I've been focusing most of my sewing/decorating focus in my dining room lately. I'm getting desperate to have things finished instead of "in the process". A few more things and I'll call this room done. But covering the chairs was the biggest part of it so it's quite an accomplishment and I'm ready to show it off.
A couple of years ago I was watching Season 3 of Sarah Richardson's show on HGTV and fell in love with the dotted fabric on the kitchen chairs (pictures here). Unfortunately for me, the fabric is over 30.00 a yard. Ouch. When I saw this Birch (like a barkcloth texture) Ikat Dot Nova Grey home dec print from Premier Prints I had a feeling this was just what I was looking for. I bought a yard just to check it out and it's absolutely perfect. It's grey with creamy dots so the overall effect is a perfect "greige". I have more here in my Fabritopia store and it's only 12.99 a yard! Each chair has taken about 1.5 yards so it's been a very reasonable and beautiful solution.
Here's what I started with. I bought 6 of these parsons chairs from a Craigslist add for 65.00 (plus they threw in a table for free which I used as a desk for awhile then got rid of). They are comfortable and the fabric was in good shape so they looked fine with everything but I wanted them to look super fine.
I looked all over for a pattern and ended up purchasing one but I didn't like all the extra pieces (I knew with some pleats and corners it could be simplified and still look smart). I took the process nice and slow with the first one since I knew I needed a good pattern in order for the other 5 to be easy. I used muslin for the pattern pieces and started sewing, seam ripping, and sewing again until the fit was nice. I started with the seat.
I then added the seat back and worked hard to get the pleats at the top corners nice and tight and made sure the seam where the two pieces met was low enough to not pull apart from the pressure of someone sitting but high enough to not look baggy the rest of the time.
When I added the back piece I knew it would need to open up a little in order to slide onto the chair (it's wider at the top than the bottom). The pleat opens about 7 inches from the top so it's not baggy. I wasn't careful to match my dot pattern with this back piece but if fixed that on the other 5 so you can't really see the seam (and this one goes against the wall where nobody can see the back!).
I wanted the skirt to look finished but still be soft looking and these gently flared pleats did the trick. Plus the piping gives it a smart finish. This first one was a little droopy at the front of the seat so I raised the pattern up in that spot for the rest of them. I'm okay with the first chair being less-than-perfect (it took me awhile to get to the place in life!).
I just made a simple, but crisp, bow to pull the pleat together in the back. I considered a button and loop, a frog closure, hidden hook and eye...but finally settled on the bow. I really like it.
So here's my room at this point and I couldn't be happier. It looks like somebody cared enough to take care of the details. I'm shopping for a new light fixture next.
And Joey found these HENRIKSDAL chairs for the end of the table in the AS IS section of IKEA. They were half price and are a close enough match that I don't know if anyone will even notice the difference one they're covered. I'm working on a pattern right now and will be able to make it available to others since these chairs are easier for folks to get.
Have a great week and keep on sewing!!!