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50's Chic

I love the style of these chair's. They were actually really easy to recover. At the time I was still working as a waitress full time and I used to work in our living room, with our new kitten Tig keeping an eye on me (keep an eye out you'll spot her).

Now the first thing to do with any furniture project is carefully strip it. Don't hack, don't cut, look. I always take pictures, it's a nice memento, but more importantly it's a record of how to put it back it together (you might laugh but you'd be surprised how many times I've had to look back....) Sometimes, like with these, you'll find that more than one layer of fabric. It can be just simpler to put a layer over the top. However I find the best way, especially when you're working with a complicated shape, is to carefully remove the original covering and use it for a pattern. Which is exactly what I did in this case. I made pattern pieces from the original covering and used these to cut out the new covers. Always plan how you're going to cut out your fabric for two reasons, firstly to make sure you've got enough and secondly to make sure that any pattern or nap (this is on a fabric with a pile, so like velvet where the fabric is hairy) is going the right way,you want to make sure the fabric is smooth when you run your hand from top to bottom on the back and back to front on the seat.

Furniture of this era often has a metal frame, springs and foam. This particular type of spring is called a tension spring and was used in the base and back. Because the frames are metal you can't staple the fabric to it, as a result the designers have come up with alternative ways to attach the fabric. Here that was little metal clips and eyelets with nylon cord to strap the covers in place.

There's other little details which include fabric pieces to cover the spring clips to stop them from rubbing at the covers and eventually wearing away the foam itself. These had worn out and I needed to replace them. The originals were made from PVC. I replaced them a synthetic leather, it was easier to sew with and I had some laying around. Where possible I like to use the same methods of construction, however for the sake of speed and expense I replaced the eyelets and cord on the seat cushion with velcro. Interesting fact for you, Velcro didn't enter into common usage until the late 60's' early 70's and then it was used in sports ware!

Now, Fabric wise the original was synthetic and it was replaced with a synthetic, for several very practical reasons. When these chairs first arrived with me they were covered in a heavy weight cotton which had done a good service! However, where we live the sun is very strong and it had bleached it badly. The sun will do that to natural fibres. The lady who owns these beauties also had several animals so she needed something that could take a bit of a battering and wouldn't bleach in the sunlight. It's always worth considering how the piece is going to be used when selecting fabric. Having furniture upholstered isn't cheap so if you're going to do it you want it to last as long as possible. She chose these two fabrics, the slight variant in colour helps to hide marks. Have to admit I loved the fabric chosen and the overall out come. Had an eye out for something similar ever since.....

So if you see something like this second hand don't be scared to give it a go, just take you're time and take lots of pictures as you go so you can remember how to put it back together. Happy Hunting!

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