Friday, September 12, 2008


As I said earlier, we recovered a gross arm chair...

a few weeks ago I paid 5 dollars for an an antique armchair upholstered in a fabric reminiscent of something from an interior room in a Charlotte Perkins Gilman short story. At the time the QB was still pregnant, and spending quite a bit of time on the couch in the living room. I brought the chair home from the thrift store, vacuumed it out on the back patio and brought it in the house, setting it down across the room from her. "If you start seeing shadows in the pattern," I told her, "just don't start circling the room."1

I hadn't told her I was planning on buying a chair, and with all the other things that needed to be unpacked and organized in the house, I felt kind of foolish bringing in this seemingly nonessential project. However, I bought the chair to replace the rocking chair which I'd moved up into the boys' room to use as a 'get-the-monkey-to-sleep' aide because I didn't think I could move the rocking chair without replacing it with something else. So with the Mr. Baseball off to his first day of kindergarten and the QB not feeling very well, the Monkey and I got to work. First I went to Walmart and bought 5 yards of upholstery fabric. Then I went to Lowe's and bought some upholstery nails and some staples for the heavy-duty stapler. At home I didn't really know where to start. The QB wasn't in much shape to spend hours at the sewing machine, and I had no idea how to use the sewing machine. After holding the fabric up to the chair several times I decided that I'd just cut panels to fit each part of the chair, and then staple and nail it in place.I used an old sheet to cut out patterns and the QB gave me occasional tips.
Once the pattern was done, the Monkey helped me cut the fabric into the eight separate pieces of fabric that we would use to recover the chair.
He was very helpful.

We pinned on the front panels first, and then making up things as we went, we managed to cover the entire chair. The only part we decided to sew was the cushion itself, which wouldn't take a staple or a nail.
I had to take a break from the project in the evening to help with dinner and bed time, but when everyone was asleep I went back to work, finishing the chair at about 2:30 in the morning.

and now, with just a touch of Old English furniture polish for the legs, the chair was done. No more faded yellow and green upholstery, no more dingy smell, no more unsettling reminders of creepy modern American short stories about bed-ridden women and their unfeeling, misguided husbands. We've still got to finish sewing the cushion, but that's on the list for tomorrow.

1 "The Yellow Wallpaper" is a short story about the slow mental destabilization of a woman experiences a the hands of her (?)well meaning(?) but misguided husband. She spends most days in bed, in a room lined in elaborate yellow wallpaper and eventually starts seeing shadows in the patterns that driver her mad. Not that I was worried about the QB going mad--maybe just stir crazy. I can't imagine feeling the way she felt all those weeks she was morning sick. And any attempt on my part to understand, seemed patronizing or just plain silly. All I could do was wash the dishes, vacuum, and bring her another Popsicle from the freezer.


Jonathan said...

Way to go! I am totally impressed. We recovered a rocking chair, but only with Jonathan's mom's help. Could we do it again without her? Maybe, but it would be scary.

Ma Fitz said...

Way to go! May I come sit in that chair next week?

cari said...

Wow Joey! Impressive for sure. Looks great.