How to Re-Cover Chairs!

I will go ahead and apologize now for my video taping and amateur instructions. I am not a professional, just a mom who threw it all together and made it work. ūüôā

Do you have chairs in your house that you really don’ t like? Every time I sat down or looked at our kitchen table, I really did not like our chairs. I have been looking for a new set of chairs for our table, but never could find what I wanted. Finally my worst fears happened. Our Thing 2 decided it would be awesome to tear the back off of one of the chairs. I knew it was a matter of time. These chairs are 30+ years old. They needed to be re-covered like 20 years ago. I wanted to, but I was too chicken to. Once Thing 2 destroyed one, I knew I couldn’t mess it up any more so The Man and I decided it was time to take the plunge into the unknown and go for it. Originally we had concocted this very grand plan to add padding and backings… as we started our plan evolved. I will show you what I had to work with and we did with what we had. We did cut corners where we could to save money and time.

This is what I started with.

Very old school, right? I remember hiding under these chairs as a child. They were in my grandmother’s dining room. In case you can’t tell, that is a brown velvet seat cushion. This was the best chair we had out of the six. The rest were horribly covered in stains. So much so that I was embarrassed to seat anyone at them when they came over.

The first thing I did was go fabric shopping. I looked for fabric for about 2 weeks before I purchased. I am picky when it comes to fabric. Knowing that things are going to get spilled on these chairs, I wanted something that could hold up to that can of wear. I found what I was looking for at Joanne’s! It was an outdoor fabric that happened to be on sale for 60% off that weekend! The outdoor fabric is perfect for a kitchen chair when you have Things!

I went with the chocolate mainly because I needed it to be dark to hide any stains. Also, I wanted it to match our colors. My kitchen colors have always been yellow or green. Except that one time I really wanted a navy blue and I made the man repaint 2 weeks later. So no matter what, I know that these chairs will match! My fabric was $7.99/yard on sale. I purchased 6 yards of fabric so my total was $50.00 plus I had a 25% off of your total purchase coupon.

The next picture is one of the old, and one of the chair that Thing 2 ripped the back off of. These chairs had some sort of wood piping that was glued down inside of a grove that was holding the straw- like backing onto the chair. After we tried to strip this one chair, we realized that we were going to run into problems with our original plan. The original plan was screw in a piece of plywood in the middle to create a real backing and staple foam to that and cover just the back part with fabric. After we stripped the back, I realized there was no way to hide our staples, screws or folds in fabric. After a few minutes, I suggested that I just make a slip cover to cover the entire back of the chair. This, in my mind, was a way better plan because I could wash the slip covers and we could take back the foam and plywood (both totaling $60). At this point, our total cost was sitting at $110. Not bad at all, but I am frugal. I need money to feed my chocolate and mocha coconut frappaciano addition habit from Starbucks. Lucky for me, The Man loved my idea. So, we just decided to ignore this one chair that we had started until we could think through a solution for a new back ing for it. So let’s move on to the bottoms of the chairs.

When you flip your chair over, you will see that the bottoms are screwed into the chair itself. Simply unscrew the seat from the chair. Number both the bottom of the chair and the seat of the chair. You can not count on the fact that the seat portion of the chair will be interchangeable with the other chairs. This is how we started our project, by doing the seats first.

We made the decision not to strip the old fabric off of the chairs and give them a new pad. The reason being is whoever made our chairs used wood glue in addition to staples to tack the fabric to the underside of the seat. After seeing this, we just stapled the new fabric on top of the old fabric. Doing this will save you money on padding (about $10/yard) and time, but if we have to do this again, I am adding padding. If your chairs aren’t as old as ours, it may not need new padding. Ours really could have used the new padding for the seat portion.

Unfold your fabric, and lay your seat cushion on top of the fabric (underside facing up). We measure around this and cut our first piece and used it as a template for the rest of the chairs. Make sure you have enough fabric on all sides to staple it down.

When you have your fabric cut out, start with stapling the sides down. I am not a professional at this, but I found that if I started with the sides, I could the get the front corners nice and rounded. It does take two of you to do this. One will pull the fabric tight on each side while the other staples it to the seat itself.

When you get to the top and bottom (or front and back) of your seat start from the middle and work your way in. I would pull the middle tight, he would staple and then I would work on one corner at a time, stretching and twisting it so that you didn’t see a lot of folds from the outside of the fabric. As I got a corner where I wanted it, he would staple it down for me. I wish I had pictures to show you what I am trying to describe but it took both of us to do it. Keep going until you get all of your corners stapled down.

