How to make your own Chair Pads with Leather Ties

After about 25 years, the rushed seats on my kitchen chairs are getting a little shabby.

I try to keep them covered, but I don't like the store bought pads as they're too thick, and tend to slide all over the place.

I was gifted this lovely fabric, and decided to use it to make my new chair pads. I used the linen for the front and plain drop cloth for the backs. I love the leather ties on this square bag I made (see more here), and decided to use the same idea on the chair pads.

I began by making a pattern of the chair seat.

I traced the shape, then folded the paper in half to cut the shape so that both sides would be symmetrical. Then I added 1/2" around the whole perimeter for a seam allowance.

I then traced the seat pattern with chalk onto the striped linen, being careful to keep the stripes centered and even, and cut. I then laid the cut linen onto the drop cloth and cut. For each chair I cut eight 1x3" pieces of scrap cotton jersey to make tabs. I knew I wouldn't be able to wash the leather straps with the seat pad, so I had to make the leather straps detachable. These jersey tabs would hold the leather onto the pad.

I folded each tab in half, placed them onto the fabric as pictured above, and pinned them in between the two layers of fabric. 

I then stitched around the pad, using a 1/2" seam allowance, and leaving an area of about 4-5" in the back so I could turn the pad right side out.

Once I turned the pad right side out, I tucked in the raw edges of that 4-5" slit, and top stitched all around the pad.

Next came the fun part, making the leather strap ties! I went to Mavericks, our local leather store. They were so helpful and nice. They had a scrap bin that had exactly what I needed and more. For $2 I got all the straps I needed for all four chairs. I also found some 2mm leather cording that was the perfect color. I was lucky and the 3/4" straps were already cut, but you can easily cut your own with a rotary cutter and mat.

I used 3/4" straps. For each chair I cut two 8.5" straps, four 3.5" straps, eight 1" tabs, and ten 3" 2mm leather cording ties.

After trying various tools, I borrowed this from a friend to punch the holes in the leather. With needing to punch 40 holes in the leather per chair, 120 all together, it really saved my hands! So quick and easy. She bought it at Harbor Freight for about $7. You'll also need to put two holes in each of the jersey tabs.

Depending on whether you want the tied knot to be on top or underneath depends on how you thread the pieces together.

Thread the cording through the holes as above; then thread the cording through the holes in the jersey tab.

I flipped the tab up so you can see that the leather tab is underneath. The leather tab helps stabilize the ties and helps keep them from pulling through the jersey tab.

Then thread the leather strap through, and tie the cord.

I used one long strap in the front, and two smaller straps in the back just to get a little strappier look.

Attaching all the leather is a bit time consuming. If I were to be laundering these chair pads a lot, I would have used easy tie ribbons. But we don't have littles running around, so things stay pretty clean, and I REALLY wanted to have a go at making the leather strapping again.

All in all I'm very happy with my new chair pads. They'll keep the rushed seats from getting too worn, and they're very comfortable. I was able to make four pads mostly with items I had on hand, plus a little extra to get the leather scraps and cording. I like the vintage fabric with the simple, fresh updated use of leather very much!

Tapestry Stairwell Hanging

"The best laid schemes o' mice an' men/ Gang aft a-gley." by Robert Burns sums up the path of this lovely wool, crewel tapestry I purchased on a past adventure (read more here). It was to be displayed in my living room five years ago, yet sat forlorn and neglected nestled on a dark, closet shelf.

I recently came across it, and immediately knew exactly where it belonged ..... in the stairwell of our Ranch. I needed to find something to hang it up with, and saw this old bamboo fishing rod at our local Re-Store for $2. The color and kitsch were perfect.

Next up, how to attach it to the rod. Some recycled sari ribbons that I had seemed just right; and the pretty pale blue purl cotton gave a subtle accent.

The tapestry is now at home, cozying up the tall, narrow stairwell. It's nice to have another WIP finally finished.

100 Acts of Sewing, Dress No. 1

I'm loving the ease of Sonia Philips patterns; thus her 100 Acts of Sewing, Dress No. 1 pattern was a must try. I made a muslin with the same cherished bed sheet I used for my self drafted dress muslin and some biased binding.

I had my first go at making biased binding. There are lots of  wonderful youtube videos and tutorials on the web. I learned all about these nifty little gadgets. They're inexpensive, easy to use, and simplify the binding making process.

It's wonderful to have the option to create binding in any color you desire and also to use up old scraps in your stash. I had a small piece of fabric left over from my block printed table runner that was perfect for biased binding. This fabric looked like a Renoir painting, Summer Landscape, Woman with a parasol. So beautiful! You can see the image in the middle of the table runner.

Though the process of making binding is relatively simple, it definitely added a chunk of time in creating this dress; in fact, the binding took longer to make than the actual dress itself! I'm hoping there's a learning curve and next time will go quicker.

Dress No. 1 pattern was a breeze to cut out and sew. Since this was an A-line dress and I had sized down on my other 100 Acts of Sewing patterns, I decided to make the size small. The dress mostly fits nicely, but it is a tad snug across the back and chest for me. I modified the neckline by splitting the center down about 3-4 inches to see if that would create enough room for comfort.

I added a small rectangle at the bottom of the cut to add extra stability and stregth. I like the extra detailing of the neck.  Though visually it looks good on, I can still feel some pull. I have a broad back, and often need a medium top. Not to fret! This draft will make a fun little gift for a friend of mine. I had just enough material from the flat bed sheet to try the top portion in size medium.

It fits just right. I'm taking a bobbin lace making class, and am hoping to make a small bit of lace to add to the bottom of this top, probably in navy. Fingers crossed it turns out as I imagine. I like this as a top so much, I'm going to make it in a few different colors. It's the perfect easy breezy summer top. Eventually, I'll remake the dress in medium bust and small waist and bottom.

If you're looking for a quick and easy dress or top, I highly recommend giving 100 Acts of Sewing, Dress No.1 a try.