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Dining Chair Slips & New Curtains


Believe it or not, sewing is not something I really enjoy.  It’s something I do, so I can get the look I want.  And I don’t hate it so much that I’m not willing to do it.  Sometimes I get in a mood to sew and then I have to take advantage of that.  I’m in one of those moods now, so I got three out of four of the dining chairs slipcovered and I just love how they turned out.

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I know they are frilly.  I know they have bows.  I love them anyway and embrace that they are graceful chairs that deserve nicely tailored skirts!

Here’s how these chairs started out.  I bought the four on Craig’s List for $300 and had them stripped for an additional $200 for all four.


I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do with them, so I left them stripped for a few months until inspiration struck.

I stained and painted the frames for a two-tone look.  You can read about that HERE.  Now the cream leather seats weren’t working.  They were custom made for the chairs and were excellent quality, so I decided to keep them as is and just make some skirts for the seats.

I used one grain sack for all four seats (with enough left for a pillow case) and some of a mid-weight antique hemp sheet for the skirt and piping.

The sewing machines were humming Wednesday night while the boys were at Awana.  My mom came over to help me with cutting pieces and sewing the piping.  It was so awesome to get all of the prep work done, so by Thursday, I was able to crank out three of them.  Since sewing and upholstery isn’t super enjoyable to me, I just put on a movie to keep me entertained.  Anyway, here is how they turned out…

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I used grosgrain ribbon for the ties.

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Of all of the skirted chairs I’ve made, these are my favorite.  Instead of a pleat, I did a full very ruffle and this is the first time I’ve used fabric other than linen or drop cloth.  I have a beefy sewing machine now, so it went through those layers of hemp like butter.  I haven’t written a review on it, because I’m still getting used to it myself.  I have a lot of sewing, upholstery and slipcover projects on the list, so I’ll let you know once I get through more of those.

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I meant to work on the final slipcover today, but I got sidetracked and ironed and hung some of my new curtain panels in the family room.  I made these a few years ago after I painted the walls blue.  I was gearing up for the book and some other things, so I made a quick decision on the curtains.  I like them, but they are a lot more modern than most things in my house, so they’ve always felt a little off to me.  There are four windows, so replacing them means sewing eight new panels and I just explained how I felt about sewing.  Sewing eight panels did not sound like fun to me.

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Then, one day, I received an e-mail from a woman who was launching a new custom drapery business and asked if I would be her “guinea pig.”  She would have a chance to work with a client, get feedback and get some initial advertising and I would not have to sew eight curtain panels!  I selected a cream Belgian linen and received one set of panels a few weeks ago to make sure the sizing, quality, etc. was right and I just received the rest yesterday.  (More on that company later.)  So, today I’ve been ironing the panels and hanging them, which, of course, led to more.  I removed the blinds, since the curtains are functional drapes, which revealed all kinds of grime and nastiness, so I had to clean the windows, sills and casings.

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It’s the kind of change that takes some getting used to.  I’m used to patterned curtains, so switching to cream was a big visual change.  I love how they are just soft and compliment what’s around them instead of competing.

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The quilt is over the day bed until I reupholster it in a French General fabric I bought.  Blue and white, of course.

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And we’re going to remove the builder-grade trim and replace it with chunkier pine board trim in a bright white to match the trim in the 1940’s part of the house.  We’re also going to put in a 3/4 height wainscoting in bright white.  I think that will make the painted furniture and upholstery stand out better and the bright white will play nicely with the cream drapes.

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It’s been fun for me to get things done in my house that are just things I want to do.  So many of my projects center around freelance tutorials or things I need to paint/refinish/upholster to sell, so it’s nice to do some things just for me.

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  1. kimberly kuehneman says:

    Do you have any tutorials about how to hang wainscoting? I would like to do some in one of my bathrooms, but I know nothing about how to go about if.

  2. I love the new drapes.
    I actually liked the leather seats on your chairs but the slipcovers look awesome too.

  3. Laura Van Scott says:

    Beautiful job. Love to see your ideas.

  4. Lindsay says:

    I too use to have a drapery business. My favorite trick to make clients ceilings look higher is to put the rod about two to three inches from the ceiling or just under the molding. This technique carries your eye up and of course you want the hem of the drapery to just barely brush the floor.

  5. Your new curtains look fabulous — I like them much better than the older ones. And your slips look wonderful, too. I don’t enjoy sewing as much as I used to, but I do it for the same reason you do! That daybed is a beauty — can’t wait to see what you do with that.

