Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Choose Your Flair Custom Chair Tutorial



Kid-sized furniture is cute.  Especially little chairs.  But they're a tricky thing to get right.  The fancy, upholstered chairs in the upscale catalogs are pricey and come in only a handful of basic colors.  The more affordable foam chairs at the big box stores are pretty limited in the style dept.  Garish, cheap fabric, usually paired with some licensed character.  Blahhhhh.  And either choice makes it hard to match with specific decor or a theme.  

UNTIL NOW!  I'm going to show how you can make your own fabulous chair & removable cover for about $25. It's the Choose Your Flair Chair!  Make it soft & cuddly, use fun prints, personalize it.  Anything to give it your own flair.   It's easy to match your favorite little person's style, make a memorable birthday gift or just knock their socks off with a cool place to take a seat.  Ready to get started?  Let's go!


First, you'll need my handy pattern sheet for making a Choose Your Flair Chair.  You can download it here:


If you've already got a foam chair & just want to make a new cover, you're halfway there, so skip down to how to making the chair cover.

Supplies You'll Need:

For the Foam Chair Base
- 3"x24"x50" piece of foam (you can get this for about $15-18 with a coupon at Joann's)
- Exacto knife
- Glue (Gorilla glue is probably best)

For the Chair Cover
- 1 yd stretch knit fabric (60" wide). Interlock, French Terry, Minky, Fleece, etc.  ~or~ Two 1/2 - 3/4yds of stretch knit (how much depends on which parts of the cover are which fabric)
- 32" long piece of 1/4"wide elastic
- Ball point needle
- Yard stick, marking pen, shears/rotary cutter

Optional, but recommended: roll of paper to scale up my pattern info into full size pattern pieces (this keeps things as simple & easy as possible and then you can use it over & over).

Making the Foam Chair Base:
Using the yard stick & pen, measure and mark the cut lines for making the back, arms & seat as shown.  Carefully & slowly cut through the thickness with the knife.


Stack the two seat pieces and put an arm piece on either side and place the back behind them all.


Glue the pieces together.  Foam can be tricky to adhere, but it's ok if it doesn't stick, because the cover will keep it all together anyway.


Making The Chair Cover:
Lay out the pattern pieces on the fabric(s) as needed, making sure all pieces have the stretch of the fabric going horizontally.


Cut pieces out of fabric and either mark the pieces or leave the patterns attached, so it's easy to fit everything together.

Now, with right sides facing, stitch together one long side of the top piece to back piece with a 1/2" seam allowance.  Stitch the other long side of the top piece to the chair front so it looks like this:


Then stitch the chair front (end with the cut outs) to the seat:


Now to attach the arms.  With right sides facing, stitch the arm pieces to the chair face so they will look like this:


Flip the arms out of the way and attach the inner side pieces to the other section of the chair front just under the arms on each side:


With right sides facing, stitch together the upper part of the inner side to the arms so they look like this:


Do the same along the short sides of those pieces to create the front corner of the arms.  Now attach the front panel to this section:


The cover is nearly done!  To add the chair sides on, with right sides facing, stitch the short end of the "L" shaped panel to the top section of the cover.  Stitch the back of the "L" to the back section of the chair and the stitch the remaining angles to the chair front, arm and front.


Now this is where to add the elastic so it will stay on nicely on the bottom & be easy to remove.  Stitch on the 1/4" elastic about 3/4" from the raw edge.  Pull the elastic taut as you sew it on, so it will cinch up like this:


Sew it on all the way around:


Then fold the raw edge over the elastic to make a hem and stitch it in place on the right side of the fabric 1/2" in from the edge.  Again pull the fabric taut as you stitch and make sure to not to catch the elastic when sewing the seam:



Slip the cover over the foam, fitting the fabric around all the corners & smoothing into place:


And now, your Choose Your Flair Chair is complete!


Looking fun from every angle:


And cutie-pie kid approved:



And the added bonus is that as styles change or the chair is handed down to another little person, it's easy to make a new cover and give it a whole new look or just toss it in the wash (when it gets the inevitable spill or stain).  How's that for creating some serious kid-friendly flair?