There is a video for this portion of the tutorial. If this is too confusing for you to read, skip to the video. Forgive my shabby video skills and lack of enthusiasm throughout the video: Thing 3 had an early bed time and I didn’t want him to hear me. ūüôā The slip cover was very easy to make. It’s like making a pillow case. I threw the fabric over the chair (so that I wouldn’t have to sew the top, just the sides) and measured how long I wanted the fabric to be. Make sure to give allowances for a hem. Cut your fabric. I started with the bottoms of the fabric. I would iron down the fabric folds to create a hem. Then pin the fabric down before I sewed. You may be so good that you don’t need to add pins. Hem it at the very edge of your fold and back stick the ends so your hem doesn’t come loose.

Don’t do the other side just yet. Take your fabric, throw it over the back and put the hemmed side to the front. Pull the back down and pin the back piece where the front ends. I hope it makes sense. You are marking the absolute highest your hem can be on the back by measuring it to your finished front. The reason I did not just measure is because I have made enough mistakes in sewing to know that my cutting could not be straight, I may have mis-measured etc. This helps to ensure you don’t end up with it too short. Go ahead and repeat what you did above, iron the hem, pin it, sew it. Take your fabric back to your chair and lay it over the top of the back again. You are almost done!

To see how much you can hem on the sides take one hand and pinch in the sides of both pieces of fabric on one side and using your other hand, do the same to the other side. Try to get it even on the sides. Once you are satisfied that it is even, put a pin just on the outside (not towards the chair) of where you were pinching. Do the same to the other side. Again, make your folds for your hem on the sides using the pin as your guideline to know how wide that hem can be and pin it down once you have ironed it. Do the same for the other side. Take it back to the chair, make sure you can still pinch both sides closed before you start to sew.

Flip your fabric inside out. Pinch your two sides together. We are going to make one stitch that will hem both of the sides and close it. Take your time on this part. You want to make sure the sides line up evenly.

Start stitching down the center of the hem not the edge this time. The reason is that your hems may be different widths. You want to make sure you catch them both with the one stitch.

See that this closes the side and stitches down the hems on both sides. Do the same to the other side. Once you are done you should just have the one opening to slip over the back of your chair. Flip your fabric inside out and slip over the back of your chair! Congratulations if you understood my directions and created a slip cover!! ūüôā

This is my finished product! A night time view.

A day time view.

Remember the one chair that we ripped the backing off of. We came up with two solutions: staple several layers of screen to create a backing or use a canvas drop cloth and staple that on there. We went with the screen. It was $7. Total cost of this project was about $60. I love the end result! If you decide to recover your chairs, please come back and share with me!!


Making Embellished Flip Flops: 3 Different Options

Hi there! I have been busy making some flip-flops for Thing 1. A week ago I realized she had outgrown her sandals again and went shopping for a new pair but we failed in our mission. Since everyone is getting their fall stuff out, the pickings were slim. I decided to make her some flip-flops that would get her through the summer. The first tutorial I am going to show you was super easy. It took 20 minutes.


I found the original tutorial here.

Supply list:

measuring tape
For this pair of 4th of July flip-flops I used 5/8″ ribbon (the red) and 7/8″ ribbon (the blue). It took exactly one spool of each color for both shoes, but how much ribbon you will need depends on how many ribbons you are using, the size of the ribbon as well as the size of your flip-flop.
1) Cut ribbon into 8″ strips. If you have a toddler size shoe, I would half that and try cutting one at 4″ and see how it looks.
2) Burn both ends of ribbon with your lighter to prevent fraying
3) Start at the thong part of the flip-flop and start double knotting your ribbon onto the strap
You can take the ribbon to the bottom of the strap if desired or stop short just a 1/4 of the way from the bottom.
I chose to stop about 1/4 of the way to the bottom. Once you have done one side of the strap, start on the other alternating color. Make sure your spacing is the same on both sides.
Try them on and trim the ribbon if needed. Viola! Easy cute pair of flip-flops that you would probably pay between $15-$20 at a boutique shop.
The next pair that I am going to show you how to make requires a different approach. For this pair you will either need to know how to make bows or buy a pair of bows with alligator clips on the back. These are the interchangeable bow flip-flops. Again, pretty easy to make.
 The original tutorial came from here.
Supplies list:
ribbon (I used 5/8″ for this one)
clothes pins
E6000 glue (Joanne’s and Hobby Lobby carry this)
bows or stuff to make your bows with
1) Start by cutting a small piece of ribbon
2) Burn both ends of the ribbon to prevent fraying
3) Place a small amount of glue under the strap of the thong
4) Place a small amount of glue on the end of one of your ribbons
5) Place the ribbon on the underneath of the thong where you glued and clip a clothes pin to it to prevent it from moving until it dries
6) Criss cross it over to the other side (to make an X) and glue to down following steps 3-5 again. Let it dry overnight.
When they are dry, you can interchange your bows as needed to match outfits.
This next pair  is a little more time-consuming, but turn out super cute.
The original tutorial came from here.
Supplies list:
clothes pins
E6000 glue (Joanne’s and Hobby Lobby carry this)
bows or stuff to make your bows with
1) Start by figuring out how much ribbon you will need to wrap all the way around the straps to the other side. I just guessed and cut a little long to be on the safe side. I used 7/8″ for this, but 5/8″ is recommended
2) Burn both ends of the ribbon to prevent fraying
3) At the very bottom of the strap, place a small amount of glue on the underneath side. Place a small amount of glue on the end of your ribbon
4) Place the ribbon on the underneath of the strap where you glued and clip a clothes pin to it to prevent it from moving until it dries
5) Start wrapping your ribbon around the strap. I overlapped by half. Make sure you keep it very tight as your wrap it.
6) When you get up to the thong part of your shoe, cross over keeping it tight as you work your way down
 7) When you get to the end add some glue to the underneath of the strap and repeat steps 3 and 4.
8) At this point you can permanently glue a bow to the top of the shoes or you can make the pair interchangeable by following the instructions for the interchangeable bow flip-flops. I made Thing 1’s interchangeable.
I whipped up a few sets of bows last night to match some church dresses. The possibilities for these are endless: dance, cheer, school colors, Halloween, fall outfits, Christmas, Easter, Disney.
The finished product. These would probably cost anywhere from $25- $30 in a boutique store.
Happy crafting!

