Sunday, 5 October 2014

Cotton + Steel Upholstery

My husband knows my magpie eyes.  He knows my tendency to go out to get some milk and come back with a table.  On one of my regular Sunday car boot sale visits, I picked up a foot stool with a tilting platform- I hurt my knee a few months back and I wanted something to rest my leg on.  And then on a quick round the block dog walk I came back with a chair that was been thrown out during student house rennovations over the summer.  Both have proved to be ideal for a little Cotton + Steel canvas upholstery adventure.  I started with the easiest project, the foot stool:


It had a rather nasty satiny fabric covering the top and as it was clean, I left that in place as a base and just removed the hinges and took the wooden tilting top off.  Then it was simply a question of using a shape gun and hammering the staples into the back.  The fabric is Melody Miller 'Gallop' canvas from the Mustang collection.


The whole process took 30 mins tops.  Very satisfying!  Here it is in situ in our tiny living room.


Next the chair, this was more complex.  I cleaned the chair up, vacuumed and wiped it down.  I had to patch the seat a little as the material had worn through to the padding so I used some quilt wadding and patched it over the gap.  The seat and back rest unscrew and the seat was covered using a staple gun again but the rounded corners needed a little stitching to ease the fabric in.  This print is Tiger Stripes canvas in aqua from Alexia Abegg's Hatbox collection  and the only UK shop I could find with some in stock is M is for Make. 


You can see the gathering technique below- very simple and just used at the rounded corners.  I used a long stitch on my machine and Gutermann sew all poly thread as it is strong.  I temporarily pinned the fabric in place using very chunky pins and then stapled into the fabric layer  underneath and the wooden frame.  This is all covered up by another layer of plain cotton with the raw edges turned in and stapled on to neaten everything up.


So far so good, but the back rest was a little more problematic as it was curved and more of it is visible so nowhere to hide staples. 


 Instead, I covered the inward curve of the back rest front first.  I used the big pins as before to hold the fabric in place and a variety of hand stitches according to whatever seemed to work best.  It was hard work to sew as it's all by hand and the surface has only a little padding.  I had to pull the fabric tight to make sure it followed the curve.  The catch stitch worked best and I ended up redoing some areas so that it was catch stitch all the way round.

 I then used a piece of freezer paper to make a template for the back fabric: this is the side that screws into the wooden back supports.  I pressed the waxy side of the freezer paper onto the back rest and drew around the edge and cut out the template.  I then pressed this onto the reverse of the canvas and  cut a generous seam allowance all round.  Where the curve dips at the top, the fabric needs to stretch a little more so I cut some triangular notches into the seam allowance.  Around the outer curves, again I used a gathering stitch to manage the fullness.  The freezer paper is then removed and the back fabric is pinned in place with all the raw edges folded in and slip stitched it onto the fabric that I had already sewn on.


 It was hard going, painful on the finger tips but the end result was so neat.


Both pieces of furniture are in use and the fabrics are making us all happy! 


sib blog

24 comments:

  1. Good job all round and a nice finish to the back - well done :)

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  2. I love them both so much! Now I need a chair to recover :)

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  3. Love the upholstery! I also love seeing the pillow I sent to you in its home!

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  4. wow!!! they both look stunning. You did an amazing job.

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  5. I love your fabric choices.
    I want the chair!

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  6. Woohoo! Gorgeous! Having done a few of these projects (and not being all that enthusiastic about them), I applaud your skills and "magpie" eyes in converting trash into treasures. Beautiful!

    Elizabeth
    opquilt.com

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  7. Super! Kerry you have always great ideas and make them beautifully! x Teje

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  8. Love, Love, Love! these look beautiful!

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  9. What a great idea they both look fab. I have yet to try upholstery but you make it look easy.

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  10. Oh these are just perfect Kerry. What great additions to your household :-)

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  11. Excellent! I do love a good upcycle :)

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  12. Very clever. I have a sad old chair that needs a bit of TLC. Ideas, ideas...

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  13. Love the foot stool but that chair with all those stripy kitties ~ it's so fab!!!
    Not a real fan of Cotton and Steel ~ but using it like this makes me want to go out and get some! Thanks for the ideas!

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  14. Amazeballs - both projects!

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  15. Both projects look great. I have a dining table with chairs of a similar shape that one day, I will cover with lovely fabrics

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  16. Fabulous! Really lovely projects, great fabrics.

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  17. Thanks for these ideas Kerry, I have an old footstool of my MIL's that needs re-padding and covering but I've been too scared to tackle it! Thanks for the mini-tute to make it seem less daunting :)

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  18. They both look fabulous and well done on your thrifting. I have that tendency too - coming home with a while dinner service from town!

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  19. Yet another string to your bow then - beautifully done,

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  20. I absolutely love the work you do! Brilliant idea to renovate your furniture in this particular case -

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