I have been in an upholstery mood lately and I’ve learned I need to take advantage of that sort of mood and get some upholstery done.  Kriste worked on stripping a couple of chairs we had hanging in the stash and I started upholstering this beauty.  One of my regular shoppers at Lucketts sent me pictures of it, asking if I would be interested.  Well, of course!  So, we negotiated a trade.  Jeff’s face was a riot when he saw someone bringing a piece of furniture to our booth instead of away from it.  Especially a chair with grass hanging out of it.  But he didn’t see what I saw.  I saw the gorgeous patina on the wood frame and the old straw and horse hair stuffing.  I knew I could bring this old girl back to life and she would be worth it.

I’ve also been really into checks lately.  I’ve added a blue & white buffalo check to the family room and red & white buffalo check to the guest room.  I cut a piece of smaller-scale checked fabric off of a huge bolt I had and used it as a tablecloth in the dining room.

 When I shared it, several people commented that it looked “too country” and I know what they mean.  Checks were everywhere in the 1980’s-90’s country along with the geese, bears, stencils, baskets, dried flowers, blue and mauve.  So, I get it if some people shudder at the thought of checks.  To me, though, this check looks very European.  I see checks like this a lot in Swedish decor and I remember checks being used a lot when I lived in Germany.  My dollhouse bed had a red & white checked duvet, in fact.

I spread some of the checked fabric over the chair frame and immediately got excited about it.  I knew I would have to work carefully to keep the checks straight and I knew it was a lot more bold then my usual grain sacks with simple blue stripes and monograms, but my gut told me to go with it.

And I absolutely love it.  I think this fabric on an oversized rolled-arm chair might look 1980’s country, but on this hand-carved antique French-style chair frame it doesn’t at all.

I even took the time to make double-welting trim.  On the bias.  I’m getting fancy!  I hate cutting fabric on the bias (diagonal), because it feels like such a waste, but with a check, you really need to or the pattern looks strange.  Also, it really does lay better and the seams are flatter.  I have loads of this fabric, so I wasn’t as concerned about giving up a couple of yards to make the double-welting properly.

I will be making tutorials on reinforcing a back like this one (when it’s just an open frame) and on making the double-welting as well.

And don’t even ask if this chair is for sale.

It’s very happy right where it is.


  1. Donna

    I don’t think it looks too country! I especially love how the double-welting formed triangles. Cutting on the bias paid off big time…it’s perfect!

  2. Desi

    I love it! It’s my favorite you’ve ever done. I’ve always love blue and white. Checks never go out of style.

  3. Sylvia

    It doesn’t look country at all. You are right; the style of the chair makes all the difference. Beautiful job.

  4. Karyn

    I love it! So beautiful!

  5. Kaille

    I am such a sucker for checks – from the boldest buffalo check to the sweetest gingham. This is absolutely beautiful – I think my favorite piece ever. You never cease to amaze.

  6. Kelly - Talk of the House

    Oh my word…I am smitten with that chair!! I could find a dozen places for it in my house. Loved your, “Don’t even think about asking if it is for sale.” Too funny! You did a jam up job on that one for sure!

  7. Karen

    Don’t you mean, “It’s not for sale… right now?” LOL It turned out beautifully. Like you, I taught myself how to re-upholster things through trial and error. I can’t wait to see the tutorial on the double welting. I have always wanted to know how to do that!

  8. Diane

    Fabulous! Wish I lived close to you…so many pieces of furniture that would look beautiful in my home! I am using lilac check at the moment for a really old wrought iron chair I found at a flea market for my granddaughters room….I love checks and gingham!

  9. Dorene - Seasonal Chapters

    Everything about this chair looks amazing…the patina, the blue and white, the checks, the double welting and the pattern created by cutting the material on the bias! As unusual, you did an incredible job! I am looking forward to the tutorial. Thank you so much for sharing your projects and your knowledge..

  10. karen

    Beautiful job, bias cut welting is a lot of work but this was so worth it! Looks fantastic and it’s not country, very french.

  11. Tracy@www.bluridgevintage.com

    I think you made a really good choice on fabric. I also get what people are saying about the blue and white checks, but I like you tend to think of the alternative places or era that might have used the same type. You have done a wonderful job with this chair. I loved it when I first saw you post about it. I think the bones of the chair was fantastic and the finish product is even better. Great Job!!

  12. Marian@CM Shaw Studios

    Beautiful upholstery job. So much polish here. And I love seeing what you are doing with all that fabric!
    The Other Marian

  13. Frankie

    Beautiful! I love the checks. To me, checks are timeless and cross decorating styles.

  14. Teresa

    Beautiful job on the upholstery. When I first saw the fabric used on your table I wasn’t crazy about it because it felt too “country” to me. Its amazing how fabric totally takes on a new personality by the style of furniture you use it on. Now, its got a whole “French or European” country vibe going on which I love.

    Just wondering on a comfort level how it sits since it had original horse hair and straw stuffing? Maybe I missed that step but did you keep that or replace it with a different filling?