Christmas Gifts: The $1 Doll Knit Hat and Scarf set

It’s that time of year. I had my Things go through all the magazines and pick out what they wanted for Christmas and then star their top 3 must haves. Thing 1 picked through the American Girl magazine. I think she circled almost every item in it. Today I am going to share with you the tutorial I used to make her dolls scarf and hat. It did only cost me a dollar because I purchased a purple knit hat from Wal-Mart for that price.

I found the tutorial here: Doll Scarf and Hat

I had enough left over for one more set. If you have 2 daughters, only buy one knit hat.

This was my finished product.

I think I am going to sew a jumbo pompom on the top of it. I also had the idea of making a scarf out of some zebra women’s socks. If I make them I will update this post with a picture.

Happy Sewing!

Star Wars Birthday Party: Part 2 The Jedi Robe

Halloween is coming up. The Man and Thing 2 want everyone¬†to be¬†a Star Wars character for Halloween. Finding a costume to fit the¬†6’4″ man is not easy. He has asked me for years to make him something. I found¬†this tutorial¬†years ago for a Jedi robe but at the time¬†I wasn’t brave enough to try it. Whoever came up with this tut, THANK YOU!!! I am much more confident at my sewing abilities now and just went for it. Remember the man was not home (he was away on business) the week of his birthday so I had to whip this thing up without him as a guide. I am gong to go ahead and apologize now for¬†the quality of¬†my pictures. This¬†was done¬†late at night when the Things were asleep so I could focus on what I was doing. Trying to capture great photos at night when you¬†are tired¬†with soft lighting never works but at least you will have some idea how I did this. Let me re-assure you as well that this did not take hours to make. I think I had¬†the¬†robe made in about 30-45 minutes. I was flying through my stitches and just getting it done because I¬†was exhausted. I made Thing 3’s robe the next day while the Things ate lunch (so about¬†20-¬†30 minutes).

Here is how I made the Jedi Robe that made him smile! To my knowledge, there are no other blogs with the step by step pictures of this tutorial. I looked because I needed them myself. Hope this helps everyone.

For the¬†6’4″ man I want to say I purchased about 5 yards of dark brown fabric for the robe. I got the widest, cheapest stuff that they had. This is what it looked like (folded length wise) stretched out across my floor.

Because this was all a surprise I needed to improvise how I was going to make the robe look right and fit right on him. This was my solution.

I made my cuts for the arms. It doesn’t need¬†to be¬†perfect. After all, he will just be thrilled it fits!

Time to sew. I used a basic stitch.

Started on one corner and just guided it through.

Now that the sides and arms are sewn together. It’s time to get ready to cut the front. Here is what mine looked like right before the cut.

Then I just cut straight up the middle.

For the opening of the robe, I used a zig zag stitch. I was afraid that if I didn’t the fabric would fray. I know it’s not “authentic looking” but since this¬†will be¬†used a few times it’s more important for it to hold up.

Onto the hood.

I opted for the 16″ by 32″ version.

After sewing and turning it inside out, it should look like this.

