So, in the last post, I painted the chairs and you can see that process here.
French Chair Flat

I did forget to mention that after painting, I waited until the next day for the paint to ‘cure.’ I then waxed the chairs. I applied the wax and waited about 15-20 minutes to buff. By the time I had finished applying the wax to the fourth chair enough time had gone by that started buffing the first chair. This is where a buffing attachment for a drill would be awesome!

It is time consuming, but I so love when the shine comes out! Keeps me going! I use old cut up t-shirts for applying and buffing the wax. One for applying, and a clean one for buffing. Make sure you use a cotton t-shirt! Don’t try to use sweatshirt material! Unless it says it is made of cotton, it will be made of spun plastic (did you know they use recycled soda bottles to make sweatshirts?) and that does not work with the wax!

Now on to the cushions. When I got the chairs, there were no seats on them. Which is a bummer because having the seat to reuse is easier than having to get plywood and cut out new blanks. But, so be it, that’s what I had to do. (really, I made hubby do it)

And wouldn’t you know, I forgot about taking photos of this process. All I did was lay a square of craft paper on the table with some hanging over the edge and put the chair upside down on the craft paper. Remember in grade school when you had to put up your chair before you went home? Maybe they don’t do that anymore? Probably giving away my age.

I traced around the three sides of the seat with a pencil. Cut out the tracing leaving a tail in the back where you couldn’t trace. Line up your cut edges on the chair seat and tape it in place. With a craft knife, cut out the inside edge of the back of the chair seat. Yeah, probably should have gotten those photos. 😦
This is how it looked after I had it cut out.

Once you have the template cut out make sure it fits the chair. I ended up rounding out where those front legs jut out to make it easier to cut out of the plywood. Trace the template onto the plywood. I could only fit two seats per half sheet of plywood. They were cut out with a jig saw.

So here is where I started taking photos again. I took the plywood blanks my hubby cut out for me and traced them onto my foam. The foam was a curb side find. A couple summers ago, a neighbor had two big rolls of this in their trash. I have used it for several projects and even after this project, I have a little left over for maybe a couple more chairs. Bless their hearts for throwing this out because it has saved me a bit of cash. I haven’t purchased this stuff in a long time so I went to JoAnne’s to price it. I found one comparable here which is 10 feet long, and I can’t seem to find any that is shorter than that. Maybe the store carries smaller. This listing was 50% off and it was under $30 for 10 feet.

Here is a photo of one of the blanks and traced out on the foam. Since my foam isn’t very thick, only about 1 1/2 inches, I am cutting out two for each seat, and doubling them up.

I also like to use a layer of quilt batting to cover the foam. I think it softens the edges of the foam and gives a smooth surface to the cushion. I bought the twin size to make sure I had enough, and there was some left over. This one was $17.99, but it was 40% off.

In case you haven’t seen this before, I used an awesome source for the fabric to cover my chairs, the hardware store. This beautiful linen colored fabric is a cotton canvas painting drop cloth from Home Depot. You can find them in the paint section and they come in different sizes, different weights, and different shades of tan. You get tons of yardage pretty cheaply, and it is a dense weave so very heavy duty. As you can see from the photo, I got my use out of it as a drop cloth first! Then I washed it and am using the non painted side. I also didn’t get much paint on it, even though I am a pretty messy painter.
I layered the fabric on the table first with the good side down, then the batting, and then my two layers of foam, then the blank, lining them up as best I could. As you can tell, cutting foam perfectly is not easy. Line them up as best you can. When the fabric is pulled tight it won’t matter that they are a little off.

If your fabric has a pattern, make sure that you line your fabric up the same way for all the chairs. Mine is a solid, but it did have a weave that had some variations and if you look closely enough, some of the threads were colored. So I made sure that the weave was going in the same direction on all four chairs. It’s a small thing, but for larger prints, it would make a big difference.

You will need a heavy duty stapler for this part. This is the one I used and I used 1/2″ staples.
Now the fun part! I got lots of photos of this process.
With everything in place, push down on your blank on one of the edges in the middle. Pushing down like this will give the edge of your seat a nice curved edge.
While you have it pushed down, pull the layers of fabric up and keeping it pulled taught, staple in one staple. It takes a little practice, and sometimes I use my elbow!

Do the opposite side of the cushion.
Then do the other two sides. It will look like this.

Now you have it tacked down. Start with one side and push down on the blank and pull the fabric over and staple. At this point, you don’t need a lot of staples, just enough to hold the fabric in place. Staple about 1 to 1 1/2 inch from the edge.
Do not go all the way to the corner yet.
Make sure when you pull the fabric, you have a nice smooth edge. You don’t want it to bunch up. This is easy on a straight edge, a little more work on rounded seats.
This is how it looks on the other side with one side done.
Do all four sides in this way, leaving the corners undone.

For the corners, I start in the center of the corner and pull the fabric tight and staple.
Then pull in the fabric so that it evenly lines up with the previous stapling. You might find that as you pull and ease the fabric in place, you may have to remove some of the previous staples so the fabric will be nice and smooth along the edge.
If you have square corners, you would do the same thing. You might have to fold over your fabric on the back more, but the technique is the same.

Now, I trim my excess fabric and batting. I trim about 1 inch from my staple line.
I can see that I need to add a few more staples.
And here is an example of that bunching I was talking about.
If this happens, remove some of your staples and adjust the fabric so it is nice and smoothed out and re-staple. Go around the edge and add more staples where it looks like it is needed. 50 years from now, someone will re-cover this seat and be cursing you for all the staples you put in there! 🙂
Your seat should look like this.
I take a hammer and make sure all the staples are secure.

Now, for that problem of the area around the front legs. As you can see here
and here
not looking so good!

This is where the welting comes in. I purchased the cording at JoAnne’s and it is not very expensive. Cut out strips of the canvas in 1 1/2 inch strips. I don’t measure stuff because I always get it wrong! I don’t care how many times I measure something with a measuring tape, it’s wrong. So I took the cording and wrapped it around the chair and added a few extra inches to make sure I had extra to finish it off. I sewed the welting with a zipper foot. I think the ‘right’ way is to staple the welting on the bottom of the seat cushion as well, but I wanted a good fit so I stapled it to the edge of the chair. Sorry, again, didn’t get photos of this.

I started in the center front with the middle of my welting and worked my way around the edge of the seat until they met in the back. Before finishing the stapling, I had to merge the two ends together. Trim the cording where they meet so they overlap a couple of inches, and undo the sewing on one end where they overlap. Cut the cording on that end so the other end nestles into it. Fold in the outer fabric a half inch so it is not a raw edge and staple in place. Finish stapling the cording so it stays in place. If anyone reading this doesn’t get it, or wants instruction on making the welting, let me know and I will update this post with some photos, or create a separate post with further instructions on doing this.

Here is a close up of the finished welting.
It still didn’t come out as flush looking as I would have liked, but I may be over critical, which I have been accused of.

Here is the final outcome and overall I am pretty pleased with the results.
French Dining Collage
And here is the before again.

Please disregard the unfinished floors and the mess. I still use this room as my workspace, and we have yet to finish our floors after pulling up the awful, old, smelly carpets.
My dining room is still a work in progress and I hope to document here how it comes along.