    • marian

      I kept the hay and horse hair, because it was in good shape and sat well. I added a couple of layers of upholstery batting to give it a bit more softness, though, and to smooth it out.

  15. Alice R.

    This chair looks amazing! I love the chair, and that double welt is perfect. It makes such a difference. Wish it was mine!

  16. Karen

    I love the check, it looks especially gorgeous with the wood frame. It’s perfect for your home.

  17. Jelena

    Love how that chair turned out! The checked fabric definitely doesn’t look too country on this beautifully curvy French frame. I am surprised that you didn’t paint the frame though… 😉

  18. Ellen

    I don’t blame you — I would keep that one, too!

  19. Julie

    Hi, your work is exquisite, do you staple or glue your welting on and do you use a professional camera to take pictures of your work?

    • marian

      I glue on my welting. Yes, I shoot with a Nikon D800.

  20. teri

    love the chair.

    I have a light blue gingham tablecloth in my kitchen – it lifts and freshens the whole room. Gingham reminds me of European cafes with tables outside, and the 50’s. Is England Europe?

  21. Lynnette

    Oh my goodness…this chair makes my heart go pitter patter!! If/when she ever does become unhappy where she is, I would love to provide her a home here in Texas!!!!

  22. Ashlea

    Marian!! I love how this chair came together. I have 2 free chairs I got off of kijiji that I am planning to make slip covers for… I just need to bleach my drop cloth and get up the courage to GO for it! I also have my husband’s Oma’s chair… the seat back has button tufting, but the frame is similar to this one {the arms and the legs} perhaps I can send you a photo for design ramblings. I wonder if I could re-upholster and get rid of the tufting…? Id love to do grain sacks with a blue stripe.
    Wonderful work on this piece. I adore the blue check 🙂 I made some stockings with a small blue and white check top and linen boot for Christmas this year… not too country in the right doses!

  23. Linda

    The double welting is amazing and so perfectly matched!

  24. Rebecca

    You did a great job!! It is a beautiful chair and I love the color of the checks. Don’t pay any attention to what people think. You have great style.

  25. Jo @ Simple Pleasures Vintage

    I love how that chair came out! And I bow to your double welting! gorgeous!

  26. Janice

    Love the chair, especially the double wetting cut on the bias. Good job!

  27. Jan Ross

    Wow you did a spectacular job of upholstering this wonderful French chair. And your double welting – how superb! I agree with you when I’m cutting on the bias, I feel like I’m wasting fabric, but I always find uses for the overage either in pot holders or in quilting. Way to go Miss Mustard!

  28. Mz V

    I know I always say this, but this is my favorite of all your projects! It’s REALLY special, that blue check on that vintage French chair. And you are brilliant to recognize that checks do not HAVE to be country like ducks, etc. It’s timeless!!!

    Well done, you…

  29. Kathryn

    You nailed it. Stellar!!!

  30. Lesley

    It looks great, but I can’ help wondering why you didn’t paint it, you usually DO paint chairs! How did you decide not to?

    • marian

      Believe it or not, I don’t paint everything! This wood has a beautiful patina, so I left it alone. As a design choice, I like how the wood frames play against the fabric and my painted pieces.

  31. JudeB


    Well, I don’t really need more than the one word ……………. do I?

    Judi in the UK

  32. Cindy

    It is so adorable. I am a gingham lover for sure…


  33. betsy c

    Stunning! I really admire your patience for upholstery. I have too much ADHD 🙂

  34. Stacey Trap

    Loved checks then, love them now. I truly don’t think checks, gingham, buffalo checks
    will ever go out of style and I agree with your instinct that they look very Scandinavian.

    The chairs looks great and you did a very professional job!

  35. LittleBird

    WOW – how funny!! I just took a break from cutting ticking to make welting for my sofa and chair slipcovers! The sofa will have 3 fabrics on it – very Euro Boho and the chair has two – all coordinating. Because of YOU I am redoing my living room in blue . . . a color I have never used in my home.

    And that chair . . . it would look perfect in my new living room!!

  36. Cheryl

    Gorgeous! Love everything about it. Beautifully done!
    I would love to make a bathroom curtain and a pillow with that fabric.
    Love checks. Love that blue.

  37. Lynn

    Beautiful!! Probably my favorite piece to date.

  38. Ellie LaJuett

    I absolutely love this chair! I sure wish I could do upholstery!

  39. Laura

    This chair is my most favorite project you have ever done!! Love it

  40. Donna Ritchie

    Marian: I LOVE YOUR BEAUTIFUL FRENCH-CHECKED CHAIR. You really out-did yourself!

  41. Rita C at Panoply

    Wow, Marian, your work just keeps getting better and better. The welt trim is oh so fine!

  42. Donna C.

    Beautiful!! I adore checked fabric…very French country! That chair is perfection!