  6. Kathryn says:

    NICE. Can’t tell from the distance if they’re ruffled or pleated. A close up? But either way, so nice to have something just for you!

  7. Jeanine C says:

    Love the chair pads and the new curtains! I think wainscot would look fabulous in there too. :)

    Enjoy your new look. It is always fun to change things up!

  8. I truly love the new draperies. I like the neutral look better. Unlike you, I love to sew. It is so funny to me that you don’t really like it, but it was YOU that started me slip covering. I never had the thought that I could co it before. So, Thnak you! Shows you can give someone something from an area one had no idea would influence another….. CeCe

  9. Barbara says:

    Could have fooled me that you really don’t enjoy sewing whenever I see what your finished products are! You plow ahead with a positive attitude about the challenge and conquer it. Your style would not fit into my home, but I’m always forwarding your blog to my sister who does have your style! Someday I’m going to screw up my sewing courage and try my hand at some chair pads! You give everyone hope that they can do it too!

    If you ever find the wonderful cow painting missing, you’ll know that I’ve managed to sneak in and wrest it from it’s place! Love it!

  10. I think you have made a fabulous job of the slip covers and saying you don’t like sewing I don’t think that it would have been an easy task. It is a shame though that the frill covers up the lovely carved flower detail at the top of the legs. I really loved how this came out when you re-painted them.

  11. You´ve made a great job with the chair seats!!The piping looks very complicated(good to have a mom aroound!)
    The new curtains really changed the room…to the better, I think! Now I´m waiting to see the same kind of curtains in your dining-room…..
    have a nice Sunday!

  12. I love your leather padding custom made. It makes the chairs comfy. Your chairpads weren’t strings to tie on–why I thought that I have no idea–your pad style is “beefy strong” and won’t get ripped up by boys scooting in their chairs. Is this weird or what? I did not think of them as frilly. More like gathered around. Like matching your drawn curtains. I don’t think we’d call that ruffle. I guess I just looked at new curtains, which you always know what to choose, and they are gathered back and so the chairpads seems to mimic that to me visually.
    I like how you did strip these chairs so that we see a new approach to using your paint and getting a different look. I like how you made the seats strong so no one falls through. I liked how you could get ALL those chair pads from one piece. It just all goes so well.

  13. Wow! Those curtains really lighten up the room and I loved the old ones. It’s amazing what a simple change will do to the lighting.

    I just went from patterned curtains to beige linen/burlap design. i love it but am still getting used to it. It has changed the whole feel of the room so now I want to change everything and lighten up! Hubby thinks I am nuts!

  14. Love the chairs! I need to keep my eyes open for some like those.

  15. The chairs look great!

  16. I love your style and colors! Your home looks welcoming
    and beautiful.

  17. For someone who doesn’t like to sew, you are a fabulous seamstress! Those seat covers/cushions are beautiful.

  18. Good Heavens, you’ve been working like a wild woman! And you’ve totally motivated me on sewing my runner and napkins…I’m working up to slip overs! Baby steps!

  19. Cheri says:

    I just absolutely LOVE your home and your style. Your blog is my most favorite. I can look at anything you post over and over and find new inspiration each time. Thank you for sharing and always inspiring!!

  20. I love the slipcovers. They are absolutely perfect! I just love your style.

    As for the drapes, I was thinking that a solid neutral drape would be perfect in the room since there were so many other patterns and then I saw the drapes. I like them but I think there are a few misses. I’d like to see them hung higher and I’d like to see them puddle on the floor an inch or so. I’d also like to see a border on the edge of the drapes. I think it would pull the room together a little better. They hang nicely though.

  21. Love the dining room chairs. Sewing is not something that I have ever enjoyed either, but I would give it a try if I thought I could create something like that. I guess with everything it takes practice, however, I would rather paint.

    Great look. Thanks for sharing

  22. I love how your new curtains layer in. They’re beautiful!

  23. Mary S says:

    Was wondering if you ran the gross grain ribbon thru the “pocket” on those seat covers or did you sew them on the ends? It looks like they go around the seat (but inside that little pocket). Really pretty! A few ruffles and bows are a good thing.

  24. Barbara Landers says:

    Marian, I am a complete tech ignoramous, so the only way I know to get photos from the blog is to use my camera. I didn’t take a photo of your former dining room pix that was at the top of your blog, and now regret it. I’ve gone back to archives, but don’t find it. I absolutely LOVED the dining table that you gave to your Aunt. I sooooo wanted a pix of it. Can you help me out? I thought that dining room arrangement was elegant!


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