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These three words are commonly used when describing Vermonters. Though not a native to Vermont, I have found that over the past 26 years of living here, I too have developed these characteristics. I am not sure why we have become this way. Perhaps it is because we have limited retail stores for buying new or because the distance to travel to a store to purchase something is far too great. Maybe the long cold winters and rural living require that you be self sufficient and thrifty, or maybe it is our desire to be good stewards of our land and leave as little behind as possible. Whatever the reason, most people who have lived in Vermont long find that they too acquire these same traits.

As the youngest of five children, I am all too familiar with hand-me-downs and the concept of buying used. At a young age, I learned how to sew. I spent my high school years sewing my own clothes. At that time, you could actually make a dress for less money than to buy it new. As a young adult just leaving college, I furnished my small one room apartment with furniture from my mother’s basement.  I made my own curtains and bed coverings using sheets and fabric from the store. As I began teaching in the public school, I again relied upon my yard sale purchases to add the comforts of home to my classroom. So I suppose I was well on my way to becoming a Vermonter long before I ever arrived here.

Flea Market Treasure

Every July, the town just down the road has a huge flea market. I love to go and see what treasures I can find. I have found “new” used pitch forks, hooked rugs, pots, blenders, wood working tools, dye pots, and glassware. A few years ago, I was pleased to find a chair in need of some attention. I purchased it for practically nothing and thought one day I may recover it. I had borrowed, on several occasions, a book from the library on how to make slip covers. I have poured through its pages numerous times. My daughters had adopted the chair and kept it in their room with quilts thrown over it. I finally decided it was time to make a slipcover since we have just repainted their bedroom.

Material Gathered
Cutting fabric pieces.

I went back to the library and found my trusty slipcover book. Then, I went shopping online to find some fabric, trying not to let the price tag frighten me. On Friday, I had three hours to myself in my fiber studio to begin my project. The sheep slept in the paddock just outside the studio windows so I could enjoy them while I worked. A friend loaned a DVD to me on how to make slipcovers as well. Between the book and DVD, I figured out the basic idea of what I needed to do to make my slip cover. Here goes:

The most stressful moment was cutting into my very expensive fabric! I measured the front, back, and seat of the chair and basically cut squares of fabric to the right size. Then, I pinned the pieces directly on the chair cutting around the edges so that it fit the contour of the chair. I pinned along what would be my sewing line. Then, I removed the fabric from the chair. I now had to mark my sewing line with an ink pen so I could re-pin it, right sides together. I then made cording to go around the back seam and pinned that in place. Now, I was ready to sew it all together on the sewing machine.

Turning fabric inside out.
Pinning fabric to chair

My trusty Bernina sewing machine had no trouble with this project!

I decided to put a ruffle around the bottom of the slip cover. I made the ruffle and attached that to the bottom edge of the slipcover with cording. My only mistake was that I forgot to make an opening in the back in order to slip the cover on and off the chair. All was not lost as I simply made a flap with velcro closure to allow the back to be opened wide enough to slip it over the chair. I will add fabric covered buttons to the flap as a decorative feature. After about 6 hours of working between Friday and Saturday, I finished my first slip cover and my flea market chair slipped into something much more attractive! Ok…….now what chair can I cover??
Back with velcro flap.
Finished slip cover

Ruffle along bottom edge

3 Responses

  1. Rogata Owca

    Beautiful work! Greetings

  2. Jennifer King

    I’m so inspired Kim!, this came out great! Does Anna love it? I’m going to start looking for fabric for my chair. How much yardage did you buy for this chair? I too love your VT flea markets and use the pitch forks I bought last summer every day.

  3. Jody

    I love your beautiful choice in fabric 🙂 That chair looks quite elegant now.
    What an amazing studio/craft room you have…more pics please. The plank wood flooring is lovely.