Tag Archive | slipcovers

The Sweatshop

I’ve dusted off the sewing machine and brought it out again after a 5-year hiatus. Sewing curtains for my house in Lynchburg was a job worthy of a sweatshop, and I got a bit burned out.

My old friend.

My old friend.

I once spent three days making the cutest school uniform jumper for my daughter, only to have her come home from her second time wearing it, with Sharpie all over the front. What kind of teacher gives second-graders Sharpies? After that, I packed it up.

Parson's chairs in my New Jersey dining room.

Parson’s chairs in my old New Jersey dining room.

Until now. These old parson’s chairs have been bugging me. Originally, I bought them cheap when my New Jersey house was on the market, just to stage the house.

I had already cut the skirts off of two of the chairs and bought shorty slipcovers from World Market a couple of years ago. I decided it was time to use the old slipcover from World Market as a pattern and change it up by bringing in a navy blue fabric.

Slipcover as pattern.

Slipcover as pattern.

New Fabric.

New Fabric.

Cutting it out.

Cutting out the fabric.

Pinning the pieces.

Pinning the pieces.

Technical Part:

Making these slipcovers was fairly simple. I studied the way the World Market covers were constructed. I carefully measured the 6 pieces and cut them out for each chair. One large piece for the front and back with two side panels, and a seat with two more side panels. I first sewed the top of the chair to the side panels, and then sewed the seat to it’s side panels. I then stitched the top and bottom together and hemmed it, making sure the fabric was facing the right direction. This was tricky. Think jigsaw puzzle.

End Technical Part.

What inspired me to drag out the sewing machine after so many years? Perhaps it was a case of chair-envy I caught at my sister-in-law’s when she bought these beauties from Pier1:

Chair Envy.

Chair Envy.

Or perhaps it was because I had a similar fabric taking up valuable real estate in my office and I was inspired by my recent thrift store chair find:

Thrift Store Chairs.

Thrift Store Chairs.

In the end, I think it was just the desire for change without spending a fortune. I sewed the slipcovers during naptime and a little into the evening. This is how the chairs look now:

New slipcover.

New slipcover, messy house.

It’s not quite Pier1, but it’s still pretty good and I am happy. Now I am eyeing the windows on the porch and thinking, “shades would be lovely!” and “New pillows for everyone!”

The new slipcover.

The new slipcover.

And I know of only one place to get them: My very own Simply Turquoise Sweatshop.

© copyright 2013 Mariam d’Eustachio at Simply Turquoise.

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Re-think and Recycle

I’ve been thinking about recycling lately. I am trying to fit my stuff into a new house and make it look as if it was always intended for THIS space, even though it wasn’t. On a purely practical front, people cannot go out and buy new stuff every time they move. The idea of repurposing your old and tired things appeals to me; breathing new life into some old junk.

Of late, my fantasies have consisted of beautiful dining room chairs prancing through my head. Once in a store, I occasionally have to wipe the drool from my chin as I ogle the chairs, until I am confronted with a price tag. Shocked, I take the reality check and walk away with nothing every time. Inevitably, this has lead to my recycling philosophy.

Chair Envy.

It all started with these chairs in a hotel lobby.

My wicker dining room chairs have lasted for twelve years and through several children who used to pick at them when they were in time out. The chairs refuse to wear out. I wish they would so I could justify pitching them. Rather than throw out perfectly good chairs, I decided to just give the cloth chairs on the ends a face-lift with new slipcovers. This changed the look of the whole room!

Slipcovered chair in my new dining room.

Dining room with a view of the not-yet-even-unpacked adjacent sunroom.

Fresh new paint in Benjamin Moore’s  picnic basket gives my dining room an entirely new look.

The solution turned out to be so easy. With the slipcovers from World Market, my chairs were new again in less than 15 seconds. The cost was $50 instead of at least 10 times that for new chairs. I successfully recycled the old chairs and breathed new life into them.

Recycling your old things not only saves money, but can make your home unique and add personality. I am challenging myself to reuse whenever possible and if I can’t reuse what I have, buy it used from Community Forklift, Craig’s List or The Habitat ReStores. When I rescue trash, I am actually preventing it from filling up the landfill and not giving in to the constant pressures to buy more stuff. Paint your frames if the finish is wrong, paint an old light fixture to spruce it up, recover an old fabric, or just add new hardware to an old piece of furniture. If the piece is solid wood, it will last forever. These ideas are not new, but to me it is refreshing to let the house be decorated over time and not rush into the latest must-have. You will end up with an eclectic look that is interesting as well as beautiful. That is a worthy goal.

 © copyright 2012 Mariam d’Eustachio