact!
As I carefully measured and cut the pieces of fabric, I laid out the fabric on top of the seat (which I'd cleverly taken to Essex with me).
It looked fairly complicated. And rumpled.
So I gave all the fabric a wee press. Much better.
Mum walked in, raised her eyebrows and asked how on earth I was going to join those parts together. But that's actually the easy part. You just look for two pieces that join together and sew those together. Then another pair. Or a three. Each time I'd sewed a seam, I nipped over to the ironing board to press it flat.
Gradually, you join together the twos and threes until you have an entire section.
And before too long, I had the entire cover in one piece. That was when we discovered that due to my calculation boob, it was a bit too small to attach, so Mum had the clever idea of sewing some bias binding all the way around the outside. Genius.
I said the planning was the hardest part. But the most infuriating, rage-inducing part was, as usual, attaching the cover to the chair. For some reason, whoever produced these simple kitchen chairs decided to make the seats from mahogany, or possibly diamond. It is an absolute %$*&^@# to try to get a staple into. Mum's stapler wasn't up to the task. We tried tacks, but they were huge, and were in danger of ripping the fabric, causing fraying So we use some upholstery tacks that Mum usefully happened to have.
Even those kept bending over sideways. It was a nightmare. I was trying to hold the tacks in place with some pliers, Rachel was trying to hammer them in straight and without bending them, and we were both striving not to swear in front of our toddler. It was a CHALLENGE.
We eventually got it attached by hook and crook. Looks bloomin' smashing underneath, doesn't it!?!
We could only get three of the four screws back into place to reattach the seat to the chair base, because one of the screw holes had been covered by multiple layers of fabric. Ah well, three will have to be enough!
Little R is happy with it, and it looks very cute, so I'm very pleased we persevered through the difficulties.
I'm happy with the fabric choices too. I didn't have enough of the fabrics I'd used on our chairs to do a chair which completely matched, but I got some lovely foxy themed fat quarters from my good friend Mandy for my birthday. They go really well with the shades of green and brown I've used on our adult chairs, and bring in some orange, which features in our kitchen too.
See? Little R's is more childish and colourful than ours, but they clearly belong together.
Three beautiful kitchen chairs. Aah. Job well blagged.
(But already, I'm dreading trying to fit the fourth cover on the next chair, when this Little Baby is big enough to require his or her own chair! I must invest in an uber-powerful stapler by then. Or a nail gun.)