February 21, 2015

Nursery Glider Makeover!

Re-finish old nursery glider
What. A. Beast. Yes folks, this is in fact the same chair that you see in the 'before' picture, hard to believe but I managed to re-shape the entire glider into something a bit less ugly more modern.

My husband managed to snag the antique glider from his great grandpa, and rather than burning it for fire wood, I decided to give it a shot and re-finish it to suit our purposes. Waste not want not right?

Keep on reading to see some pictures of my journey in re-shaping the glider and attempting to make a slipcover for the newly shaped glider. 

Yes, you ARE sexy.
In my efforts to have my nursery prepared before Baby Bean arrives, I decided I wanted to save money (notice how I said money here and not time? Hint hint) and not spend $1000 on a new glider. Ok, I'm excessive, I don't need to spend $1000 on a new chair but the ones that I really wanted were up in that range. I figured if I'm going to get a decent glider, I might as well spend a bit more and move it to our bonus room as a gaming chair of sorts for my husband rather than just letting the chair live it's life in the nursery. The chair I originally had my eye on was the Monte Luca Glider with a nice retail tag of $995 + tax. *Gulp* Did I mention that it can be customized in over 10 different colors? Not justifiable enough? Yeah I didn't think so.

Anyways, I was really torn, hubby and I have saved more than enough to splurge on this item and have no regrets...yet I hadn't even bought the darn chair and I was having regrets! Anyways, long story short, after about a month of deliberating fancy chair or no fancy chair, I ended up deciding that re-shaping an old, antique glider would be a "better" idea! While I am now happy about how the chair turned out, I would highly urge those out there not to tackle this project if you do not have any sewing experience. I mention this from experience because the most I've ever sewn was a straight line to quick-hem my pants...yet I got the brilliant idea that sewing a giant removable slipcover was possible...you can insert laughter here...I sure did! 

I'd like to add that no, this was not an original idea...well in my head it was and then I did a bunch of Googling to see if anyone else had attempted this before while documenting it so I could just follow step-by-step what they did...huzzah what luck! Someone did just that! Original post I followed was from Rock Paper Scissors. Anyways, on to the journey!

Re-shaping the glider
This chair did not require any special tools to take apart, it was simply the wooden frame and two removable cushions. Done. Easy. Now the hard part...I bought a 4' x 8' panel of 1/4" hardboard (I think, or mason board?) from Home Depot and had them cut it to fit my wee little Kia. I bought an nice heavy duty blade to score across the board, fold and rip apart when I got home. I attached the boards to the chair in whatever way would stick and be sturdy, for flat surfaces I used short screws to attach directly to the chair, otherwise I used cable ties and rope (I ran out of cable ties) and screwed little drill pilot holes to pull said cables through. Here are shots of what the re-shaping looked like.

Stuffing & forming the glider
After I was relatively happy with the new boxy shape of the glider, I proceeded to stuffing it every which way. I use some batting to stuff the arms and top, and then wrapped a bunch of foam pieces around the arms, chair front/back and seat. I mainly used a staple gun to to attach the foam to the wood parts of the chair, and then wood glue for all other parts that refused to staple. I used a bunch of staples to attach the foam to the back of the chair so it looked like a dog's breakfast...or foam with a bunch of indents in it...

That cream colored piece of foam is memory foam...I thought it was a brilliant idea at the time, but in retrospect...is my back really going to be so heavy that it needs to be cushioned with memory foam? That answer now would be NO! That could have saved me $14 and the hassle of trying to shape the regular foam around it, silly me.

Slip cover # 1
After covering most of the chair in foam and letting everything dry, I needed to make slip cover #1 to help form the chair even more, this way I could stuff a bit more in certain places if I needed to, and then just throw a second slip cover over top to hide the ugly bits. Also...since I've never sewn more than a line to hem my pants, it was my test to see if I could continue on to sew a big slipcover, or burn the chair for firewood and spend a ridiculous amount on a mass-produced chair.

