Thursday, November 11, 2010


When it came to seating in the baby's nursery, we knew we wanted some sort of rocker or glider. Searches for rocking chairs on Craigslist were utterly fruitless, and I ended up finding just one glider that looked possible -- the price was right, and the picture looked great.

Of course, a 3" picture on Craigslist and real life are two different things. As it turned out, the upholstery was sadly in need of a re-do, the seat and ottoman cushions had been replaced with less-than-adequate substitutes, and there were a few scuffs. But it was wonderfully comfortable, and the sellers accepted our offer. It sat in our garage for a month, while I worked up the gumption to start working on it. Home decor sewing -- and upholstery in particular -- simply terrifies me.

At last, out of other sewing projects (and excuses), I took the plunge. I decided to take off the black gingham cover and use it as a pattern. Underneath was a *horrible* khaki-grey fabric, complete with stains and faded spots that had taken on a pinkish hue. And surprise! There was a headrest piece meant to fold over the back of the cushion, which the previous "recoverer" had decided to ignore by folding it down and pretending it wasn't there. Bizarre.

But that wasn't the only surprise! The khaki cover had a zipper at the bottom, which revealed that this glider started out in a blue-and-white stripe! I felt like I was peeling back the layers of an onion. Ironically, the original fabric had virtually no stains, while both covers were spotted and worn.

I used the khaki cover as a pattern, turning it inside-out and carefully clipping just along the stitching line. Not wanting to put more money into this project than absolutely necessary, I looked in my stash and found a navy blue twill just begging to be used. I traced the pattern pieces on my fabric (and actually remembered to add in the seam allowance!), cut them out, and began sewing.

The headrest (which looked difficult to cover) turned out to be quite simple, to my great relief. I was even able to re-use the Velcro from the khaki cover to secure the headrest to the back of the cushion.

Now I was ready to tackle the seat and ottoman cushions. So I trotted along to JoAnn's -- and found out, as a first-time foam buyer, just how prohibitively expensive foam-by-the-yard is. Even at 50% off. For some reason, the pre-cut packaged foam was much less expensive, and I managed to find a package of 2" foam that was the right size for a reasonable price.

Then there was the issue of cutting the foam -- but my husband had the answer for that, since his family had discovered that electric carving knives are the best for such a project. I used a piece of batting to figure out the correct shape for the cushion, then traced it onto the foam. Using what I had on hand, I hand-stitched two layers of batting to the top of the foam, and one to the bottom for extra "cush." The cover was a bit improvised, but to my relief it worked like a charm.

I skipped the little straps-with-snaps at the top of the back cushion, and added fabric ties instead. You can't really see the snaps on the glider, and the ties do a more than adequate job of keeping the cushion up.

I'm so grateful that this turned out to be so much less traumatic (and expensive) than I had anticipated! I still have to purchase foam for the ottoman cushion, but that can wait. My dear husband indulged my late-night nesting instincts by taking out the twin bed to make room for the glider. Nestled into a corner by a sunny window, it is now one of my Favorite Spots. It's already passed the reading, writing, day-dreaming, and cat-napping tests (with flying colors, I might add) -- but I'm most looking forward to the baby-snuggling test in a few weeks!


  1. Oh marvelously done Shannon!! It looks brand new!! And it's such a nice fabric choice, it will look darling with either "pink or blue"! ;) So happy it went well for you!

  2. Wonderful job Shannon! It looks great. We used to have a rocking chair that Mama used for the babies and we used for story time that look very similar. It also passed the "cat-nap" test with flying colors :P

    I'm so excited about y'all's baby! :)

  3. Great job on the chair -- it looks fabulous! "A few weeks"! Can it be? :) I'm so very excited for you!

  4. Oh how wonderful! It looks so good :o)

  5. Looks great!! We are praying for you.
    Mrs. Hope

  6. Thank you so much for your kind words and prayers! Both are much appreciated :-)

    Laura: well, it's still over a month -- but it seems like a short time to me! :-)


  7. your resourcefulness inspires me:) And trust me, as a mom of 4 i need that!
    Looking forward to seeing this little blessing. Get as much rest as you can:)

  8. Wow! So many layers underneath! :O Thank you for admitting your fears of upholstery seem like a wonder woman to me with your exquisite sewing skills (I also have fears of re-upholstering things). ;)

    The chair turned out beautifully! :D You did such a great job! I love that blue twill color. ;) Rocking chairs are the best...I love them. The little corner you have there looks like just the right place to snuggle a little one in. :)

    Blessings to you!
    Praying of you as your "reach the home stretch". ;)

  9. It looks lovely! You did a wonderful job. I'm so impressed with all the things you are able to find on Craigslist. I've never had much luck on there...


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