Wednesday, 17 February 2016

From dining chair to play cooker...

The idea for my daughters third birthday present came in the form of a Facebook share from a friend who had spotted a kitchen chair cover on "the artful parent" Facebook page. It was a link to a German product. I used the picture to design my own as I could not find a pattern and I wanted it to fit my chairs. We don't really have space for a full kitchen play-set but my daughter was playing with her pans more and more so it seemed like the perfect idea. I have outlined the way I went about making it, it is very dependent on the chairs you have so I have not provided measurements and the number and position of pockets is optional as is the opening of the oven and the way you finish it off. It is such an easy project to personalise and there is nothing too complicated in terms of sewing as long as you measure well take your time.

Step One : Measurements, cutting and fabric.

I measured the seat of my chair A-B, B-D, D-C, C-A, I measured from the seat to the top of the back rest A-E, E-F, F-B, B-A, from the top of the backrest to the floor E-F,F-H, H-G, G-E. I then added up the measurements from the front of the seat A-C+ C-D + D-B to get the width for the bottom of the chair below the seat and measured  B-J for the length.. I added 2cm onto all of the measurements for seam allowance. I cut all of the pieces out of calico. Calico is a really good fabric to use for this sort of thing as it is hard wearing and versatile and also not very expensive.

My little girl has always liked ladybirds so I decided to use ladybird fabric and ladybird print fabric to add on the contrasting details. I wanted it to be bright and fun and vibrant. I used some spare red fabric as well. Pocket one is measured A-B with double the height I needed it to be and pocket two was designed as a strip that goes part way across again double the height I wanted it. Pockets three and four are the length of A-C/B-D and twice the height I  wanted them to be when finished. I cut 4 circles out black fleece, fleece is fantastic as it is inexpensive and wont fray. To get the right size I used card circles of different sizes until the spacing looked correct. Tea plates/saucers would work instead of card.

Pattern plan for cooker chair cover, red is for the contrast fabric.

With all of my pieces cut out I set about putting it together.

Cooker chair cover
Step Two: Contrast pockets: 

I folded pocket one right sides together along the horizontal edge, I then stitched the two vertical sides together and turned the right way round. I top stitched the folded edge. I then pinned it to the base of the seat back (A-B). I decided to divide it into two pockets - I marked these out and stitched them in. I then stitched the edges on. I left the bottom with a raw edge. I then folded pocket two along the horizontal edge with the right sides together and sewed one long and one short edge to make a tube, I turned the tube and folded the raw edges in hand sewing the gap closed. I chose to divide the pockets into 6 so that her utensil handles would fit into them. I then made pockets three and four, again I folded on the horizontal with right sides together and stitched the short seams. I positioned them on the bottom of the chair section lined up with I on one side and J on the other. I decided to divide these into 3 pockets for general storage and play.

Step Three: Hobs and oven:

Cooker chair cover with open oven door.
I pinned the fleece hobs onto the seat piece making sure that I had left plenty of space around the edge to join the pieces together and for the buttons. The next step is to make the oven - my dining chars have legs and space under the chair so I made a oven door that opens so she could put things in the space below. If you have a solid chair this would be pointless and you could just stitch the door on without cutting a hole. I cut two "oven door" squares and attached a strip of Velcro to the right side of one piece. I then stitched the two pieces right sides together leaving a small turning gap. I turned it the right way round and ladder stitched the gap closed. I decided to make the door out of plain red fabric as I did not have enough ladybird although it looks intentional. I edged it with black bias binding to give it a good contrast. I then cut out a square 4 cm smaller than the "oven door". I trimmed the hole with red bias binding and attached the opposite strip of Velcro above the hole. I stuck the Velcro together and pinned the sides in place, I then stitched the base of the door on over the bias binding using a small strong zig zag.

Step Four: Construction:

 I started by pinning A - B on the seat to A - B on the seat back with right sides together. I then stitched this seam making sure the raw edges of the pockets were trapped between the pieces. I  pinned E-F and F-E  right sides together and stitched this seam. I then pinned the bottom of the chair onto the seat with right sides together matching A to A right round to B. This is the trickiest part I found and take time to get the curve correct. I then stitched along and the cooker was constructed. I put it on the chair at this point to make sure I was happy with the fit, seam adjustments or trimming the edges could still be done here.

Step Five: Edging:

In the original picture there appeared to just be an over-locked seam. I decided to use bias binding, I have loved using bias binding since the skipping skirts and I felt it gave the opportunity to add another level of co-ordination. I ironed the bias binding in half and pinned it to the edges and then top stitched it. The amount of bias binding is a lot and will depend on your chair. If you want to calculate it then it will be J-B + B-F + E-G + G-H + H-F + E-A + A-I + I-J or simply measure round it with a tape measure. I added 4 large black buttons with red thread for the cooker knobs. I placed these on the seat in front of the hobs but they could easily go on the front just above the oven. I then added two ties made out of cotton ribbon on each side at position A and B and then in line with the top of pocket one. If you didn't want it to tie on then you could sew the back panel to the front panel and B-J and A-I of the bottom section. This would mean just hemming or adding biased binding round G-H-I-J. I decided to tie mine as it will just on other chairs just not quite as well.  After checking the oven door worked and it fit well I had one last look over the top stitching and I was happy it was done.

It really is convenient and fun, she has had many hours playing with it and I am really pleased with how the fabrics worked together. It has a lot of scope for adaptation with different colours or pocket arrangements and could work on most chairs.

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