Swedish interiors are famed for delicate, layered, neutral color palettes. “Swedish country color palette” make me think of soft, natural color palettes incorporating wood, white walls, bright but light colors. These seem to be the province of Scandinavian interior design.
Carl Larsson painted hundreds of pictures of his beautiful Scandinavian home, painted and decorated by himself and his wife, Karin, who was also a gifted artist and artisan. I think Larsson’s paintings of his Swedish country home are a trove of inspiration for Swedish interior design, Swedish country interiors, Scandinavian decor, farmhouse style, painted furniture, Gustavian furniture, Scandinavian furniture, Swedish style and design.
If you love Swedish Country style, Karin Larsson is an interior designer you want to follow! And happily, her husband Carl left us a gorgeous record of her creativity.
Please enjoy the video I made for you about creating a Swedish Country paint color palette from a gorgeous piece of classic art.
If you prefer to read, I’ve posted the transcript right after the video.
Hi, this is Kathleen from oldworldfarmhouse.com and today I wanted to take a Carl Larsson painting and pull out a beautiful Swedish Country color palette based on the colors in the painting. In Farrow and Ball paints and also in Sherwin-Williams. So here it is. I hope you enjoy.
So we’ve got this beautiful painting, At home in Solsidan, by Carl Larsson. It’s a painting of his home and it’s got a beautiful color palette. I pulled out a white and a gray and a red and a blue and a green.
Sherwin-Williams Swedish Country Color Palette
In Sherwin-Williams, I matched the colors to the following. I’ve linked each color here for easy reference.
Gold painted picture frames add beauty for pennies. Chalk paint, spray paint, acrylic paint, latex paint, craft paint, even milk paint or genuine gold leaf can work beautifully over inexpensive frames from the dollar store, Walmart, yard sales, or Goodwill. I love to paint picture frames because it’s a quick and easy way to add interest to a room. Painting an old frame is a perfect way to start that gallery wall you’ve been dreaming of. Start with one painted frame and add on as you find more, or go out to your thrift store or dollar store and buy all the frames you want to fill up a wall, and paint them all at once. If you’re lucky, you might find some charming antique frames and thrift stores or yard sales. If you’re not so lucky, metallic paint can do a great job. Paint will stick to an old wooden frame easily. It will work great over metal frames, too. But don’t pass up plastic frames. Paint can turn blah plastic into a beautiful frame.
I wanted some gold painted frames for my new cozy English style library. I had some old artwork in the form of posters, but posters were not going to fit my home décor vision.
Here is the video I made for you about turning cheap plastic frames into gold. If you prefer to read, I put the transcript right after the video down below. I added a supply list, too, for easy reference.
For this decor project, you will need:
For this decor project, you will need: A picture frame. Or picture frames. I used these from Walmart:
I wanted this room to look like that picture of Calke Abbey, this one here where there’s these big beautiful oil paintings and gorgeous antique gold frames. Only problem is, I don’t have big oil paintings and I don’t have gold painted frames. So what to do? Can I turn these super cheap frames from Walmart into something that will look like a million bucks in my new English country house library?
Hey, this is Kathleen from oldworldfarmhouse.com and today I am going to try to make the cheapest frames I could find at Walmart into something that looks like a beautiful, aged gold frame for my new library. So let’s get started.
Prepping the frames for gold paint
These are a little different from other frames you you you work these corners until the glass pops out. Okay yeah, okay perfect, so yeah you just you go around each corner and you just kind of push and then your glass comes out.
And it’s got a little cardboard back. I’m going to paint over my little uh, glass front frame. I’m gonna get the edge and then actually I am also gonna paint the side. When you are painting these kind of frames make sure that you paint on that edge and then also on the inside because just a little bit of this inside vertical side does show when you put your picture and glass in. I found that out the hard way by putting in my picture and glass and seeing that there was a little black line, so I had to take it all out – and it was a big mess – and go back over it.
Oka,y my 20 by 30 frame. I already went ahead and put the poster in there that I wanted in there because the plastic doesn’t seem to detach from the black frame. And I just didn’t want to, I tried to pop it out and it didn’t seem to want to go, and I didn’t want to run the risk of cracking it. And if I get any paint splatters I’ll just, you know, scrape them off. Or wipe them off with a bit of paper towel.
I am going to take a little sanding block and just kind of go over this super shiny plastic because i think that might help it grip a little better.
Basecoat is essential for metallic paint
So the first thing I’m doing is painting the base coat driftwood semi-gloss, which is what you’re supposed to paint as the base coat to the Valspar Brilliant Metals Aged Brass. And it’s going okay on this super shiny plastic. It’s – it’s covering about as well as I would expect. Okay, so here is the frame after two coats of the Driftwood color base coat. It has stuck to the plastic pretty well. You can still see some of the black plastic frame shining through, but it’s nothing that I’m worried enough about to go over it a third time. Pretty – it was easy – I didn’t get any drips on my plastic, I mean my glass. I just used this, I think it’s a two inch Purdy angled brush, and I was able to stay on that edge and avoid getting on the plastic altogether, which is nice, but i had a rag here just in case. This is how it looks after one coat of the driftwood base coat. It sticks better to this plastic because it’s not as shiny as that other plastic and I don’t – I’m not even going to go over it a second time. This will be good enough. I’m trying to use just the corner of my brush so i don’t get the plastic. The laziest picture frame painting, just wanted to do a quick project. But no, seriously I think on these poster frames the plastic’s not even meant to pop out, you know, they’re just, they’re very, very inexpensive. This one was six or seven dollars.
