Saturday, 29 January 2011

How to Upcycle a Chair

Way back in December 2009, I wrote a post about upcycling a chair and using it as a unique Christmas present. Upcycling cheap furniture has been at the back of my mind ever since, and so when I found this chair in a charity shop for £3, my thoughts turned once again to paint, sandpaper, staple guns and spare fabric.

This time, I wanted to avoid shabby chic and instead go for something more sleek. I had a sample tin of black matt wall paint left over from when I painted a black and white scene earlier in the year (shhh... wall paint is cheaper than artist's acrylic and basically the same!), and thought it could be put to excellent use on the chair. I had also just purchased a scrap of fairly thick material from another charity shop, which just so happened to go well with the matt black! So the project was born.

Upcycling a chair takes about 2 hours from start to finish. Here are some basic instructions!

  1. Find a chair with a seat that can be removed (test it by pushing up under the seat).
  2. Use sand paper to remove the layer of gloss on the outside and to make a nice surface to paint on. You don't really need to be too thorough.
  3. Wipe all of the sandpaper dust off using a damp cloth.
  4. Paint all the wooden parts of the chair - you may need to give it a second coat, especially if you are using pale paint. Then leave to dry!
  5. Cut your fabric to size so that it fits the seat area (remembering you need enough to wrap around to the underside and possibly fold over for a neater finish).
  6. Hold it in place and use a staple gun or a hammer & tacks to nail the fabric to the wood on the underside of the seat. Mind your fingers!
  7. Once the chair is dry, slot the seat back into the frame!
  8. Find a nice corner to put your chair, for everyone to admire :).

I've just found a house to live in next year for uni (the most stressful thing ever!), and I'm looking forward to incorporating the chair into the room design - hopefully it won't be such a 'small space challenge' as this year is :).

Sadie xxx

P.S. Have any of you upcycled anything? I need inspiration for my next project!
P.P.S. I recently did an interview over at Dirt on Your New Shoes. I'd definitely advise having a look at Chloe's blog, which is filled with great outft inspiration!

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

My 'Mad Men' Blouse - Homemade!

During one of my first weeks at uni, I bought a length of delicate floral fabric from a market stall. The fabric waited in my room for the whole semester, desperate to be turned into something! I always had a blouse in mind for it, and I wanted to try out a slightly more pointed collar, à la Mad Men. Anyway, I found the perfect solution when I went to the Clothes Show - an amazing Maudella dress pattern, tucked away in a box of other retro designs in the new 'Sknitch' zone.

I had to adapt the pattern to turn it into a blouse - creating an overlap at the front for the buttons and getting rid of the back zip. I was pretty surprised when it turned out that the blouse actually fitted - it's the most complicated thing I've made, so I'm quite proud!

I decided to be bold and go for bright pink stitching down the sides of the buttons, then added the thin ribbons around the cuffs.
What do you think? I feel a bit like Peggy Olson when I put it on!

I'm in two minds about how to style it - here, I've gone for a land-girl-meets-librarian look, but perhaps a skirt would be better? I might try it out with a matching bow tied around the collar :).

Sadie xxx

Friday, 14 January 2011


When I first put this dress on, my mum's reaction was 'eurgh!' - mustard yellow isn't her cup of tea! However, I personally am a massive fan of the colour, especially as it's so reminiscent of the 60s. I suppose it is different when you remember the era from the first time around, but I'm perfectly happy to embrace the revival - colours and all!

I found the dress on the same retro rail in Cancer Research as the blouse in my previous post - I love the idea that charity shops have now started to recognise the vintage trend. I'm pretty sure the dress is actually supposed to be a jumper, but who am I to turn down the chance to wear something super short! The dress really reminds of of something Twiggy would have worn, and I love the little Mod-style pockets on the front. It was a total bargain at £5!

What do you think of it? And are you a fan of mustard yellow?

Anyway, although I'm a bit late to jump on the band-wagon, I've just joined twitter - you can find me here!

Sadie xxx

P.S. One of my friends has just started her own blog, Idle but Inspired - have a little look and leave her a comment :D

Wednesday, 5 January 2011

Heathcliff... it's me, Cathy!

Today, I planned to take some outfit shots in the crisp winter sunlight. Unfortunately, the weather did not obey my wishes, and instead presented me with the foggiest, bleakest day I think I've ever experienced!

However, I'm kind of grateful for the weather's choice, as I think it makes for an atmospheric backdrop for winter photos. The bleakness reminded me of the scenery described in Wuthering Heights, a novel that once was the bane of my life back in GCSE years. I ended up with Kate Bush's song stuck on loop in my head, and also out loud... until I realised how much I sounded like a squawky parrot - poor boyfriend.

Anyway, the point of this post is to show off my new blouse, courtesy of Cancer Research's vintage section in my local branch. They have a lovely corner dedicated to everything retro, all hanging on pretty wooden hangers and with a backdrop of 70s fabric. There is an amazing 60s cape and matching skirt in there at the moment! When I saw this burgundy houndstooth blouse hanging there, with a pretty bow neck tie, and even prettier price tag stating '£6' I just had to snap it up.

I paired it with my homemade burgundy coat (remember?), my H&M black skirt, Clark's heeled loafers, and a grey beret that I borrowed from my sister. I felt like a 60s version of Catherine Earnshaw, which can only be a good thing.

Thankyou to my photographer for being patient and for venturing out into the gloom to take these photos :).

Sadie xxx