But even in the dregs of winter, there is still work that can be done to move things along.
Do you remember these chairs? The bright red tabouret chairs I bought after Thanksgiving? I know I told you they'd end up outside, but things move slowly sometimes around here, and so they're still inside.
They will go outside. Eventually.
But, the instructions that came with the chairs very clearly stated that they are not intended for outdoor use.
Ha. We'll see about that.
We live at high elevation (around 6500 feet, I think) and the sun here is intense. To keep it from fading the bright red paint on our chairs, I decided I should make some slipcovers to protect them.
Luckily, these chairs stack easily, as many as four high. I've got eight chairs so I only need two covers to protect them. The chairs won't be covered all the time, but probably from November through April all eight of them will wear their covers, and during the summer I imagine that at least four of them will be covered most of the time since we won't be hosting parties every night of the week.
At least that's not the plan.
To keep the chairs covered, I headed to Lowe's and bought a 12ft x 9ft canvas drop cloth. It was bigger than I needed, but it was a better value than the small drop cloths. I know I'll use the leftover fabric to make covers for the backyard furniture I'll be building (like maybe a table to go with these chairs?) but using a cloth this big was a bit unwieldy. I think next time I'll sacrifice a few bucks and buy a couple of smaller cloths.
Also, I bought the heaviest cloth (10oz) in order to get the best protection from the elements.
Would a fabric made for outdoor use probably hold up longer? Like Sunbrella fabric, with UV protection built in? Yeah, probably. But have you looked at the prices on it?
The drop cloth I bought cost about $27. For that much Sunbrella fabric I'd probably have spent a good $100. So drop cloth it was.
The first thing I did was wash the drop cloth in hot water to maximize shrinkage. Once it was good and dry, I draped it over my stack of chairs and started pinning.
It took a bit of trial and error to get the pinning right. That might be because my only experience with slipcovers comes from watching Trading Spaces (faithfully) about ten years ago. But I think all that time I put in with Hildy and Laurie and Paige must have paid off, because for a first try these covers actually came out okay.
Meaning, they fit. And probably won't blow away when the wind kicks up. I'll count that as success.
I pinned the sides first using the factory edges of the drop cloths, then I pinned the tops. Once I was happy with the shape, I trimmed off the excess and then sewed up the seams. After that, I put the slipcovers on inside out and folded up the hem.
I pressed the crease for the hem before trimming off the excess fabric and turning the hem under (this is how my mom taught me to hem curtains and it works like a charm). I actually only had to hem the back of the cover -- when I pinned it all together, I used the factory hem for the front, making sure it was parallel (or almost parallel) to the floor as I pinned.
Once the hem was stitched, I pressed out a couple of seams. (Not all of them because, really? It's going to sit outside in the snow.) Then I flipped the cover right side out, and tried it on the chairs.
Much to my surprise, it fit! Those of you who follow me on Facebook already know this, though...I couldn't help but post a status update about rocking my first slipcover. I'm not even sure you can call it a slipcover, actually.
This stack of chairs is now sitting out on our new (unusable because it's too dang cold) patio. I'm so looking forward to
psst...for more about our backyard redo, check out these posts.