patience pays off

Marian ParsonsFurniture Makeovers, upholstery37 Comments

Usually, when I am dragging my feet on a project, it’s because 1.) I’m not 100% sure of the direction I want to go, 2.) I know what I’d like to do, but the execution of it is going to be tedious, and/or 3.) I question whether I can pull off what I envision.

There are times when I bulldoze through, anyway, just for the sake of being done.  Historically, that doesn’t work out well for me or the project.

So, I’ve learned that these roadblocks are generally a good thing and I just need to be patient until I can move forward confidently.

That’s exactly why this chair has taken me months!  Well, I was busy with other things also, but I really could’ve had this chair done a long time ago.  I just kept getting stuck and I really wanted this chair to turn out well, so I kept stopping and waiting until I was confident moving forward.


When I last showed the chair, I was planning to use an antique blue checked duvet for the back and trim on the cushion.  I envisioned a petite ruffled trim instead of more traditional piping, but every time I went to work on the piece, it just didn’t feel right.


On my most recent shopping trip, I found a beautiful German, antique linen pillowcase.  I washed it and planned to use it as a pillowcase (it says “sweet dreams” in German, patterned in a strip of crochet).  When I brought it to the studio, I set it on the chair, not really thinking anything of it, but then I looked at the size of the pillowcase and the size of the cushion.

Hmmmm…  I wonder…

Well, it didn’t hurt to try it on and see how it worked!  I decided to put the crochet detail down and let the buttons be the feature on the front of the cushion….


It fits perfectly and seems to suit the lack of structure a down cushion provides.  The pillowcase was $15 and it saved me hours of sewing.

mms-3484 mms-3485 mms-3486

With the cushion now “done”, I decided to use white hemp sheet with a fine weave for the chair back, so it worked with the texture of the linen sheet.  I loved the blue check, but I felt like it might limit what rooms I could use the chair in and this is the kind of chair that could get moved around a lot.


And now I’ve come to the conclusion that the only way to finish this off is with a proper custom-made double-welting.  Yes, it’s a pain and a lot of sewing, but it’s the right choice for this chair, so I pulled out the big-honking roll of cotton piping and I’ll work on it tomorrow.


I do have a new double-welting foot for my Sailrite, so that will really help with the sewing process.  I’ll take some pictures and share how I do it.

In addition to upholstering the back of this chair today, I worked on the art cabinet and it’s looking so much better than it did as I left it before my trip.  And, while that paint was drying, I worked on a new landscape dresser I’m working on for a client.  So, I have lots of fun things to work on and some reveals right around the corner…


PS – A very happy birthday to Frederick Banting, the man who first used insulin on humans.  My type 1 diabetic son is alive today because of him and others who continue that work to discover better treatments for insulin-dependent diabetics and hopefully, one day, a cure.


patience pays off

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37 Comments on “patience pays off”

  1. Marian, the pillowcase that you ended up going with looks beautiful. The combination of the chair’s elegant bones with the utilitarian beauty of the buttons and linen is gorgeous. Good choice!
    My husband is Type 2, but, he could eventually wind up doing shots, too. Thank you for being open about this common but terrible disease. God is using you as an advocate, not only for your son, but others who need fighting for, too.

  2. Hi Marian: The chair is looking amazing and I agree Happy Birthday Frederick Banting. He is Canadian and they have his home setup as a museum not far from where I live. They also named a school for him. Banting Memorial. My mom is diabetic, so I will be forever grateful for what he has done.

  3. Marian, the chair looks awesome!! Gives me hope and strengthens my resolve to not let my hubs put my two similar ones to the curb!! One day I will finish them, one day…

  4. Sometimes in life, there are reasons things don’t get finished, or put off, sometimes its the perfect solution that’s just waiting in the wings…and this is PERFECT. I love it. And I love this chair!

  5. Is this the ‘Deconstructed Chair’? Was curious to see your end product, but you’re no longer going for that look?

    1. Yes, that’s the one! As I started working on it, I realized it just wasn’t going to work on this one. The horse hair stuffing and burlap were shedding, the muslin was pretty ratty, etc. Maybe another one!

  6. “In medical school (diabetes) is taught as incurable because in their way (of treating it) it is: if you’re having meat, sugar and all that. But from our approach it is curable: in three weeks, 53% of type 2 diabetes are off all medication and cured. In type 1 diabetes, 30% of people are off all medication and cured.”

    Raw veganism

    1. This statement in regard to type 1 diabetes is ignorant and dangerous. I generally wouldn’t argue with a reader, but this is a gross misunderstanding of type 1 diabetes. In a type 1, their pancreas cannot produce insulin, which is required for the body to convert food into energy. It is an autoimmune disease and has nothing to do with diet. While diet can definitely help with keeping blood sugar levels stable, it cannot eliminate dependence on insulin for a T1D.

