Vintage Sewing Chair Refresh Goes Floral

How often do you venture outside your comfort zone? I am terrible for staying pretty much dead centre of my comfort zone. Well I decided to wonder out into extremely unknown territory and embrace floral for this project.

 Pretty much anything that has to do with floral, lace or pink I know nothing about. It just something that I’m not attracted to, so I’ve never used it for any of my creations throughout the years.

This vintage sewing chair I picked up at a second hand store years ago and it was packed away in my storage area under my stairs along with my other treasures. After it was dug out it almost seemed to whisper a very feminine tone to me while it simultaneously screamed help me be beautiful again into my face. The only thing overly feminine that I have in my stock pile are some floral fabric panels that were gifted to me from a beautiful cousin of mine. 

First things first, wipe the dust off and see what floral fabric panel might work the best and selecting a paint colour. Well, it only took one video call with my mom, showing how indecisive I am and my complete lack of trust in my ability to give something a more feminine touch, we had decided on a panel and paint colour. Ok can I just say that no matter how many paint colours you have, the one you don’t have on hand is always the one that seems to be the best fit for the project! Guess that means I just need to get all of them. I have a huge smile on my face at that thought and it’s a good thing there is no Fusion Mineral Paint distributor near me else my shopping cart would be so full I could barely push it by now.

Time to show this vintage piece some love. Over all it’s a really well built piece, but was a bit wobbly and tad dinged up. Not to mention a few added pieces someone used to try and make it more stable. My first step was to take everything apart at see what there was to work with. What I realized when taking it apart was that the only reason the legs were wobbly was because the screws were loose. So there really wasn’t any need for this extra bracing. Ohh and a big warning when removing fabric from seating, the foam underneath most likely has disintegrated if it’s a vintage piece. Keep a garbage bag on hand or you’ll be covered head to toe in yellow foam dust. Yuck! 

Once everything was taken apart, time to move on to making this thing beautiful again.

Tip: Keep all the screws, hinges, etc from you projects in one area. I like to use a small container or baggy. In the end when you are putting everything back together you aren’t scrambling to find the pieces. Saves a bit of time and some heartache.

Knowing I didn’t need to put braces back on to the legs, I needed to fill the holes that where there. My dad taught me this trick to use toothpicks and woodglue to fill holes. You put a little glue on the end of a toothpick and then keep adding as many as you can wedge into the hole. Once the glue was dry I cut them off flush with the legs. Presto the hole is filled. 

My next step was to use paintable wood filler over the holes to make sure it was perfectly flush with the legs. Of course covered any other dings/scrapes and had to do a little build up job on an area that was missing a small chunk of wood. Once dry I was able to sand, using 220 grit sandpaper I went over all the wooden pieces to scuff the surface and smoothing out the wood filler. 

I also used a palm sander with 220 grit sandpaper to go over the seat and back rest. They were quite rough and even though they would be covered again I just wanted to make sure no slivers were sticking up. Nothing worse then an unsuspecting person trying out a cute little chair and then suddenly launch 3 feet in the air.

Being that the chair was dark in colour and I was going with a light paint colour, I used a primer. This helps to block the dark colour and not have to use as many coats of your good paint. I applied the primer with a synthetic brush and foam roller. After the primer had dried I used 220 grit sandpaper to smooth it out and used a lint free cloth to wipe all the dust off. 

On to the good stuff and bust out the pretty paint colour. This time around I chose to go with Fusion Mineral Paints Limestone. It’s a beautiful off-white warm colour that is apart of their classic collection and they say it represents the natural tone of limestone. You can see all of Fusions beautiful colours here. The first coat of paint is my favourite. You get a feeling of what the end look is going to be. Of course you have to take into account the fact that once paint dries it changes it’s tone a bit. I used a synthetic brush and a microfibre roller from Fusion to apply the paint. I love the feel of their brushes, and their lint free microfibre roller works great as well.

After the first coat dries, I used 320 grit sandpaper and went over everything lightly. Followed with wiping down just as before, applying another coat and leaving it to dry. For the end of all my paint jobs I like to use the 320 grit sandpaper again this just helps get out any tiny imperfections and leave it smooth as butter. I did go a little heavier handed while sanding on some edges so some of the dark tone would come through giving it a more worn look to the piece.

While the paint was drying between coats, I went and worked on the seat and back. Using a spray adhesive I applied quilt batting to both areas, using it in place of foam padding. I didn’t have any foam thin enough so picked the next best thing. I ended up doing 4 layers of quilt batting so that there was enough cushion. Then left that to dry as directed on the spray adhesive can. 

This is about the time my face starts to break into a smile and my heart speeds up just a touch faster. I’m sure that’s not true, but it feels like it. The paint has dried, (not cured – that takes 21 days) I have put the chair mostly back together and gave myself a self high five.

I ironed out the floral fabric I was using. Laid the seat and backing onto it to measure out and cut. This fabric frays when cut so I used my surger on the raw edges to make it stable and easier to work with. 

Then grabbed my staple gun and went at it. I used 5/16″ 8mm staples as the boards used for the seat and backing are not very thick. and staples sticking out would also not be fun to sit on. I really have no technique for stapling the fabric on, this is only the second time I’ve ever attempted it. All I can say is that I went slow, had to remove a few staples here and there but over all super happy with it. 

Moving on to the back, I followed the same steps as I did with the seat and surged any raw edges. Now the back was a touch different as it didn’t have a covering to attach as the seat did, but instead it was covered also in fabric. I decided to fold over the fabric as I had left it longer on the one side. You might be able to get a better idea from the picture of how I did this. 

 

Now I didn’t have any decorative tacks or anything to make the finished area look pretty. So I continued to use my staple gun, adding some fabric glue on the sides and between the staples to keep the fabric down and laying nice. Then I used black paint and very small paint brush to paint over the silver staples. It’s not perfect, but less noticeable and sometimes that is the best way to go. Perfect is boring right? Well that is at least what I like to chant to myself over and over during projects like this. 

I finished off by stapling back on the backing to the chair bottom. I used toothpicks to help me attach the backing into the proper place again. Inserting the toothpicks into the holes that the screws from the hinges. Worked like a charm, kept it in place while I stapled away. Everything was almost finished, just had to reattach the hinges to the seat and the chair and screw the back into place. 

Sinking that final screw back into place gives you just this overwhelming feeling of happiness! Then of course I had to test out this little treasure and make sure it didn’t collapse underneath me and nothing was poking through. Success!

And just like that another project is complete. This one really pushed me into new territory and trying new things is a necessity in growing a persons creativity. I urge you to do the same with whatever project you are tackiling. For myself when I look at this antique sewing chair, I like it, but I know someone else will love it. I thought about adding some antiquing wax to age the cream colour paint, but ultimately decided that I wanted to keep it more clean looking. Giving it a mix of modern light chubby chic and slight antique look. 

Would love to know your thoughts on this project, please feel free leave a comment down below.

Until next time Create, Smile and Radiate!

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