As most of the blog posts on the Minerva Crafts Blogger Network are dressmaking related, I like to regularly throw in a non-dressmaking item, for those of you to whom making clothes holds no interest.

This month's project had been standing in the wings for a good couple of years while we were waiting patiently for the puppy to outgrow her chewing phase. It may be familiar to regular readers of the blog as The Dogs' Chair.

Bought on eBay for about £20, it was tired and tatty.

The varnish was patchy and worn.

The puppy had gnawed her way through several layers of fabric and wadding.

All in all it had seen better days and many people would probably have put it on the bonfire or taken it to the tip.

Except it is actually quite comfortable and the woodwork was sound, having been glued back together when first acquired.

As The Dogs already have their own custom-made bed, (see this post here) I thought I'd reclaim this chair for human use and upgrade it accordingly.

I started by re-stuffing the holes with new wadding and patching the surface.

There was a small amount of chalk paint left over from painting the kitchen dresser (see this post here) so I decided to use this on the chair as a) it was free and b) it would tie the room together nicely.

Talk about contrast! I went a bit mad with my choice of fabric and chose a red and white Ikat fabric for the chair itself and a multi-coloured floral one for a scatter cushion.

The Ikat is a heavy weight cotton poplin, not an upholstery fabric but, as I would be making removable loose covers, decided that it would be fine.

So, onto the painting.

For those of you living in The Dark Ages, chalk paint usually needs no surface preparation - you just slap a couple of coats on and then finish with a coat of wax to seal.

I managed to do all three coats, allowing two hours between coats, in between making the covers, so it was dry by the end of the day.

After inserting a lapped zip smack bang in the middle of the back panel, I pinned the fabric to the chair, wrong sides out, and smoothed it to fit.

I did the same with a piece of fabric for the front, making pleats at the curved corners to achieve a tailored fit. Excess fabric was then cut off, leaving a 1.5cm seam allowance.

To get a crisp, smart looking finish, I wanted to pipe the edges of both the loose back cover and the seat cushion, so I started by making my own bias binding (see my tutorial here).

Using a zipper foot, the piping cord was basted into the bias binding  as shown below.

The covered piping cord is then basted to the fabric panels, making sure the raw edges are even.

It's starting to take shape!

The pattern is evenly spread across the width of the front.

The piped edges look very smart.

 The lapped zip is open ended at the bottom for easy removal.

And look, the zip is virtually invisible at first glance!

The sides were a bit tricky around the arm joints but, in the end, I used velcro to fasten them.

I simply traced around the existing seat cushion to make a pattern for the cover, not forgetting to add a seam allowance.

As the cushion is so deep, I used an extra long zip and continued it around the sides of the cushion. This will make it much easier to remove for washing.

Piping was added to both top and bottom edges to make it reversible - perfect for turning over when dirty to delay having to wash it!

And here's the finished chair - d'you like it?

Much smarter than the original and most definitely too good to use as a dog bed.

All that's left to do is to make the scatter cushion using that funky floral fabric and some pom pom trim from my stash.

A tip: to get a nice, plump cushion, always cut out the fabric to the exact size of the inner and DO NOT add seam allowances. This will achieve a tighter fit and your cushion will look well-stuffed.

See what I mean?

(There is a zip inserted along one side, too - I just forgot to photograph it.)

Are you ready for the end result?


It's going to reside in our sun-room - whenever that gets finished.

And finally, for those of you who like a good 'before and after' picture (who doesn't?).....