Tag Archives: mid century upholstery

Mera’s House: A Mid-Century Chair Gets a Much Needed Make-Under

Anchorage Craigslist is not exactly awash with mid-century treasure (although we have a corner on the market of contemporary microfiber sofas) so when I saw this chair listed for $60 last summer, I knew I had to bring it home.

Red House West || Mid Century Chair Make-Under

I could tell this chair was a classy gent–maybe not the most handsome man you’ve ever laid eyes on, but he’s steady, solid, friendly, and timeless.  Alas, the brown floral corduroy was a serious mismatch.  It was like Ernest Borgnine accidentally got dressed in Little Richard’s clothes.

Incidentally I have met exactly two celebrities in my life: Ernest Borgnine and Little Richard.  I took Ernest Borgnine across Kachemak Bay during my skipper days, and a few years later Little Richard fondled my hair (which was waist-long at the time) in LAX while I was going through security.  Other than that I am celeb repellant.  I never see ANYONE.  Even Chester sees more famous people than I do.  A few years ago he saw Kristen Bell, and realized she must be famous “because she was wearing so many layers.” (He was right, other friends saw her too.)

Anyway, this guy obviously needed a new suit, and I’ve been trying to find the perfect upholstery for a long time.  You might remember my experiment with batik and shibori.  I nixed using the resulting fabric because it was like Ernest Borgnine dressed up in Erykha Badu’s clothes:

Red House West || Mid Century Chair Make-Under

Last week in a Pinterest-induced fever I organized my fabric stash, and found the perfect thing.  My mom, who can sew anything (the woman scoffs at smocking and laughs in the face of pleats), recently gifted me with most of her fabric stash.  She used to make her own clothes, and the stash includes lots of beautiful wool suiting fabric.  You know who looks great in a wool suit?  Ernest Borgnine.

Red House West || Mid Century Chair Make-Under

I originally intended to do a tutorial on how to sew basic box cushions.  But one seam into the process I remembered that I’m really not very good at sewing, and definitely not qualified to tell anyone else how to do it.  I will say this about sewing box cushions though: I have found that I get nice sharp corners when I sew the edge pieces together before sewing on the top and bottom pieces.

Red House West || Mid-Century Chair Make-Under

Here are the edge pieces sewn together, awaiting the top and bottom pieces.

The chair’s frame is solid and the wood finish is inoffensive, so I just rubbed it with Danish Oil.


Red House West|| Mid-Century Chair Make-Under

Although the old foam was in good shape, at four inches it seemed too bulky so I replaced it with three inch foam.  Even though my stitching is less than perfect (I am an insult to my mother’s legacy), the wardrobe change is a big improvement and I’m really pleased with how it turned out.

Red House West || Mid-Century Chair Make-Under

Red House West || Mid-Century Chair Make-Under

Have a great rest of the week everyone!