Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Cushed MCM Chairs

I finally finished the necessary work on the pair of mid century modern arm chairs I picked up at an estate sale way too long ago (over a year—eek!). They weren't in bad shape but as you can see, they were missing some crucial parts.

I couldn't find webbing material similar to what remained on the chairs, so I opted for some woven straps that reminded me of cotton seatbelts and tacked them down using a staple gun.

The webbing didn't take long to replace but it took me a long time to make these cushions or should I say build up the nerves to get started. I'm no seamstress or upholsterer and was entirely intimidated with the task of making cushions for the chairs. At first I wasn't even sure how to start but after seeing a few similar chairs on craigslist and one identical match in Emily's room on the finale of HGTV's Design Star, I knew I could do it. So, with the first task of project-cushions accomplished, aka growing a pair, I was ready to get my hands dirty.

The second task was finding fabric, which speaking from experience, I knew wasn't going to be easy. I had three basic criteria I needed the fabric to fulfill: 1. neutral color, 2. upholstery quality, 3. I had to like it. Pretty simple huh? Well, let's just talk about that. First I scoured my go-to discount shop in Chicago, Textile Discount Outlet, and when I left empty-handed was highly disappointed. However, I didn't give up and visited three other large fabric stores warehouses, perused the selections at Hobby Lobby, and even stopped at Joann's—still nothing. Then one magical weekend when we were up in Minnesota paying a visit to our friends and family, I was venting my fabric-finding frustration and my friend's boyfriend mention a store in the area that may have something. To all y'all that live in the Twin Cities area, and have a fabric fetish but don't know where to look, let me introduce you to Mill End Textiles (this is the Rochester store).

I hope the photos speak for themselves, but let me tell you that the selection there was fantastic. The Rochester store wasn't extremely large but I easily found fabric for the chair cushions as well as another project I had been needing fabric for. The best part, it was a holiday weekend and everything was discounted on-top of the already terribly low prices. We bought 4 yards for the chairs and only paid $20 and probably have at least 1.5 yards of fabric left. Woo hoo!

With that checked off my list, the next tasks I completed were purchasing foam and finding a box-cushion sewing tutorial online that I could follow easily. Unfortunately, foam is not cheap so I patiently waited for it to go on sale at Joann's and when it did, I was on it like peanut butter on jelly. In the meantime, I found this great tutorial on Sew Mama Sew and read it about a hundred times. I followed the steps to a T, omitting the handles, making one of the seats first. Can you guess which one (I hope not!)?

I am so please with my work not only because this project was a huge skill- and time-undertaking (it took about three hours to make one cushion) but because I think I did an excellent job for a first-timer and now we have two more functioning chairs! What do you think? Did you ever think I would actually finish this project?

BTW: According to Urban Dictionary, "cushed meanz dat u feel comfortable".

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