Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Project: Highchair


I called in to work yesterday because our road wasn’t plowed sufficiently (only one lane was plowed, and there was six inches on the rest of it, over a layer of ice). So Max and I had a snow day! He played, and slept, and ate, and I did chores and put beets in the crock pot for baby food, and I worked on a project in between all of that.

I recently acquired a few items from my local FreeCycle – an exersaucer, a highchair, a baby swing (3 speed!), and a bouncy seat. I really only wanted the exersaucer as I have the rest, but it was a take-it-all deal. I asked around and found out a friend of a friend is expecting her first baby and would like the rest. Woo!

I picked it up and, well, it was a little grungy. Not overtly dirty – more of the been through four kids worth of wear and then in storage for ten years kind of ick. Everything got a good cleaning (I even used a toothbrush), but the highchair needed a full reupholster. I was hoping to just make a few slipcovers - which I did as well - but after removing the patch job on the seat I decided a slipcover wasn’t going to cut it.

Once I removed a few screws the back came off (the seat just lifted out), and I set to work. I used the same tan vinyl that I had recovered my dining room chairs with, nice and sturdy.

The seat has a hard backing and I just wrapped it like a present using a staple gun to secure everything on the bottom. Nice and tidy, and the staples don’t show.

The back was a lot harder. Since almost all of it can be seen, it had to look pretty. First I traced the outline onto the fabric, leaving 1/2-3/4 of an inch of seam allowance, cut it out, and set that piece to the side.

I stretched a large square of fabric around the front, securing it on the back first with pins, then hand sewing with heavy thread. (see photo) I had to snip some V’s in the bend so it would stretch correctly.

Then I took the previously cut out piece, tucked the edges under, and pinned it to the back. It looks a lot like a mushroom.

Using crochet thread (like you use to tie quilts) I sewed the backing to the front in an X pattern.

The back took a few hours with all of the hand sewing, but it was worth it. It was so worth it that I’m keeping the “new” highchair and giving our current one away (also a FreeCycle find). After that much elbow grease I feel a certain attachment to this highchair. It also helps that it matches our dining set.


By the by, my son loves his exersaucer. It’s by far his favorite thing besides food.

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