A Patchwork Apron + A Tutorial for Recovering Kitchen Chairs

March 06, 2013 Julie

Shelburne Falls Patchwork Apron

Over the weekend, I told you about the newest fabric to arrive in the Home Made shop. I was so excited about this fabric that I kinda turned into a manic crafter and crammed a few shop/household projects into my own “weekend” of Monday and Tuesday. In addition to making my favorite granola bars (but with dried figs and walnuts, hold the chocolate chips), trying out this gnocchi in tomato broth (it’s a travesty to strain out the veggies so just eat it all and let’s call it gnocchi in tomato sauce), and boring stuff like (avoiding) folding laundry and grocery shopping.

While my granola bars were baking on Monday, I worked on the Patchwork Bordered Apron from Rashida Coleman-Hale’s I Heart Patchwork book. Which is full of lots of fun projects. I used Robert Kaufman’s Essex in Flax for the apron’s main panel and then pieced together prints from Denyse Schmidt’s Shelburne Falls for the patchwork border and pocket. The Shelburne Falls fabrics have such a beautifully nostalgic and homey quality that seemed fitting for an apron. And, this apron’s now got me reminiscing about summer days and canning tomato jam!

On Tuesday, I was back and forth between recovering two of my kitchen chairs and making the aforementioned gnocchi with sauce. For both the gnocchi and chairs, I decided I wasn’t going to allow myself to get too fussy. Because both projects seem to be a bigger undertaking than they actually are. They’re just potato pasta and chairs! No biggie.

Here’s my skip-the-fuss kitchen chair makeover:

Kitchen Chairs Before

Kitchen Chairs After

Two of my four kitchen chairs I picked up from the side of the road about five years ago. They were a terrific find and, at the time, I decided to paint them mint, add some new foam for seats, and cover them in a fun Amy Butler home dec fabric.

These chairs have been overdue for a little attention and the Circle Squares print of Shelburne Falls was calling my name! In lieu of home dec weight fabric, I gave this quilting cotton some heft and durability by fusing HeatnBond extra-firm interfacing to the back and it worked beautifully for recovering a chair.

Could these chairs have also benefited from a fresh coat of paint in, perhaps, a different color? Absolutely! Did I really feel like sanding and painting these chairs? Absolutely not!

In the end, I got to enjoy my homemade gnocchi dinner while sitting on my freshly recovered kitchen chairs, sipping a glass of wine and basking in my multi-tasking accomplishment for one afternoon. And, that’s worth way more than a few more years of mint-colored chairs, I think.

You can find more about my process for recovering kitchen chairs after the jump!

For a skip-the-fuss kitchen chair makeover, you can recover the top of any padded chair with some fresh fabric and a few tools:

Tools to Recover Kitchen Chairs

You’ll need a Phillips screwdriver to disassemble the seat from the chair (or whatever your chair requires), a flat-head screwdriver and pliers for pulling up the staples from the old cover, and a staple gun!

Remove Chair Seat

Remove Staples with Screwdriver

Remove Staples with Pliers

Cut your fabric to desired dimensions being sure that you have enough extra to wrap the edges of your seat. For my two chairs, I needed 3/4 yard of fabric which I then cut into two 27″ x 22″ pieces. Then, I fused HeatnBond extra-firm interfacing to each piece of fabric. I used a total of 1 1/2 yards of interfacing.

Lay Fabric Under Chair Seat

Lay your fabric right side down and then place your chair seat foam side down onto the center of your fabric. I set up shop on the floor, which comes in handy if you’re doing this project alone because soon you’re going to need one hand to pull the fabric taught around your chair seat, the other hand to operate the staple gun, and perhaps a foot to hold the chair seat steady.

Wrap Fabric and Staple

Begin wrapping the fabric around the chair seat on one side and securing with a few staples. Pulling the fabric taut on the opposite side, wrap and staple. Just be careful not to cover up the holes you’ll need to find for reattaching the seat to the chair. Continue in this manner until you’ve got each side secured. Now, you’re ready to ease into the corners. It’s a little tricky to take photos while doing all this so I hope you get my gist.

Staple Fabric

This is the part where, if you want this finished by dinner, you can’t get too stressed out about how you ease the corners. I started to worry about it and then my desire to be finished with this project won. Just try to avoid it being super bunchy and staple. You can always pull your fabric and before stapling, look at the top to see how it looks. It looks fine! 

Trim away any extra fabric with scissors and reassemble seat to the chair with your screwdriver. All done! Now, have a seat and let’s talk about how staple guns the best!


You can purchase this gorgeous fabric and fusible interfacing right here at Home Made! If you don’t live nearby, just give me a ring at 609.536.2940 to place a mail order. 


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