Friday, November 6, 2009

TV Chair Adventures -- Part 2

Part of what inspired me to make this chair was that I found an odd little piece of leather on one of my too-regular forays over to the local Tandy stores. They get odd lots of various upholstery leathers from tanning companies, and I'm always keeping my eyes open for nice bits in blues and greens that my kids might like. There was this one small piece (maybe 15 square feet) in a mottled blue-green with a shiny finish that caught my eye, and I nabbed it (it was one of a kind--none of the employees saw any others like it). Somehow I didn't manage to get a picture of the piece before I cut it up, but I started making a round cushion from it for the seat of the chair.

I found that stapling the pieces together worked better than pinning (in the seam allowance so holes won't show in the finished cushion). I got fewer stab wounds that way, too! I sewed the cushion sides on using heavy Gutermann polyester thread. This is pretty heavy and stiff leather (think of vinyl seats in a diner, and you'll be close), and I had a lot of trouble sewing through it on my machine (skipped stitches, etc., even with a "walking foot"). I got through the main seam around the cushion, but gave up sewing a second line around to stitch down the seam allowance. I ended up gluing that down.

Since I only had enough of the blue-green leather to cover the chair cushions, I got a huge black "Zora" hide from Tandy to cover the outside of the chair. This is beautiful soft matte garment leather. It's thin, a little stretchy, and it feels wonderful.

More Tubes: Foam Insulation
I find inspiration everywhere. I love to wander around hardware stores looking for tools and materials that might be good for projects. This time I found slit foam tubes that are used for insulating hot water pipes. They fit over the cut edge of the Sonotube and make a nice contour. Some of them even come with double-sided tape on the slit edges, so I was able to bend the foam around the edge of the chair and then pull out the plastic strip covering the adhesive. Here's how it looks on my sample piece.

Covering the Chair

My initial thought was that I would fit the leather over the chair with a big piece going around the Sonotube cylinder and a separate strip sewn onto the big piece so it would fit tightly over the contoured pipe insulation. So I cut it all out and pinned it together (the chair is upside down in this picture).

I sewed it all together (incurring many stab wounds in the process), put it on the chair, and it was a disaster. The contouring didn't work at all. This was one of those times where making a muslin version first would have been a good idea, but of course I just jumped in on sewing the leather, and in hindsight I think it would never have worked the way I had envisioned. I ripped out all of my seams, threw everything in a pile, and let the project sit stalled for a couple of weeks.

To be continued...

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