Nursing chair: after the hiatus

Nursing chairWow, this nursing chair has taken a while to complete.  I was given it in late 2012, and spent much time the week before I gave birth in February 2013 on my friend’s sewing machine, reupholstering it with grey fabric – you can follow its progress here, and see it with the matching footstool here. Continue reading

More cushions

Chair with seat and back

I’ve just finished the back cushion for the nursing chair.  I sewed it much the same as the seat cushion, except it was much thinner, so I managed to sew the fourth side closed, rather than having to use velcro like I did with the seat.

I tried to judge where the tabs were to attach it to the chair by eye, just looking at the old cushion cover.  This went drastically wrong, and the velcro was hanging on by the skin of its metaphorical teeth because the tabs were in the wrong place.

Chair with seat back and cushions



When Barry then yanked the cushion off the seat (WHY?) on the day I finished it, I then burst into tears and had a bit of a paddy.  Mostly baby-related, I’m sure.  I’ve now taken the tabs off and reattached them, using the chair as a guide this time instead of, erm, nothing.

The arms have also now been completed.  These were made from scratch with some foam I bought from eBay.  The previous arm cushions had three press studs on the underside of each arm to hold them in place, so I also bought some silver coloured heavy duty studs from eBay that I hoped would fit the same studs (they did, phew!).

Chair with armsI sewed a pocket into the cushions (as the previous ones had them, although I’m not sure I’ll use them), and used the sewing machine to close all four sides.  When the heavy duty studs arrived, it turns out they weren’t long enough to go through several layers of heavy duty upholstery fabric, so Barry tested them and it turned out they can go through two layers.  I had to unpick one side of the sewing I’d done, Barry got to work in a manly fashion to hammer the studs into place, and then I resewed (is that a word?) that side closed.

Arm pocket

It’s not amazing craftsmanship, so you can’t look too closely, but I am very proud of this chair!  I’m hoping when the weather brightens up a bit, Barry will take up the painting mantle and paint it white.

Just waiting now for some staples to arrive and we can do the last part – the stool.

Fixing up the chair

Fabric

Following on from my post about the nursing chair, we collected the 5m of lovely velvety grey fabric that I bought from eBay (finally, a purchase that’s gone right!), and it came in a huge roll that seems a bit overwhelming!

The books from the library were useless.  Well, that’s a bit unfair – they were useless for my purposes. Lots of talk about hammers and ripping stuff up.  I’m just re-covering cushions, so I’ve returned the books and I’m just muddling through.

I’ve decided not to repaint the chair’s frame right now, because the weather is appalling and we’d never get it done outside at the moment.  Nor do I particularly want to be breathing in noxious fumes inside!  We can always do that later if the mood strikes us – it would definitely look brilliant in white.

Sewing cushionThe chair has a seat, back, two arm cushions and a stool that need re-covering, so I thought I’d start with the most simple of them all, the seat.

I started by cutting a piece of fabric bigger than the size of the cushion I was covering, big enough to go up the sides as well.  Using Charlie’s sewing machine, I stitched it inside out on three sides, stabbing myself repeatedly with pins.  Quite literally, there’s been my blood, sweat and tears over these cushions.

I then cut away the excess fabric around where I’d sewn and turned the cover the right way around.

Sewing cushion 2This made me happy, because it was actually starting to look like a cushion.

Because the sewing machine isn’t an upholstery one, try as I might, I could not for the life of me get it to stitch the fourth side because the cushion was too thick for it to get anywhere near the needle.  I ended up stitching velcro to each side of the join (having taken the cushion out again, harder than it sounds), and velcroing it shut.

I then made two tabs for the back, to attach it to the chair frame, again with velcro on, and again, much harder than I just made that sound (it took about five attempts to get it right).  Et voilà!

Nursing cushion

 

Chair fabrics

Upholstery fabrics

These are the three fabric samples I ordered for the nursing chair.  The bottom one’s very much like the fabric on our sofa at the moment, a slate grey, and the top one doesn’t look as nice in real life as it appears in pictures.  It just so happens (and this never happens!) that I like the cheapest one (the middle one).

It’s supposed to be grey-beige but looks like the platinum one we had our eye on when we went to the upholsterers.  It’s £8.99/m and the eBay seller lives about 5 minutes from my house so I can collect it.  The upholsterers thought we’d need 3.5m of material, so I think I might get 5m, just to be on the safe side.

Looking at the other items this eBay seller has, I’m wondering if I need more supplies.  They seem to have upholstery nails and jute webbing, and I don’t even know what they’re for.  Still awaiting these books from the library, hopefully they can shed some light on it.  I know I need some more foam for the arms, but I think the other cushions are fine.

My friend Charlie’s an angel and has already brought her sewing machine around for me to use once we’ve got the fabric sorted.  It’ll be a bit trial and error though because none of us can remember how to use a sewing machine.  It’ll be better than the Singer though as it has a foot pedal so there’s a real chance I might be able to sew in a somewhat straight line this time.

Reupholstering

We’ve very kindly been given a nursing chair by my friend Helen, but as it doesn’t fit in with the room (that sounds very fancy pants!) and it’s a little bit worn, we thought it might be nice to see about getting the cushions for it covered in a grey material.

Nursing chair

We took the cushions and the matching footstool to a local place that does reupholstery for a quote, not having a clue how much it would be, chose a cheap fabric (£12/m), they said it would probably take 3.5m, and the total would be £190.  I needed a chair to sit in after that – it’s probably more than the chair cost in the first place!

Granted, its arm cushions are falling apart and need more foam, and I don’t think it’s the easiest item to recover but all of the cushions come off (apart from the footstool is fixed).

I’ve ordered a bunch of books from the library about reupholstery and am thinking about having a go myself (although I’m pretty sure I’ll need to borrow an electric sewing machine from a lovely friend) – it doesn’t need to be perfect!  I do think it’s a bit more than my trusty Singer could handle though.  The other option is to throw a blanket over the whole thing.

If anyone has any tips on this, they’d be gratefully received!