Sharing this creation with my FAVE LINK PARTIES too so click HERE to check them out!
Tip Junkie handmade projects

53 comments:

  1. OH my gosh! Thank you for this awesome tutorial! This is so much cuter than the chairs you find at the store.
    Connie

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  2. WOW! What a fantastic piece to be able to make. I LOVED my foam chair when I was younger. I'm super excited about this. Thanks so much, I'll be linking.

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  3. Great job! i need to recover a chair that is rounded... this post gave me some great ideas on how I would cover the chair!

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  4. I would love to repost this if you don't mind. I have had a few request for making a chair.
    Check out my blog. http://www.couturiermommy.com/
    I have a great Beginner Sewing button.

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  5. well, that is awesome! I've got a kiddo's birthday coming up... I may just have to whip one of these up! Found you @ Tip Junkie.

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  6. Du très bon travail ! Bravo !
    Anna

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  7. I am so happy to find this! Thank you for the time you put into creating it. I totally agree with what you said about some chairs being too pricey and others being unattractive. I can't wait to try this for my little one!

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  8. So glad a ran across your site! I have been wanting a chair for my son's room and this would be perfect!!

    I would love for you to share at my party
    http://www.cherishedbliss.com/2011/05/craft-and-tell-tuesdays-no-4.html

    -your newest follower, LOVE your blog!!

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  9. Love it! I must make one...its on my to-do list!

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  10. This is great! I need to make one in a wipeable fabric for potty training pee prevention!

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  11. You were featured at Today's Top 20! Hooray!!

    Amanda
    www.todaystoptwenty.blogspot.com

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  12. Oh so cute! I'm super impressed that you made the entire chair on your own! WOW!

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  13. Thanks for linking to Take-A-Look Tuesday - I featured you today! - Mandy, www.SugarBeeCrafts.com

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  14. Very cool! Thanks for the detailed tutorial!

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  15. I really like how you did the elastic at the bottom. I have a pink and purple chair for my son (hand-me-down from my daughter) and I have avoided recovering it because of the whole zipper element. Now I know exactly what to do. Thanks so much!!

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  16. Awesome! I love seeing great projects!
    Andrea @ TheTrainToCrazy

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  17. this is so cute and looks so easy! so fun

    Thanks for linking up to Your Whims Wednesday!

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  18. Very cute! I know what you mean about the characters! I have a foam princess couch I need to do something with! Was going to get rid of it but it would be cute to recover it in some nice fabric! Thanks for linking to my Sew Crafty Party !

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  19. This is SEEEWWWWW awesome! I am totally impressed with your creation abilities! Thanks so much for sharing with the Pink Hippo Party.. can't wait to see what you share next week!

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  20. I'm totally bookmarking this tutorial! This is just what I need for my 2-year-old! Thank you so much for your helpful tutorial!

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  21. This is a fabulous tutorial!!!! Thanks so much for sharing!

    I would love for you to stop by my blog and share this at my For the Kids link party! Stop by and join in on the fun!!!

    http://sunscholars.blogspot.com/2011/05/for-kids-friday-9.html

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  22. Fantastic tutorial for such a cute chair!

    Thanks for linking to a Round Tuit!
    Hope you have a great week!
    Jill @ Creating my way to Success
    http://www.jembellish.blogspot.com/

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  23. This was featured on my blog! Such a great tutorial. This weeks linky is up too!!

    www.cherishedbliss.com

    stop by and pick up your featured button : )

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  24. I seriously wanted to make one of these and this tutorial will make it so much easier. Featuring you on Thursday 19 at projectsjustforme.blogspot.com
    Thanks
    Kelli

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  25. Thanks for linking up this tutorial! Love that $25 price tag...in the stores they can cost twice that!

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  26. Love it. Great tutorial. Thanks so much for linking up! Can't wait to see what you have for this week.

