Thursday, April 8, 2010

A freshly slip-covered chair, done shabby chic style

Today I have a special post for you. This one involves a recently completed project done with my friend and seamstress extraordinaire, Kate Heist. Kate has been making custom slipcovers and window treatments for 25 years. She is the best there is (look out Pottery Barn)! In our area, she is the go-to girl for any custom interior decorating work involving fabric, and designers in the know keep her business card handy. Kate can do it all.

Not long ago, Kate asked me if I would be interested in doing a chair shabby chic style and asked if I happened to have any vintage linens. Little did she know that I have been collecting old linens for years, just waiting for the right opportunity to do something with them other than dress my table and my bed. I also happened to have a comfy, but not so pretty, $5 yard sale chair in need of a makeover. The two of us combined resources, talent, and determination. It was quite an auspicious match!

We spent about 9 hours measuring, cutting, and stitching together this cover. We used 4 separate linen tablecloths, one of which was ivory and had some gorgeous embroidery and crochet-work we wanted to highlight. The other tablecloths were pure white. We made cording to bridge the separate colors. Last night I brought home the finished project, and I could not be more pleased!

Front view. The skirt, arm covers, and flap over the top cushion contain the fancy needlework.
We kept the silouhette simple to allow the needlework to stand out; it would have just been lost in dressmaker details like ruffles or gathers.

Back view. Another flap hangs over the back, scarf -like, to add interest there.

Side view. The arm covers add textural contrast to the sides.

Seat detail. The seat and back cushion are made of lustrous linen, so smooth to the touch. Whiskers certainly approves.

Detail of needlework on arm fronts.

Detail of needlework on pillow flaps.

Detail of top cushion and top back. Here you can see the use of different materials and the cording.

And lastly, here is the chair back in its old spot in my living room. As I said before, I am just thrilled with how it turned out.

Working with Kate was such a pleasure, and I learned a ton. I may even try this again on my own at some point in the future. All you collectors of vintage linens, take note. There is no limit to what can be done with a little imagination and a little know-how.

Until next time...



  1. Now that is a true labor of love. The finished project turned out great. What a smart idea to use tablecloths, where else can you get so much yardage for such a reasonable price?

  2. You should be thrilled...that is so beautiful and so delicate. It adds to the calm comfort of our cottage. I wish I could do sew like that.

    Have I told that I am in awe of your *Naturel Cottage* pics on your sidebar? I am. Your cottage is my kind of place. And it looks like you are in the heart of nature. Simplicity=beauty.

  3. Hi, i just love the slipcover, it is beautiful.I also collect linens! You both did a beautiful job...Kathy

  4. Hi Anne, thanks for the comment on my blog. I'll be following you and have you on my blog list as well. You have an amazing talent and I love to see people doing what you do.
    I hope to see you again!
    Have a lovely day,
    Li :-)

  5. Wow, so gorgeous anne! Love the cat, I've always wanted a grey kitty, my last cat lived to be 21 years and haven't been able to get another since her passing. So wonderful that your friend is a seamstress. Thank you always for your kind comments on my blog. Have a wonderful evening!

  6. Dear Anne,
    Your slip covers are wonderful. I'm sure that you are so pleased with them. I really love the lace details.... and the chair looks lovely, back in it's rightful place in your living room.
    I love your cat, too. We had three cats at one time and one was grey. Sadly they are all gone now.
    Have a great weekend Anne. XXXX

  7. Thanks, Ladies, for the sweet words! Each comment I receive means the world to me and inspires me to keep going. This has been the best part about starting a blog. The grey kitty, Whiskers, is 14 years old. She wandered up out of the woods one fall day and has been with us ever since. She is such a sweetie; I love her to death! Have a lovely weekend!

  8. Anne....just amazing!
    thank you so much for visiting my blog..and I am enjoying reading through your posts and raising my eyebrows in amazement at all the wonderfully creative and inspirational ideas you have come up with...just wonderful.
    And if your home is meant to be a reflection of your soul...then yours Anne is one of warmth , comfort and natural :) x

  9. And pleased you shall be - it is gorgeous!!
    I am in awe of what you have achieved. Well done!!

    Am loving your blog and all the creativity!



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