Category: Furniture

how-to: recover a vintage sewing chair

how-to: re-cover a vintage sewing chair

I have many, many weaknesses when it comes to unloved furniture and pretty, old things. But one piece of furniture I’d always wanted was a sewing chair with storage in the seat.

I was lucky enough to find such a chair on Craigslist a few years ago (and have since banned myself from Craigslist because it is just too easy to find unloved things that i “need”), and it was perfect. A short little chair, with a good secret storage seat, and a terrible beige vinyl-covered cushion. Seat cushions are already easy to replace, and this seat isn’t even attached! It doesn’t get easier than that. This project took me less than 2 hours from start to finish.

yellow striped sewing chair: recover cushion

The chair was even filled with old sewing notions! Perfect.

It just needed a quick wipe-down with some Murphy’s Oil Soap, and then a hefty dose of bright-and-cheery: bright yellow and white stripes.

yellow striped sewing chair - recovered

My sewing table is now even more cheerful than before, which is always helpful now that the winter sun doesn’t stick around long. The answer to dark nights is always More Yellow. I also made sure my new cushion had plenty of squish. Ironically, recovering this sewing chair was a no-sew project! Gotta love the staple gun.

If you have a sewing chair of your own that could use a new look – or you just love scrolling through DIYs in progress like I do – see what I did after the jump! And remember, you can always click on a photo for a larger view.


how to: make fake piping on cushions and upholstery

how-to: fake piping on upholstery

When I reupholstered this vintage hassock to its current multicolored, schlubby wool glory, I learned a lot of new things. I also made up a lot of new things. And today, I want to share the best one with you: fake piping.

Piping is intimidating and tedious. If you want it to match, you have to make it yourself, and when you sew it on, you have to line it up carefully. It makes pillows and cushions look super chic and professional, so it’s not something I was willing to skip completely on my hassock. So, I faked it.

This little trick will work best on fabrics that have some thickness to them, like my example wool. Thinner fabrics might work if you add some light batting or felt behind it – you need something to add a little bit of bulk so the piping doesn’t come out too flat. Otherwise, this couldn’t be simpler.

how to make fake piping

The first step, which is not pictured, is to sew everything like normal. With real piping, you’d add the piping as you sew the seam. The fake piping is added after-the-fact with a quick little fold.

The picture above shows the “pinch” portion of the pinch-and-fold method. What you’re looking at is the side of the cushion, and I’ve folded about 1/4″ of the fabric from the top piece over toward the side. This creates the fake piping – you’re really just folding the fabric from the top panel of the cushion.

how to make fake piping

When you have a relatively straight fold, stitch-in-the-ditch of your existing seam to sew the fold in place. I didn’t pin this – I found that it was easier simply to continue folding as I sewed.


Here’s a zoomed-out view to give a better idea of the pieces. Again, all the cushion panels have already been sewn together at this point.

how to make fake piping

Finally, here’s what it looks like when you’re done! Fake piping? Who knew!


And here’s a shot before I finished stuffing the hassock. As you can see, once you add a little bit of stuffing, the fake piping behaves deceptively closely to real piping.

hassock-upholstery complete

For more details of the hassock reupholstery process, check out the Hassock Reupholstery tag!

hassock re-upholstery complete!

hassock-upholstery complete

She’s all done! My hassock re-upholstery is complete, and I now have a brand new hassock!

hassock-upholstery complete

Here she is, looking quite pretty.

how to reupholster a vintage hassock

I’m very proud of this one. As I said at the beginning, this was a bit of a “scary project” for me, a stretch beyond what I’ve done before. But in the end, I didn’t have too much to worry about. It took some time, effort, and patience, but now it’s all done and I learned a lot of new tricks. I hope I’ve done a good job relaying those new tricks on to you!

For the final chapter of the hassock re-upholstery series, click through to read about how I refinished the legs!