Thursday, August 30, 2012

Houndstooth Chair Makeover

 Dining room chairs are one of those essentially comfortable must-haves.  One of the most important places in the house, where you eat your meals and sit for hours while on your computer must be totally functional, support your body nicely, hopefully looking great all the while.  But how do you do this on a budget?  Here is one idea for keeping costs down while getting some great style.

I found these two vinyl duds at a Pepe's Thrifty Shop for $25.00 each.  Black with brown painted legs, they were nothing great to look at but are totally comfortable and well made.  In certain places, (like the crease between the seat and the back), hints of coral peeked out, showing signs of a formerly coral chair that had been sloppily painted black.  No worries here, my plan was to cover them in a swath of elegant houndstooth.  See how it turned out!
$25 at Pepe's Thrifty Store in Los Angeles.

Trim and Tack fabric adhesive ($15) and the 2 yards of Sunbrella fabric ($30/yd at Lincoln Fabrics).  You'll also need black glossy paint, a hammer, a razor, sandpaper, a staple gun and scissors. 
First, measure out enough fabric to cover the seat making sure to allow for  2-3 inches to tuck into the crease of the chair, then cut two.

2. Mask legs, then spray Trim and Tack over the top of the seat.  See the coral peeking through the crack here?  No worries, soon to be gone.

3.  The Trim and Tack will spray like a spider web- it's really cool to watch.

4.  Tuck fabric in crease, then slit side and pull far back enough to cover the sides and wrap a little around the back.
5.  Staple gun fabric to bottom of chair, turning fabric under as you go.  This photo is a little confusing because the upside down chair is sitting on the second upright chair but this is the bottom.

6.  Remove furniture tacks with a razor.  Keep tacks in a safe place, will reuse.  More coral peeking through!  Love this vintage color.

And it looks like this chair is no stranger to being made over.    Opening the back, we see another hidden  green 50's fabric under the coral.  I'm guessing this makes it the chair's third makeover in 60 years.  Go D.I.Y.ers of all generations.

8.  Cover the reupholstered seat well and spray Trim and Tack onto the front, sides, and back of the seat.

9.  Tuck the fabric in the crease, then pleat on side bottom, wrap around back and staple gun holding tightly.

10.  Fold fabric in back so it is straight.  Cut excess away and pull tight down back.

11.  Re-insert evenly spaced furniture tacks hopefully finding the original holes.

12.  Pull fabric down and staple gun to bottom of chair.

13.  Sand lightly, then carefully paint the four legs black.  This actually should always happen first because if you get paint on the new fabric you are really screwed.  I had someone bringing me paint and couldn't wait for it to arrive before I started re-doing the chairs but when you do yours, remember, paint first ;)

Elegant in black and white and perfect with this table, also from Pepe's Thrifty Shop  ($95.00)
The simple lines of the chair really stand out in this black and white room. 

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Peek-A-Boo Lace Swimsuit Cover-up

This past weekend, we went on a quick jaunt down to Palos Verdes' Terranea Resort.  With swimming pools in every direction, I thought it'd be the perfect time to try out an old Victoria's Secret swimsuit cover-up that I'd picked up precisely for this sort of poolside occasion (15 years ago).  Not a great idea. Not only did the cover-up look like a sack of potatoes, this solid mass of crinkled silk trapped the heat like one, too, and left me feeling like I was stuck in an oven. This thing looked great, but it needed ventilation, and fast. So with the fog rolling out and the kids bouncing on the bed, I thought I'd break this classic shift up with the most feminine form of ventilation - a lace panel. The result was a comfortable, stylish redux. And a great weekend under the sun.

1.  Cut a panel out of the back side of dress.

2.  The crinkling makes this look like it's "v"ing but it's straight.

Open back.

Place lace in the slit.
Cut the lace to the desired width.  Stitch in place with a simple straight hand-stitch.

And here it is in the back.
Or the front.
Heading for the pool!

Monday, August 27, 2012

Lace and Stripes Buddy Shirts

When Marisa Lynch and I saw this lace/striped shirt, we thought, oh yeah, that's totally cute and very do-able.  A quick and easy splice and sew project- we just happened to have two shirts that my dear friends Phoebe (stripes) and Gail (lace) had given me, project-ready.   Thanks to all my buddies that made these two awesome shirts possible. 

Gail's Lace Shirt
Phoebe's Striped Shirt
Trying to figure out how to dice it up to maximize the fabric.
Snip Snip, scalloped along the edge of the lace under the chest, leaving enough for another bottom.
All sewed with a zig-zag stitch on the machine.  It took 15 minutes to sew both shirts!
The first, long-sleeved, more substantial shirt.

And the shirt with the smaller leftover pieces.
Perfectly half and half, we wasted not a thread.

With pops of red, they really look nautical yet sort of Frenchy, non?

Marisa is such a spazz.- too much caffeine, girl!

Soooo tired after all that sewing!  Let's take a nap.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Ruched Vintage Scarf Purse and Matching Shorts

After over a decade, this lovely faded jean purse had just run its course in my wardrobe.  From Paris, it was great for going out holding a lipstick, wallet, and some cash when I lived there eons ago. Today, it just looks tired- way too much discoteque.  Enter, a scarf.  A quick hand-stitch cover-up to make it come alive again and a pair of matching shorts to make it feel like it finally has a little company after being solo for so long.  Shall we dance?  

The original Benetton purse and the lucky vintage scarf.

1.  No complicated technique here, just wrap around the scarf across the bag and use a simple whip-stitch, turning the sides under.

2.  Gather the excess and seam under at the bottom.  More whip-stitchin'.
3.  Finish off on the first side by ruching the wrapped around side for  symmetry with a straight-stitch.


And now the shorts...

1.  Iron double sided interfacing to the back of the scarf.

2.  Iron to shorts.

3.  Trim to fit around fly, pocket, and hem.

4.  Machine stitch the fabric to the shorts.
Ready to party!