      Simply put, if my son doesn’t take insulin, he will die, no matter what he eats.

      I have nothing against raw veganism, but it cannot cure T1D.

      1. Holy cow! No joke! That statement is a complete and total lie with regards to type 1.
        Type 2 is easily reversed with a paleo type diet, but lets just set up the perfect way to kill a type 2 in 24 hours!

      2. When my then 18-year-old daughter was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes, we embraced every seminar, etc. to get information. We were appalled at how very little information applied to Type 1, and wasted money and time sitting in classes which were totally geared to Type 2.
        As Type 2 became so prevalent and could be successfully treated with diet and exercise, type 1 diabetes again seemed to take the back burner.

        We have worked with a wonderful endocrinologist for years, and continue to hope and pray for a cure. I totally understand your frustration with the misunderstanding that floats around regarding Type 1. It’s dangerous, and one can only hope that the medical community is better informed!

        My “mother’s heart” goes out to you. God bless.

  7. I love the pillowcase but would like to see it turned over. Having the button closure facing up would drive me crazy! when people sit it will get folded over and creased and the buttons will come undone and well you know what I mean???

    1. I thought the same thing! Love, LOVE using the pillowcase, but would have to flip it over or it’s would drive me nuts!

  8. I teared up reading that post script. You are right–our boy is alive because he had the idea to get insulin from the fetal pancreases of dogs and cows. Thank God for his work!

  9. Marian,
    I love the chair!! The tears rolling down my face because of your happy birthday wish! Yes, as we talked about, Lord willing there will be a cure for Type 1. And better education for people as well. And I put old self included in that..getting it confused with Type 2 somewhat. Yet, knowing it can never be cured like Type 2 can. Praying for that cure in his and Connor’s life time. 🙂

  10. Good advice…Sometimes we find exactly what we need when we aren’t looking for it….
    I agree the miracle of insulin and hopefully a few short steps away from a cure.

  11. Marian, love that you got an idea from the pillowcase! It looks awesome, would love to see the other side of the pillowcase. So my little suggestion would be to fashion a new cover for the cushion in the style of the pillow case then you have the best of both worlds. You would have an easy cushion cover made and a beautiful German pillowcase. Just my 2 cents!!

  12. Amen! My 22 year old, type 1 diabetic daughter is alive and thriving because of insulin! Thank you for the post!! I share my heart with you in so many ways!

  13. Love this chair… and especially the monogram on the back rest. And what is better than discovering an unexpected, easy and elegant solution for the seat cushion!

  14. I have a piece I’ve been working on painting for a year! It’s a custom piece my husband made for me. The first color was too light, couldn’t even tell I had painted anything. After many months I decided on a color to try. It wasn’t what I hoped for so I let it sit for several months again to see if the color would grow on me. It didn’t, but I wasn’t sure what to try next. A couple of weeks ago, I got an idea, and it’s finally coming together. With any luck, it will be finished this weekend. It’s never taken this long for a project to come together before, btI’m so glad I waited patiently (sort of) for the right idea to come to me.

  15. I love the way the buttons are on the cushion. I would like a peak at the script on the other side!

  16. Yeah! I knew if I could just be patient i would see a tutorial on double welting. Interesting that you have a double welting foot. I’ll have to check if I can get one for my 1968 Bernina. Looking forward to seeing you do it.

  17. It’s looking good the best things come to those who wait but i want to see the other side of the cushion now you’ve mentioned the embroidery ……
    What colour will the welt be ? I’m waiting to see your tutorial on how to make it ! my next project is going to need it and I’ve never tried to make it yet it looks complicated?

  18. I can’t wait to see the end product. I have 2 of the exact same chairs in cream that I’m stuck on. They are the most comfortable “lady” chairs I call them. They are tufted on the back which I love but wasn’t sure if I should paint or keep the wood.

  19. Thank you for mentioning Frederick Banting. My 32 yr old son is alive today because of him too! ? when it gets hard he always reminds himself how much he has to be thankful for now that there is insulin. When they find a cure every T1 mama will drop to her knees and cry, and then…we’ll dance.

  20. I just happened upon your site because I just bought the green Miss Mustard Seed Milk Paint and your table project caught my eye. This led me to some of your other posts which talked about your son having Type 1 Diabetes. My son was diagnosed with Type 1 at age 13 and is now 30. He has always had great control and his A1C is right where it should be. I don’t know how old your son is, but a “normal” life is totally possible. It was devastating when he was diagnosed, but he is happy, healthy and has children of his own now. Wishing you and your family the very best.

  21. Can I ask you what fabric you used for the slipcover on the wingback chair in the background of the 4th photo? It’s exactly what I’m looking for to do mine! Love at the beautiful things you do!

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