Oooh. That sounds a little naughty doesn’t it? Trust me, it’s not. Today, I’m talking to those of you with messy little munchkins, and gorgeous furniture.
One of my most beloved possessions is my kitchen table and 8 matching chairs. Its huge, it’s solid oak, and it seats my whole tribe comfortably. But more than that, it was a gift from my Father in Law. He’s one of my top four favorite guys. Cheesy as it sounds, that table really is the heart of our home. I’d love to be able to leave it uncovered all the time with all that beautiful oak gleaming away in the sun. I don’t have the guts to do it though, because not only is it in our conservatory where the sun would just totally bleach it into oblivion, but, I have twin toddlers an 11 year old boy and a 12 year old boy. We still eat like piglets and we also paint, glue, and a million other messy things at that table. Plus, I sew at one end of it. Plus…boys are gross. So it stays well and truly covered up. Like this:(Including the Diet Coke can. I have twins, and I don’t drink. I gotta have something.)
So, the other issue we have is with the chairs getting trashed. I tried the age old trick of just putting a tee shirt over the back of the chair, but we were still having problems with gunge (somehow? How??) getting *under* the booster seats. I would have to pull the whole thing apart every day, three times a day, to clean it in order to avoid permanent stains.(Pasta sauce being the worst offender. That stuff just leaches into wood!)
So, I came up with the Quick N’ Dirty Chair Cover.
You’ll need the following measurements: The width of the *widest* part of your chair plus one inch, and the length from the floor up over the chair, down the back and to the floor again. In other words, take your tape measure from the floor to the front of the seat, over the seat to the chair back, up and over the chair back, and down to the floor again.
Enough oilcloth or fabric to meet your measurements above.I used an old tablecloth that was just stained enough that I didn’t want to use it where it was visible any more. It doesn’t have to be expensive. (Read: You don’t have to buy Cath Kidston unless you have that kind of money.) If you’re in the UK, I get all my oilcloth from Blue Jigsaw. They’ve got the best prices and they’ll cut you to order, and it’s usually there within 24 hours.
A grommit setting tool and about six grommits (possibly more if you have those chairs with a super tall ladder back.) You can get these at any good fabric store, and even at some camping stores.
Ribbon or cord (A few yards just to be safe)
Now, before I even start let me tell you two things. Oilcloth is really great for this. Better than fabric in my opinion because you can just wipe the oilcloth down, and nothing will seep through. BUT…
DO NOT ATTEMPT TO USE OILCLOTH FOR THIS PROJECT IF YOUR BOOSTER SEATS DO NOT ATTACH TO YOUR CHAIR WITH STRAPS IN SOME WAY. Oilcloth is slick as cow snot in wintertime, and if your booster seat does not strap onto your chairs in some way, the booster seat could slide off and injure your child. If your seat does not have a securing mechanism, simply use a non slick fabric. (In other words, not something like satin. I know, who would cover a kids chair in satin, but I’ve seen weirder things. Use something with some friction to it, like a heavy weight cotton.) I’ve included a photo of how my booster seat attaches to my chair, so you can see what I mean. Obviously, if your kids are old enough to just be kneeling on the chairs, you still need to be careful they don’t slip.This is my chair lying on it’s back, showing that the seat straps buckle under the bottom of the chair. (Removes OSHA/Health and Safety hat)
If you’ve never used a grommit setter, I’m telling you, they are the handiest thing in my sewing basket aside from my bias tape maker. Seriously. Putting them into fabric is a little more labor intensive than putting them into the oilcloth, but not by much. This is mine, so you know what you’re looking for. They aren’t expensive. Mine was about six pounds and included a little bag of grommits.
Drape the oilcloth over the chair, and arrange it how you want it. Use some clothes pins to hold it together at the sides along the chair back while you work. (Don’t use pins in oilcloth. They leave holes. Ask me how I learned that one.)
Following the instructions that came with your grommit setter, insert three (or more if you have tall chairs) grommits through *both* layers of oilcloth along each side of your chairback. You can also use six in each side, and put them seperately in each layer then use ribbon to tie them together, but I found just putting them through both layers was easier, and made the cover hang more neatly. Don’t put them in too far from the edge, because you do want to be able to just lift this off if you need too. (Obviously not an issue if you are tying them together.)
Now, if you’ve done them through both layers, you can stop there and be done, or you can add some ribbons or cord through the holes just for the Pretty Factor.
And that’s it. Yes, really. Mine took me about an hour, from cutting to pushing the chair back into the table. And that was to make two.
I did some from fabric for the older (but only slightly less messy) boys chairs. I used fabric from some drapes Steffen had when I moved in that I promptly removed from the windows. (Well. His ex had picked them out. I don’t care if they’d cost £3000.00 bucks, they were coming *down*.)
I sewed up the sides instead of using grommits.
(Americans, that white thing’s my radiator. There’s your proof that I live in England.)
Anyway, I was “dead chuffed” as my husband would say, with how both versions turned out. They looked alot nicer than I thought they would, because admittedly my had was in a place of “Functional-but-not-dreadful-to-look-at” and I actually *got* “Functional-and-cute”! Bonus!
If you have the time (I did not) and the extra dough (I also did not) you could really tart these up without adding too much work. You could even make different ones for the seasons, or the holidays.
If you do these, send me pics! I’d love to see!