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28 September, 2014

How to Give a Chair Country French Style

It’s the last Sunday of the month so it’s time to join our Country French Design group to talk about my favorite subject…and this time the focus is on chairs! First, I have a confession…I don’t have any real antique French chairs. I know (hanging head in shame)…can you believe it? But my house is small and every chair needs to be able to earn its keep, withstanding the attentions of four cats and being used as a launching pad my four-year-old grandson to jump from shouting “Hulk smash!”

Chaises au Musée CarnavaletOwning one has always been a dream and I have to admit that when I took my then ten-year-old grandson to Paris, I demanded equal time at the Musée  Carnavalet and we lingered over the fabulous antique chairs for just as long as we studied the miniature guillotines! ;-)

CONFESSIONS OF A PLATE ADDICT How to Give a Chair Country French Style And, although it’s not French, I think I came pretty close with this one! No Hulk smashing allowed on it, however, since it is an antique Stickley & Brandt. It does earn its keep, however, as my desk chair. You can get all the details on its little transformation here.

CONFESSIONS OF A PLATE ADDICT How to Give a Chair Country French Style But the chair I want to share with you today was a more involved process…an evolution, really…over several years. I first spotted it at an antique mall, painted a sort of mottled grey and not looking very French at all. But I fell in love with that pierced vase shape on the back and knew I had to have it! I never saw its original finish, but our CEO Miss Ozzie suggests that it probably looked something like the photo in the inset (source).

CONFESSIONS OF A PLATE ADDICT How to Give a Chair Country French Style...Before It’s actually a vintage shield-back Hepplewhite style chair, with a set of unusual turned legs…a sort of flirty English gal hiding under all of that original heavy stain. I gave her a drop cloth seat for a country finish and painted her ivory with a grey wash to bring out her pretty features. You can read the story of her transformation here. I always intended to  give her a flippy slip-covered skirt…

 …but then she sat…just like that…in my master bedroom for four years! Yikes! Sooo…it was about time to do something about it!

CONFESSIONS OF A PLATE ADDICT How to Give a Chair Country French Style step 1First, I measured, allowing for the arms. Of course, if yours is not an arm chair, you would have one simple measurement. Mine was 11 inches on each side and 26 inches across the front.

CONFESSIONS OF A PLATE ADDICT How to Give a Chair Country French Style step 2 Then, using more drop cloth (super cheap, durable and no need to iron) I cut the three pieces, doubling the width for extra ruffles, and allowing 9 inches of length. Another great thing about drop cloth is that if you make your cuts wisely, you can take advantage of the fact that it’s already hemmed! So I had two pieces at 22” x 9” and one at 52” x 9’' and only had to hem the sides! Finish them off with a long stitch and gather and adjust to the original measurements.

CONFESSIONS OF A PLATE ADDICT How to Give a Chair Country French Style step 3 Next, I cut a piece from the drop cloth that was roughly the size of the seat, allowing a 2 inch overhang all around and making cuts to allow for all four legs.

CONFESSIONS OF A PLATE ADDICT How to Give a Chair Country French Style step 4 Then pin the ruffles to the seat cover, right sides together, adjusting and spacing the ruffles evenly. Repeat for all three sides. You can then trim off the extra fabric and stitch. Next, trim the seams and press toward the seat, turning under the clipped sections at the legs and trimming off the excess. Then simply topstitch all the way around to hold it all in place.

CONFESSIONS OF A PLATE ADDICT How to Give a Chair Country French Style step 5 Finally, stitch ties at the back corners (I made mine out of drop cloth, but you could use ribbons) to secure the slipcover to the chair and…

CONFESSIONS OF A PLATE ADDICT How to Give a Chair Country French Styletaaa daaa…here she is…looking as I had always intended her to look…a proper English girl at heart with a flirty French exterior! I am so happy that I finally took the time to finish her!

And just in case you missed any of my posts on previous topics in our Country French Design series, here they are…


Remember to pin it!

Thanks for stopping by! I hope you enjoyed seeing my Country French chair! Please visit these wonderful bloggers and their beautiful blogs to see what they are up to and to find a list of this week’s participants. 
Under the Table and Dreaming for the Sunday Showcase Party , Thrifty Decor Chick for Before and After Monday , Between Naps on the Porch for Metamorphosis Monday , The Stories of A2Z for Tutorials and Tips Tuesday , Coastal Charm for the Show and Share Party , A Stroll thru Life for Inspire Me Tuesday , My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia for Inspire Me Monday, Savvy Southern Style for Wow Us Wednesdays ,   French Country Cottage for Feathered Nest Friday , Common Ground for Be Inspired on Fridays , The Charm of Home for Home Sweet Home Friday , Craftberry Bush for the Inspiration Gallery on Friday
See you next time! À la prochaine!

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  1. You did a fabulous job on that chair and the slipcover. I liked it both ways, but the skirt does add more femininity to it.

  2. wooooweeeee, that looks terrific.

    I have 2 chairs that need new seat covers, so your tutorial is just in time for me to switch ideas and do them like you did yours.
    thanks so much

  3. Such a pretty lady with her very flirty skirt! Great job as always!

  4. Love your chair and the slipcover you made for it! Love how it turned out!

  5. OOoohhhhhlala. Luv the flirty little skirt.

  6. You did a great job! I'm hoping to get my hands on some chairs at my in-laws lake house and cover them. Nothing french or fancy, but they are old (over 60 years) and in desperate need to be recovered. Maybe in the off season.

  7. So lovely!! You did a fabulous job and they look very French to me!

  8. Great job -- the chair looks like she was always suppose to look this way! I truly appreciate the tutorial, because I've been wanting to cover our dining room chairs. Mine are different, & I have had this plan in my head for awhile, but was puzzled over a couple of areas. I think you have given me what I needed. Thank you so much!

  9. Charming, as usual and an even better sleeping place for Ozzie. Excellent tutorial.

  10. Debbie, you are full of talent. The chair looks fabulous. I bought a French style bench at a consignment store several years ago now. It lingers waiting for a makeover. Hmmmm, perhaps it needs to go to Atlanta. '-)

  11. I love anything drop cloth. The chair looks great and it elevants a dropcloth to elegance.

  12. Great tutorial Debbie! Love how it turned out. I have a few chairs I could use this on.

  13. Can you please tell me what you did to the little back chair flaps to finish them, I didn't see it in the instructions. Thanks. I want to make them asap.

    1. I just trimmed it off, turned the edges under a bit and top stitched.

  14. oh my love the chair and the chair cover ... I have got to make this and thank you for sharing the how to

  15. I'm going to make these for my kitchen chairs! I love the skirt! My chairs will dance!!!!

  16. Love the chair cover! What weight of drop cloth did you use?


Thanks so much for stopping by and taking the time to comment! I appreciate my wonderful readers!... Debbie