If at first you don’t succeed…

My mother lives in Dallas, Texas, and is a frequent visitor to her local Habitat for Humanity Re-Store. So when she came upon some great chairs that didn’t fit in her home, I got a text message. She bought them after getting my enthusiastic response and loaded them in her truck for her next visit to St. Louis. She and the chairs arrived last October and they were even better in person than in a text pic.

I had never seen chairs like these before. The traditional wing back shape is given a twist by double-layered caning on the back and sides. The caning is in perfect condition and gives a pleasant lightness to what would otherwise be a dense and stodgy chair.

That plaid green fabric, though, didn’t float my boat. Bleh, can you say 1980s? The sad thing is that the fabric matched perfectly with the pea-green walls that the former owner left behind in our living room. And the fabric itself was clean and in great condition, so I let well enough alone while I tackled more pressing projects.

The chairs were moved to our dining room after I painted the living room but the green plaid remained. The cats like the fabric but, despite their protests, I do not take their decor opinions seriously.

We may look sweet but we will CUT YOU so step off!

After a few months of rolling my eyes every time I looked at the green plaid, I decided to do something about it. Sewing machine to the rescue! I took apart the plaid cushion covers and used the pieces as a template for cutting out my new fabric. I also decided to reuse the zippers. We are nothing if not cheap around these parts.

There were some heart palpitations going on while I sewed in the zipper. Ahem, did I mention this was my first time sewing in a zipper? Yeah, I was terrified. I studied this zipped pillow tutorial to get the general idea and then I just went for it. And it wasn’t that bad, not at all. That is, until I decided to do a quick fit check with pillow form.

And that’s when I discovered an oops. See what I did wrong in this photo?

No? How about a close up of the front edge then.

That’s my successfully installed zipper. It looks pretty and all…but it’s IN THE FRONT. I sewed the darn pillow completely BACKWARDS. And if you look back to the first photo, the bird on the seat is upside down. Yep folks, not only did I sew it backwards, I cut out the fabric backwards as well.


I sat down and almost cried. Seriously, isn’t crafting supposed to be FUN and RELAXING? After sending a pathetic text message to my husband (which he didn’t see until an hour later, denying me the sympathy I was hoping for), I got off my duff and started in on the second cushion cover.

Thank goodness, the second one came out much much better.

Well enough, in fact, that it encouraged me to take apart the first one and sew it up the right way. Now both chairs are done!

The bird is now right side up, which makes placing your tushie on top of a bird much less awkward.

The banding and reverse side of the cushion cover is made with painter’s drop cloth fabric from Home Depot. (Or Lowe’s? I don’t remember now.)

I think I’ll use the plain side for a lighter look in spring and summer, then flip to the patterned side for fall and winter.

The painter’s drop cloth is cheap, sturdy, and looks convincingly like rustic woven linen. I’m tempted to use it for more projects around the house.

Have you ever had a home project that almost frustrated you to tears? Please say yes so that I don’t feel like the only sad sap. πŸ™‚ Seriously, though, seeing the finished product makes it all worth it. Whether the cats agree with me remains to be seen.

Update: This post has been linked to Miss Mustard Seed’s Furniture Feature Friday for this week. Check out the other great pieces of furniture.

13 thoughts on “If at first you don’t succeed…

  1. Hmm. When using drop cloths do you use a certain weight? Do you cut it in the approximate size then launder the fabric? ( who has a washer to handle an entire drop cloth??) Will it shrink if laundered?? could you tea stain it or silk screen a pattern on it for the next project

  2. I love your idea for a two-sided cushion that can be used for both summer and winter! Lovely and practical. I think I'll borrow that one. Thanks!

  3. So wonderful – love them! And 10 points to you for perseverance! Also really love the fabric you chose – would you share the name/source? Thanks much. πŸ™‚

  4. found you thru MMS also πŸ™‚ oh Absolutely, have endured sadness thru many wrong sewing projects ever since I was a child w/my dear Grandmother's teaching-guidance. she was a perfectionist with sewing so learned and strived for the best myself. thats how we learn- from mistakes..and never make those silly mistakes twice :-)) You did a wonderful job- LOVE your chairs!!!

  5. Hi! I'm just seeing your blog for the 2nd time…my friend got me onto you and I love that you posted your blunder. I posted a blunder on my site as well. Dropped a Vanity Table and cracked it…almost cried cuz it was done. I share your pain!

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