Pretty Patchwork

Hello Everyone!

I mentioned in my last post that I would show you our gorgeous patchwork chairs and the process to get them from an ugly old dining chair to a thing of beauty !

I am always particularly happy when I find an upholstered dining chair that is in reasonable condition. Quite often the upholstery is in a terrible state and I am no upholsterer so I have to walk on from those lots and hope for richer pickings another time. This chair was in a good condition so was ripe to be patchworked.

I have been collecting a selection of pink,red and turquoise fabrics for some time, and as turquoise is featuring heavily in interiors this season, I decided to go with turquoise paint for the chair to tie it all together. I ended up using some fabrics from current collections in the shop, combined with others from my fabric pile.

First things first – I cut out 25  12cm x 12cm squares. Squares can be any size, the bigger the better if you want a quicker end result but not too big or you wont get the right look.

Next,  i stitched 5 together in a row. I always try to have them in a random pattern but just keep checking you don’t have two squares of the same print next to each other. Press all the seams so they are pointing in the same direction. Next sew all the rows together and press again. Voila – patchwork done!

Now the messy bit! I remove all the old fabric from the chair base and any old upholstery tacks that are hanging around. I use pliers, makes life much easier. Sand the chair with a medium sanding block to remove any old varnish or paint which allows the new coats of paint to stick properly to the wood. It is advisable to put a primer or undercoat on your chair now and once dried, you are ready to get cracking with the good stuff!

I chose Grecian Spa for this turquoise chair in a gloss finish because I wanted lovely shiny paintwork. Two coats and a lot of drying time later, I was ready to get busy with the staple gun and the upholstery tacks.

Next stretch a piece of calico across the seat and staple into place. It is very important to make sure you have everything taught with no wrinkles ( a bit like your face!) and work opposite side to opposite side. Now stretch the patchwork piece across the seat, checking the seam lines on the patchwork are straight in both directions. Staple into place, again checking the fabric is nice an taught. It can be a bit fiddly folding the fabric on the corners and keeping everything neat, but persevere, it’ll be worth it.

I had been keeping a lovely piece of white tape with red polka dots safe in my sewing box for ages, and decided to use it on the chair. It was about 2cm wide, perfect to hide all the staples. Start at one end where the back of the chair rises out of the seat and hammer in an upholstery tack. Pull the tape or braid tight and hammer in another tack and so on. It’s a good idea to work out how to space them evenly before you start hammering.

Trim the ends, check for any threads poking out of the patchwork and you’re done. The chairs look really stunning and people never fail to admire them in the shop. I just want to find a set of six chairs to patchwork to go around my dining table. Best start looking!

See you all soon

Lexi x

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