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DIY: Button-Backed Chair

My grandmother, who's always had a great waste-not-want-not philosophy, has jars upon jars of buttons. When I was a little girl I used to spend hours going through all of the cool, decade-spanning buttons she'd collected, trying to think of a good use for them. And now, thanks to iVillage, I've found an awesome use for them. (Grandma? Are you reading? Need a project?)

I'm liking the funky vibe that the DIY element adds to this prim and proper chair. This project is from the book Simple Sewing with a French Twist: An Illustrated Guide to Sewing Clothes and Home Accessories with Style, by Celine Dupuy. As long as you can sew a button on a shirt, you can complete this project.

What You'll Need

  • Medallion chair
  • 1 rectangle thick cotton fabric, 16 by 15 inches (40 by 38 cm)
  • 1 rectangle thick iron-on interfacing, 16 by 15 inches (40 by 38 cm)
  • 3 sheets paper, 11 by 17 inches
  • Scotch tape
  • Lots of buttons
  • Pencil
  • Dressmaking scissors
  • Tailor's chalk
  • Fine sewing needle
  • Tape measure or ruler
  • Spray textile adhesive
  • 3 spools thread

For step-by-step instructions and a link to a slideshow,

First of all, if you're having any trouble following these directions, I suggest skipping directly to the slideshow on iVillage. But if you're crafting-savvy, just read on.

How to Make It

  1. Join the sheets of paper together with Scotch tape. Position against the oval of the chair back and draw the outline to make a pattern. Cut out the oval of the pattern, draw the outline onto the iron-on interfacing, and cut out.
  2. Press the oval of iron-on interfacing onto the thick cotton fabric using a hot iron. Let cool and then cut out the fabric, leaving a seam allowance of 1 1/4 inches (3 cm) around the iron-on oval (top illustration). Cut V-shaped notches around the edge of the fabric, press, fold down, and stick the notches to the iron-on interfacing with textile adhesive.
  3. Cover the front of the oval with different-sized buttons, overlapping them slightly and stitching by hand with double pearlized thread . Then, stick the oval to the chair back with spray adhesive
  4. Take a well-deserved sitdown on your lovely new chair!
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