Confessions of a Wingback Chair

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Not many of my craft projects make me cry. That's a lie, most of them do. But it's not their fault. It's me. It's definitely me and my inability to follow directions (and I wonder why cooking is so terrifying).

I finished this project months ago, and it's taken me that long to recover from recovering this damn chair. Don't get me wrong. It's beautiful, and I love it now...but I'm not entirely sure it was worth all the blood, sweat, and tears I poured into it. And I mean all of those quite literally.

I bought this dingy blue velvet wingback chair from a scary man off of Craigslist for a whopping 20 bucks. After getting a whiff of my new project in his pack-rat garage, I wasn't entirely convinced that the smoke-drenched chair was worth my $20 (I know, I know. I'm a Frugal Frances.) or that I would make it out alive. (Does anyone else automatically think that the Craiglister is going to chop them up into little bits?)

This picture really doesn't do the heinousness justice.
I got out Grahm's best flathead screwdriver and went to town wiggling out the stubborn staples that had held this abysmal fabric in place longer than my grandma's toenails. Staples, crusted fabric, and discolored foam went everywhere.
Hours and hours and hours later, I finally got all that crappy material off. I then seriously contemplated burning the sucker to the ground. My fingers were raw from pulling out staples, my hand was in a crippling claw-like position from having held the screwdriver for entirely too long.
I laid out the old pieces of fabric, now warped from time, and labeled how each part fit on the chair. They served as my pattern for recovering. It was a hot, staple-y mess.

Picking out the fabric was another challenge altogether. I didn't want something too floral, too loud, too cutesy, or anything chevron (the stripe in everyone's house). I wanted a transitional fabric that would flow with our house but wouldn't make me want to puke on it in a year's time for an excuse to change the fabric again. Easier said than done. Pretty sure the lady at JoAnn's had to give me a hug after I cried in the middle of the aisle.
Stapling the chair turned out to be much more fun than pulling staples out. I felt like Rosie the Riveter a little bit, busting out my forearms and sweating like a dog. (Turns out I'm incredibly weak.) This is also the part where I cried a lot. It was like an intense jigsaw puzzle trying to get my newly cut fabric to fit just right around the chair. Upholstery fabric isn't cheap either. I just knew I was gonna ruin it.
Eventually it started looking like a chair again, and my fear of failure dwindled to the size of the zit on my chin. I finished stapling all the pieces on, MacGyver style, and I added new nail trim. My wonderful mother sewed the cushion for me because I was too scared and scarred to tackle anything else with this project from hell.
It's not perfect. You don't have to stare too hard to see a flaw, but I love it because I made it. It's unique, and I know for certain no one else has a chair like this in their house. So come on over to our home and plump your fanny on this bad mamajamma.

Total spent:
Wingback Chair from CL: $20
Fabric from Hobby Lobby: 7 yards for $60 (I had a gift card.)
Staples and Staple Gun: Free (My wonderful father-in-law let me borrow his.)
Nail heads for trim: Free (Did I mention my father-in-law is awesome?)

26 comments:

Karla said...

How cool. I have a huge obsession with being crafty... but dang girl. I don't know if I'd be as fearless as you to recover a chair...let alone deal with a scary CL guy. Hahaha. =D

Katie said...

The chair looks wonderful. I think the fabric you chose is perfect for what you described--not too trendy but still "cool" looking. And I love the legs on that chair! Well done.

dina said...

love

Kalyn V said...

That is awesome, it looks so good and worth all of the work to have something so pretty and unique. I reupholstered some dining room chairs that I inherited from my grandmother... I don't even know what to call the pattern that was on it. Some kind of mauve-y gray ish disaster. And absolutely NO cushion. I also may have cried a few times but I love the results! They're so pretty and (now) cushiony enough for my rump!

Erin LFF said...

It looks awesome!! That is seriously impressive and I love the fabric you picked out! :)

Amy - Louise said...

You are so much braver than me but you've done an amazing job. The fabric is beautiful - well done!

http://makingourownway.blogspot.co.uk/2013/07/bayside.html

Emily Carnes said...

You did such a great job! I love the fabric you chose!

I've got a hideous wingback in the basement of my parents house--just waiting until we get a house (in a year or so) to redo it!

Mikell Gordon said...

this looks SO GOOD!
I'd pay good money for that sucker! Way to go on picking the fabric.. it's perfect!

Kelsey Eaton said...

You are so talented! That looks like rocket science to me. I can't even sew a button. I literally get anxiety. You are super woman!!

Sarah Smith said...

Holy Cow! Good for you for tackling a huge DIY like that! It turned out awesome and I LOVE the fabric choice!!

www.ryanandsarahsmith.blogspot.com

Genna said...

I have such little patience with projects. I was putting together chairs for the kitchen last week and seriously called my fiance crying saying that if he didn't come over to help me in like two minutes they were going to be burned. I can't even imagine how much time/effort you put into that single chair! It looks great, and I totally agree that it's perfect and awesome because it's something you did all by yourself!

Mariah Rickard said...

It is so cute!! I think you did a wonderful job!! Good choice of fabric too!

Jana said...

It looks so great! I love the fabric choice--it's timeless. :) I know how you feel about those DIY projects making you cry. That's how I felt when we refinished the changing table in Joshua's room and when we redid the nasty kitchen chairs we bought at a garages sale for $12. Next I want to recover our couch, but I'm terrified I will ruin it and waste a ton of money in the process.

RachelleIs said...

So cute! Where did you get your rug btw?

Nicole | Pharr Away said...

I couldn't imagine taking on something like this without crying as well! You did an amazing job and all at such a great price. That entire area just looks very cozy and welcoming!

Annabelle said...

Jena! You did a fabulous job! You sound like me in all the fits I pitch when I try to do something and then I figure out I need to ask for help! Eekkk! This is why I have fallen off the crafting wagon. Although it runs in my blood!

Allison said...

This looks awesome Jena!! Love that fabric and the suitcases as a table beside it!!!

Jenna said...

Wow, great job!!! I like that you went with something timeless too. Chevron is pretty but it's all over the place these days. Love how it turned out!

Lindsey A said...

Wow, you're ambitious. This is not a project I'd dream about tackling in a thousand years. You go girl.

Autumn said...

Wow! It turned out soo cute! I have two wing back chairs that I need to reupholster and I am a little scared. This definitely makes me feel better.

Rachel said...

Wow, that's a larger craft project than I'd be willing to tackle!

Nessa said...

Looks amazing! I never could've done it!

Ashley @ ThisUnscriptedLife said...

I think it looks great! I have a coffee table that I want to turn into an ottoman. I have all of my supplies....but I haven't done it yet because I'm sure that somewhere along the way I will have a tear filled breakdown.

Denise Lopatka said...

oh my goodness this looks AMAZING! seriously impressive. thanks for the inspiration girl!

Leah said...

Jena!!! It's your blog stalker, Leah!! (you know, the NOT creepy one since I know Grahm and everything.) It was great to meet you at Alan and Melanie's wedding! :) I'll be praying for you guys and for baby Roach too. and nice job on the chair! I love how you keep it real.

Claire Berard said...

OMGoodness!! I can't believe you tackled that!!! You did an AMAZING job!! I have a chair sitting in my garage. It's been there for a year now. I took it apart but just have no desire to put it all back together again! Great job! LOVE it!