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  27. Featuring you today!
    http://projectsjustforme.blogspot.com/2011/05/customized-kid-chairs.html

    thanks

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  28. $25!!!! NICE!!! The fabric you chose is too cute too! :) Thanks for sharing this on Fancy This Fridays!! Hope you'll stop by on Monday to see if you are a giveaway winner, featured post, or BOTH! :)

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  29. Wow what a fab chair thanks for sharing Tina x x www.scratchycatcrafter.blogspot.com

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  30. Just wanted to let you know that I featured your chair on my blog.. hope you stop by and grab your featured button @ http://pinkapotamus.blogspot.com/2011/05/pink-hippo-party-30.html

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  31. This is AMAZING! I wanted to try to make one of these for my best friend's daughter for Christmas, but I had no idea where to start. You've made it so easy for me! I'll be sure to link back to you when I post the finished project. Thanks so much!

    Also, I'm following your blog now ;)

    avamaeve.blogspot.com

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  32. This is a superb tutorial and soooo difficult to find anywhere for free! Thanks a million times for that!!!

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  33. Love this tutorial I am about to start making one for my daughter however, I could not get 3" foam but rather got 4". Can you tell me how best to adjust the pattern for the fabric so that it works for me?

    Any help would be appreciated :)

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  34. Tricia -

    You'd probably need to add that extra inch into all the measurements except those that involve the width of the seat part & width of the chair side pieces (remembering to add 2" for the height of the seat since it's 2 pieces of foam stacked) or to cut an inch off your foam so it works with the measurements I calculated.

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  35. Thanks Cheryl about to start now will decide if I'll just add the extra inch or cut the foam to size. Will post a pic when I'm done :)

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  36. Looking forward to seeing it Tricia - good luck!!

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  37. Hey Cheryl so its done, I started it on Sunday and am finished finally today. It looks really good but don't know if I'll be making another anytime soon. Not quite sure how to attach a pic here though (if its at all possible) As soon as I figure it out I can upload one for you to see :) Merry Christmas everyone!!

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  38. Yay Tricia! Cannot wait to see. You can upload a pic to the Sew Can Do Facebook page or just email me and I can post it on the blog. It's not the simplest project to make, but is a really special thing to create for a special little someone (and it will definitely get a lot of use!).

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  39. Just posted a pic of the chair on the facebook page :)

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  40. Wow! This custom chair is so cute. Kid friendly and really adorable. Great tutorial, eh. :)

    Cheers,
    Cathy@medical scrubs uniforms

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  41. Wonderful tutorial, thanks for sharing!!!

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  42. Thanks for sharing, love the tutorial and how simple it is to make and cut the foam. I do have a question, don't you need to add seam allowance to the Pattern, since some pieces are the same for the foam?
    Btw I pinned this post :)

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    Replies
    1. Duha,

      I've made some updates to the pattern dimensions to make things clearer. Sorry it took a while - it's been a year since I created this and needed to refresh my memory!

      Delete
  43. Anyone know where to find foam for a decent price? I checked Joann's online and the only foam with these measurements is in a 10 foot long roll for over $50.

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  44. Get on Joann's mailing list - you'll get the flyers with coupons good for 40-50% regular priced items all the time (and see when the foam is on sale too). That's what I did and a big piece was less than $20.

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  45. Thanks Cheryl, it's on sale this weekend! I sewed most of the cover today, and followed the same pattern of knit and minky pieces you showed. I don't have a band of knit around the bottom to sew the elastic to - did you add an extra strip under the back and front pieces to make it so there was a solid border of knit? The knit on mine just extends down from the side panels but the front and back pieces are minky, which seems like a nightmare to sew elastic onto! Thanks again. :)

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    Replies
    1. Fantastic Amanda! Yes I did add a little knit there, just so everything would look uniform. It's not necessary, but I liked the finish. Minky isn't too bad, but some are stretchier than others, so adding the knit can only help. Good luck finishing up and I hope you'll share your finished chair:)

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  46. Thanks for the tutorial! Great idea.

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  47. Thanks so much for the tutorial! Exactly what I was looking for. Wonderful. :)

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    Replies
    1. So thrilled to hear that Nicole. I'd love to see yours when you make one!

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  48. for gluing the foam pieces should use foam n fabric spray adhesive...bonds better than gorilla glue otherwise this is a great project and simple to do...

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    Replies
    1. I did try foam spray adhesive first and was very disappointed with the results. I followed the can's instructions exactly and the spray did not adhere very well at all. This is why I recommend a more substantial glue.

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