Wednesday, March 4, 2009

A Necessary Evil - Chair pads

The alternative is banged up chairs right where the backs hit the table. We got this table (thanks Grandma!) last November or so and right away knew we were going to have to do something about the chair backs to protect them. They even hit the table on a corner, so its not distributed across the width of the back frame. Within days I sandwiched fleece between two strips of fabric and tied them on just to get them protected.

But close up they looked like this after a few months because they wern't sewn and the fleece was too long.

I finally made a better (nicer looking) version. Here's how to make them...

1. Select fabric ( I needed about a total of 1/2 yard of fabric for 5 chairs) My strips were about 17 x 3 (times 4 per chair)

2. Find "sandwich" material. Don't buy anything special, you wont see it. Use old socks, towels, sweatshirt fabric... felt... whatever.

3. Measure the circumference of the chair post you wish to wrap, and subtract about 3/4 inch. Cut your "sandwich" material that long and make it about 2 inches wide (or 6...)

4. Take your outer fabric and cut (I tore it for a more casual look) about 2 1/2 or 3 inches wide and about 12 inches longer than your "sandwich" strip (so you can tie it). If you choose to use Velcro or something instead of tying it, adjust length accordingly. I didn't have enough of the red fabric so I selected another plaid and made that one about 1/2 inch wider than the red so it would show slightly.

5. You may want to run your strips through the sewing machine to keep the fabric from fraying. I did.

6. (optional) Consider sewing non-stick bumpy shelf pad foam to the backs of the ties before you make the "sandwiches" so you don't have to sew through the thickness. I was worried that the shelf pad stuff might discolor the finish and was lucky enough to have the "X" back land right at the right place to support the strips and keep them where they were supposed to be so I left it out. You might want to though.

7. Use glue or just sew the sandwiches together, centering the filling fabric. You just need to hold that sandwich fabric in place. I put a few phone books on top of them to help everything adhere for an hour or so.
8. (optional) Sew sides of strips together leaving about 1/4 inch seam allowance from the raw seams. I did not turn the fabric, I just left the raw edges show. You could use a straight stitch or a zig zag or other decorative stitch, depending how much you want the sewing decoration to show. I didn't. I zig-zaged around one set and it looked too much like pads for a defensive lineman more than a "decoration" so I just opted for the 1/4 seam as mentioned above.

9. Tie on chairs.... VERY tightly (they'll loosen). See Girl Scout Manual to learn how to make a correct square knot (or click here).
10. Leave the leftover length on the chairs for several days in case you need to re-tie them tighter, then trim to desired length. Enjoy!
They may not protect the chairs completely, but at least they should keep the finish from wearing off. This is my final product (minus trimming the ends)
Now to make matching place mats :p

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