the really big chair post

Some projects can be done in an afternoon.  others...require a more full-time commitment.  this one is the latter...

so I found this Plycraft lounger on the corner one morning about a year ago.  it was in pretty bad shape, but hey, free chair!  (this is the same spot where I found an authentic Eames RAR armshell chair a year earlier...every time I drive by now, I cross my fingers)

here's the before pics:

the bent plywood back was in particularly bad shape, all dry and scratched and water stained.  the black vinyl upholstery was also cracked and grimy.

BUT...I decided it had potential.  I just wasn't sure what that potential was, exactly.  so it sat in my living room looking pitiful and neglected (except when it was covered with new afghan and pillow projects)

it needed to fit into the new "Big Sur meets Ace Hotel meets Denmark" thing I have going on in my new apartment.  and it needed to hold up to crazy cats and big manly boyfriends.

then about a month ago I saw this Anthropologie chair, and I knew what to do.  I took my chair apart.  then I bought a bunch of jeans that were half price at Goodwill (making them about $3 a pair) and started cutting...

 I cut up jeans for a LONG TIME.

then I stopped remembering to take photos of my process (bad blogger, as usual).  But basically my process was this:

1.  start watching season 2 of the X-Files on Hulu.
2.  cut jeans into pieces of flat denim, then cut those pieces into hundreds of 7 inch strips with mitered edges.
3.  lightly glue strips to dark blue backing fabric using fabric adhesive in a chevron pattern, and then top stitch all the edges down using a zig-zag.
4.  start watching season 3 of the X-Files.
5.  make a crap load of piping (see stated hatred of piping making here)
6.  stretch and staple fabric and piping around cushions.
7.  change foam on armrests (the old ones were weirdly large).  Realize you forgot to make chevron fabric for armrests.  curse and pout and then do that.  Staple all that down.
8.  Switch to Law & Order SVU for a while.  (why is season 13 so weird looking?!?)
9.  clean plywood with Murphy's Oil Soap, sand, and clean again.  Rub on Restore-A-Finish (walnut color) and be freaking AMAZED by the results.  when that's dry, apply Howard's Feed and Wax.  run your hand lovingly over the beautiful smooth new finish.
10.  re-assemble the chair, being super glad that you drew diagrams and put all the different screws and bolts in neat little envelopes when you took it apart a month earlier.
11.  take the after photos:

Yes, it took at LEAST 40 hours of labor.  I didn't exactly keep track, and that's good because it was often extremely repetitive and boring.  but only about $50 worth of supplies, including buying a new staple gun.  pretty good compared to the $598 price tag on the Anthro version!  

but none of that matters, anyway.  because I love it.  :)


crittermom said...

Unfreakingbelievable!! That is gorgeous. I could not picture how it would look, but it really turned out great.
Just one question: did you fix the base so it doesn't rock?

i think therefore i blog. said...

Wow! Yours looks 10x better than the Anthro one. In addition to the chair, I'm really interested in the weaving (?) hanging in the background. My MIL used to make these in the 70's and I'm kinda in love with them.

Mid Mod Mom said...

Beautiful!!! Really beautiful! If I only knew how to sew...

Hollalulu said...

This really is rather spectacular, all the respect in the world and very impressed with the making your own fabric! truly unique.

Breeze said...

Amazing! It looks way better than the Anthro version +1!

Jody said...

thanks for the lovely comments everyone! and thanks for visiting the blog!

Millie said...

This is genius! Love it.

Anonymous said...

Ive just found this post by linking through from The Fabric Shop Pinterest page. They have your chair in today's denim Pinterest board. I'm so impressed and love your instructions. I think I could have a go at this, if I could just find a chair as beautiful as this one... but even so it would be great on some of those old 60's-70's teak chairs and they are all over the place on throw out day! Thanks a lot xx