  43. Barb

    PERFECTION! Marian, it is stunning. The checks are very European. LOVE.LOVE.LOVE!
    You truly amaze me….you have so many gifts

  44. Christy Keyton

    I am laughing at your summary of the 80’s early 90’s decorating style – it was MY house. I painted my fireplace mantel dusty blue and had mauve accents in the room! Ducks and farm on a border in the breakfast room. AND lace duck curtains! Haha! BUT I still love checks and this chair is stunning!

  45. Naomi S.

    You did a lovely job on this gorgeous chair, Marian. Altho’ I have never been really gung-ho for checks, the buffalo checks look very modern on this chair, I think. Good choice, quality work!

  46. Kim

    Marion, Your chair is quite lovely! Blue and white has such timeless appeal. The blue and white tablecloth feels Swedish, not country. Your taste is perfect!

  47. Cristina

    Awesomeness!!! It looks amazing!

  48. Nancy

    You did a beautiful job! I always cut welting on the bias, it just looks so much better and professional. And the checks are in perfect alignment. Great job!

  49. Bonnie

    The chair turned out beautifully!

  50. Jenny B.

    I love checks! Especially in blue and white. They just look happy to me. Summery. Sunny. Picnic-y. I generally only shop for home accessories in the spring and summer because that’s the best time to find my favorite happy colors and patterns. 🙂 I think it turned out great!

  51. Dianne

    Fabulous! Don’t listen to anyone moaning about checks, this looks just perfect. Well done 🙂

    • Lisa Carter

      I SO agree! Checks are fabulous and the table doesn’t look too country either. Too bad you aren’t selling that chair…bwah hahahaha!

  52. Cecelia Krajcar

    You do know about making yards of bias from a square of fabric, right? If not, google it. I can help if you don’t find what you need to know about it. I used to wonder about it when you said you did not use bias to make your binding…. of course, too, you once said your readers are nore your mom’s age….well, I am probably more your grandmother’s age… smile…

    • Debi

      That’s exactly what I thought of! It’s a really great technique, I used it when I was making everything for my grandson’s nursery. Once you try it, you’ll never do it any other way!

  53. Pamela

    Love checks. Have some in almost every room. No one would ever call me country. Perfect in this application!

  54. Christina

    Thank you for not painting this fabulous chair! The check fabric looks great.

  55. Velia

    You have such a gift to envision a look and then create such beautiful items. The fabric looks very nice on the chair with its lovely craving and patina. Two thumbs up from me.

  56. Lauren Baxter

    I love the fabric, it doesn’t look to country at all! It still even has a French flare to me. Perfect choice and it fits your style beautifully!

    Way to stick with your gut!

    Lauren | LB Designs

  57. Krys

    Fabulous job!! I can’t wait until the tutorial for the rest of it. Thank you for sharing today’s post.

  58. Cindy

    Uh, there’s nothing wrong with country!!! And I’d love blue and white checks in my house. It has such a clean look!!

  59. Hyedi

    I don’t care what anyone says, that chair is STUNNING. And, if it makes YOUR heart skip a beat, then it was just meant to be.


  60. Pam

    Oh my gosh i love that chair….ignore those people, checks are timeless and the blue is beautiful. Someone said very french, its perfect. And there is nothing wrong with country.

  61. Brenda

    BEAUTIFUL!!! French country, country, who makes those rules??? Beautiful is beautiful in all languages(and decor…)!

  62. Olivia

    Where is that fabric from? i love it! and would love to cover a chair in it for my room

  63. michele

    I love it. I would go with YOUR gut any day! Thanks for the daily inspiration.

  64. Jaimee

    Absolutely love the check and double welting!! You did a beautiful job.

  65. mzloolue

    Red and white checks are used in the Governor’s Mansion in Williamsburg which is definitely as far from cutouts of ducks and grannyfannies as you can get. imo anyway.

  66. Suzanne Luttrell

    The country look on this chair doesn’t reminisce country because you have kept the dark finish on
    it, which dresses it up and creates a European look about it that you have to love!
    Country checks were used on oak and pine wood finishes in the 80’s, and very often painted wood.
    I used milk paint back then and it’s still the best finish in paint I ever found!

    I’m on your website and hoping to find the stencils used in your photos.

    Love the fun you post for us!

    Thank you!

  67. LindaSonia

    Great great Chair – may I ask what is your staple gun of choice???

  68. Meredith Guess

    I’m wanting to recover my DR chairs in this style of checked fabric. Is it poly/cotton blend or just poly? is it the 1inch check or smaller? It’s hard to tell just by your pictures and I’ve tried scrolling through the comments to find my answers but didn’t see anything that might help me. ANY quick tip or answer would be super helpful! Thank you!!

  69. corazon davis

    Hi Marian! I’m an avid fan of yours. I love this upholstered chair so much and just wondering where did you get this blue checked fabric. I would to do this in my newly purchased chairs. Thanks and more power.


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Marian Parsons - Miss Mustard Seed

I’m Marian, aka Miss Mustard Seed, a wife, mother, paint enthusiast, lover of all things home and an entrepreneur, author, artist, designer, freelance writer & photographer.  READ MORE to learn more about me, my blog and my business…

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