Now to attach it. Be sure your seam matches the center of the back of the robe. I pin from the center and work my way out to the ends.

I used a basic stitch for this.

Ye-Haw! Follow the instructions for the Tunic and you are done!! I had just enough fabric left over to make Thing 3 a Jedi robe as well!! The man was beyond thrilled at this! Now everyone (except me, which is my wish) has a Star Wars costume for Halloween!

The day of his party, he came home from work and it was POURING outside. He didn’t have an umbrella so he tried to wait it out in the driveway for a few minutes. The Things were all dressed up and were dying for him to come inside for his party. Finally, we worked out a plan over the cell phone where I would have towels waiting for him and a gift at the front door. When he opened his gift he¬†was confused¬†(it was the Jedi robe and tunic). He said, “I don’t understand.” Remember he thought we were doing a pirate party. I explained this was his costume for the party. “I don’t look like a pirate… what is this??” I ignored him and showed him how to wear the tunic and led him into the kitchen where he saw the Things, the cake and the table and it hit him. He was like a child at Christmas. The Things¬†were¬†ecstatic. Thing 2 took off his mask several times because he wasn’t sure The Man knew he was not really Darth Vader. The memory of watching The Man’s face change¬†as he realized what was going on was worth every single bit of effort we put into his birthday. Look at the picture above. They are all oozing with excitement!

Update your little girl’s bows for $.99

Yesterday I ran to Hobby Lobby to pick up some more supplies for some projects I am working on and I found myself on the aisle with the onesies and pins. I was looking through their pins and found these cute monogrammed pins.

I grabbed an ‘I’ and an ‘N’. I My thought was since they are pins, I should be able to slide them under the center knot of her bow.
It worked. These bows costs between $6-$12. I just made my own for $.99 (because we already have a ton of bows.) With this pin, I can slide the monogrammed button into any of her bows for a custom look.

She was excited to wear her “new” bow this morning. I think it’s just plain cute!

Super hero hobo sack tutorial

Hobo bag tutorial

Project #5 of BOPM!

Inspired by Dana’s hobo sack
This project concludes the Boy’s Only Project Month. I have had a blast making stuff for the guys only. I hope that you have enjoyed it too. I am thinking early next year I will do another round of BOPM.¬†
Thing 2 is all about super heros these days. He has so many of them that he can’t take them all out to play without being afraid he will lose them. Many for a 2 year old is more than his two fists can contain; so pardon my loose use of the word many. He has about 20 figurines, a few duplicates, and ALL of them must be accounted for at bedtime… along with about 10 mini skateboards (from MCD’s) and 4 rockets and some Star Wars figurines.
This morning he stuffed his stuff in his bag and for the first time ever, he carried all of his stuff around ALL day without my help and without worrying. Sure, I could have given him a bag to put his stuff in, but he was SO excited that Superman was on his bag… and that I made it for him. This kid is such a blessing. He genuinely gets excited about something just because I made it. Love him.
Enough rambling. Let’s get to it.
About 1/4 yard of fabric or less
string or rope
The size of your bag is totally up to you.
I cut a piece of fabric about this size 
Folded it in half (pretty sides together)
Folded top down creating a hem. This will be a casing for your drawstrings. You will not sew the ends of this casing closed.
Sew the sides of the fabric (don’t sew the sides of the casing closed) and flip inside out. Put a safety pin on the end of your string and feed it through the casing. Tie knots a the end of your string.
When you are done, it should look like this
Your little guy will think it’s totally cool to have a bag that is his to stuff his stuff in.¬†

Tie shirt tutorial

YAY for Boy’s only project month!! Project 4! Are you enjoying the BOPM? Let me know if you want to see more boy’s sewing projects.

These are my favorite!

They are ridiculously easy and cute! Great project for a beginner sewer.

Here is how you can start. Go here to download the FREE tie pattern from Saltwater-Kids.

Follow her tutorial or read through mine. Whichever works for you.

If you can, freehand your own tie ūüôā

I used her pattern for the length of the tie and I modified my knot. I wanted my knot to curve around the neck of the shirt so I cut like a half circle in the center of the tie.

First, choose your material and lay the pattern on your fabric.

Lay your cut fabric on the Steam- A- Seam and cut out your tie with the backing.

Lay it on the shirt. I like to take off the backing at this point so I can get it to lay like I want it.

This part is just a personal preference. I like the end of my tie to be slightly UNDERNEATH my knot. I think it looks more authentic.

Iron it down. You can stitch it down if you like- I do because I like that security.

¬†So cute, right? I love it and can’t wait to take pictures of the boys in front of Charlie (our giant pumpkin) in these shirts. What a great Thanksgiving card it will make!