I really can't say what the best material would be to do a first slip cover, I liked the idea of the thick polar fleece used by Rock Paper Scissors, but the ladies at my local Fabricland store suggested something thicker and rigid like a denim material, so I went with something similar but in white. I wasn't quite sure what color my main slipcover would be so I figured white would be a good start. Plus it was only $5/meter and I only needed 2 meters. See below after slipcover # 1 was made and stuffed.

Making the final slip cover
I created this whole slip cover not knowing what I was doing, so I'm not posting any instructions on how to do it here in fear I'd mess you up somehow...if you refer to Rock Paper Scissors she explains it much better than I could. I started with fitting/pinning all of my material inside out, sewing together one or two seams, and then fitting it on my chair right side facing out (I literally did at least 100 dry fits to see how things were shaping up).

Rough steps I followed to create the slip cover:
  • Created the two separate arm pieces
  • Main chair piece:
    • The main chair piece was essentially one giant piece (I made sure to have enough material to drape from the back of the chair over to the front and include wrapping around the sides and seat),
    • I started with attaching the zipper in the back, then fit together the sides to the top of the chair (with zipper closed to get a tighter fit)
  • Sewed together each arm piece to the main body in the back and curving around the front
  • Sewed together the piece of fabric from the seat to the arm pieces
  • Made my own piping that would attach the main slip cover to the skirt
  • Created a skirt from 4 separate pieces of material sewn together at corner where I made box pleats
  • Sewed the main body to the skirt with the piping sandwiched in between
  • Bought new foam to form the cushion, topped with some memory foam, sewed a boxed cushion slipcover with a zipper and piping to go all the way around
Easy right!? RIGHT!? I'm sure for an experienced seamstress this would have easily been a weekend project, but I tackled this beast an hour here or 3 hours there over the course of...3 weeks to a month? Anyways, some timeline much longer than I had originally planned.

I know I could have gone an easier route and not including piping in the skirt or on the cushion...but what fun would that be? It would have been much less complicated and you all know how I like to over complicate absolutely everything that I do ;)

So you might be asking, how in the eff did I manage to sew a slip cover without having really sewn anything before..like really? My BFF in this process was definitely YouTube! Before this project, I literally knew nothing about zippers and piping and whatnot, so while I tackled this chair in steps, I basically watched a few hours several hours worth of YouTube videos explaining how to pin pieces together, how to install a zipper, how to make your own piping, how to join piping, and how to create box pleats. I watched each video at least 5 times to try to get things to sink in. I suppose it was all worth it as I now have a chair to show for all my efforts, as well as a decent understanding of how to sew stuff for future reference.

While I am now very happy with my results and how everything turned out...I will not be making another slip cover in the next 10 years if I can help it ;)

So....now that you're ready to tackle your own glider re-shaping project, I just thought I would give you my final thoughts on this whole slip cover making/re-shaping a glider business:

  • It would be much easier if you already have a general understanding of sewing basics, as I've proven, it's not impossible, but it takes a long freaking time if you know nothing!
  • If you've never sewn a zipper before...use some practice material at least once before tackling your main project and potentially making it look like Frankenstein's monster
  • MEASURE your dimensions properly. I ran into issues making my cushion as I kind of traced my cushion foam instead of taking actual measurements...this seems like it would be a good idea but I can assure you it is not! Especially when you are using piping, it all has to be very accurate and will make your life a thousand times easier and will cut down on at least 5 hours of "fixing" time
  • Even with all the foam on the arms, I can still feel the corners of the mason board if I'm really leaning in to my chair, a better option might be to shape the chair with a dense foam instead to cut down on the hard corners and make for a cushier chair...a little more expensive but probably worth it

How much did this project cost? Roughly $160. Here's the breakdown.

  • 4'x8' sheet mason board ($7)
  • Batten stuffing (free, already had some)
  • 2 meters white fabric ($5/meter) + $5 for matching thread
  • 5 meters of blue fabric ($7/meter) + $5 for matching thread
  • Zipper ($2)
  • 2 rolls of foam ($30)
  • Back memory foam ($14) + cushion memory foam ($10)
  • Thick foam for new cushion ($20)
  • Couple meters of piping ($8)
There you have it folks, hope that was of some help and/or inspiration to you. If you tackle your own glider re-shaping project, send me a pic!

Happy sewing :)