Gold Painted Frames
And here are the finished products. Here’s the fatter frame with the – that was that shiny plastic and now it’s gold, not too shabby.
Of course it’s the same paint as I used up there on the trim, and again here’s the two Bruegel posters with their faux metal frames. The narrow little gold around the edge. I think they look pretty good.
My son and I were inspired to paint this “Paris café” bed to be like these beautiful chairs and tables at this Paris café. Enjoy the video. If you prefer to read, the transcript follows below.
I call this the Paris café bed because I got the idea for the colors from this beautiful picture of a café – outdoor café somewhere in Paris.
This was a bed frame that we got for free and my son saw it and he said, “I want that bed:” because he’s on the top bunk and he’s tired of being on the top bunk. So I said, well okay, why don’t we paint it? because it was pretty ugly and he loves red.
So he said he wanted to paint it red and I had some odds and ends left over of red paint, so we just got that out.
Now if you don’t want to get a headache running around after all those paints and you just want to go to Sherwin-Williams, I color matched them to I would say Sherwin-Williams Gladiola for the orangey red and Sherwin-Williams Antique Red for that darker red trim. And then of course the Valspar Brilliant Metals Aged Brass stays the same.
If you wanted to do this with Annie Sloan paint I would say Emperor’s Silk would be great for the brighter main red and then Primer Red for that darker red trim would be what I would recommend. So here it is, the Paris café bed. And my son, who’s something of a Francophile, is loving it.
If you like this video, please consider giving me a thumbs up down below. Thank you so much for watching. I can’t wait to make more videos about French, Swedish, and English country styles. Bye.
I usually think of Paris as a warm gray but I love the idea of it being a patinated oxide oxidized copper um like some of the roofs or the metro sign or the fancy fountains in Paris and the name of the paint actually gave me the whole inspiration for the project and I love the idea.
Hey this is Kathleen from oldworldfarmhouse.com and today I am cleaning off some furniture that I got off Facebook Marketplace. So I’m mixing four tablespoons into two gallons of warm water. I got these two dressers and nightstand and a bed facebook marketplace for free and they are – they need – they got a really rough paint job with a lot of drips that need to be sanded off and they also kind of smell like maybe mouse pee. So the first step is just for me to take my Dirtex solution, it’s this pale yellow, the more Dirrtex you put in the darker it gets. This is the concentration, four tablespoons to two gallons of water, for furniture. I think it should be fine and I’m just going to wipe it down, all over inside and out. What this stuff is on here, something really gross, yes definitely some kind of animal pee, but the Dirtex should take care of it. Um, Dirtex is a little different from TSP and that they say explicitly on the box you do not have to rinse, whereas with TSP you’re always having to do a rinse. But um, I might go over this twice, because it’s pretty gross. Okay, while I’m out here I’m also going to take off all the hardware with a screwdriver.
Okay, so now we are standing the rough paint. There’s a very rough paint job with lots of marks right here with 60 grit paper. Okay we finally got these pieces cleaned up and we are ready to start painting. We are using Sherwin-Williams Parisian Patina and I’m probably going to do some accents in Lounge Green.
I’ve got one of my favorite helpers here, my daughter stirring the paint, and I’m just testing out from the lid with my Purdy trim brush, which is pretty much my favorite thing to paint with, and we’re gonna just get started painting upside down. I have painted this whole piece in Parisian Patina and now I am adding highlights with Lounge Green to give it that look like copper gets on a building where it’s oxidized all over green, and then in some areas it’s, you know, just a little greener like where it sticks out, like it’s elbows or something. So I have the – the barest minimum amount of paint on this brush like it’s – it’s so dry that I couldn’t possibly get it any drier and here’s my ridge and I’m just gonna – just the – the tiniest suggestion of more oxidation on the corners, even though I realize it’s obviously wood, so it’s ridiculous, the wood wouldn’t be oxidized, but the overall effect will be – will be cool, you’ll see. So yeah, it’s the teeniest bit of dry brushing, brush, brush.
Let’s see here I had to load up my brush again, and it wasn’t quite as optimally dry so I’ll probably just go and touch that up with my other brush to cover it maybe when it’s dry.
I really don’t want anything but the barest hint.
Today I am going to be waxing my pieces with Minwax Paste Finishing Wax in Natural. Waxwell brush, trusty brush, and I’m just rubbing this on. I – the paints I chose were very, uh, one of them is called Flat that’s the Captivate Parisian Patina in their Captivate which is their kind of, their budget paint line, and I got that in a flat, and then Lounge Green, which is this lighter green color here, is in the Emerald Matte paint so it’s very matte, and i think that rubbing it with the wax is going to give it a nice, that nice, you know, hand rubbed look. So again I’m just pressing and pushing it into the paint. I want to do a very, very thin layer. The Minwax furniture wax, um, is a good budget alternative to the Annie Sloan clear wax. It might have a slight more bit of yellow to it but I don’t really care about that. I’ve never really, I don’t think it’s noticeable and it’s ten dollars for one pound versus I can’t remember how much you get in a tin of Annie Sloan, um, slightly less and it’s – it’s slightly more, so it’s a very good product. But uh, I am just as, you know, I – I love going into Sherwin-Williams and being able to pick out any color and getting that kind of inspiration and knowing that I’m paying so much less. I don’t have to wait for it to come in the mail because I don’t have a stockist near me for Annie Sloan, sadly. Um, so yeah that’s what we’re doing, and then here’s the top. My little girl was helping me and she has run off. So you can see there how it – it is slightly yellow but when you rub it on. I – this will be the final step. I think that I will only wax these pieces once. They’re not going to be getting a lot of hard wear. If I was being very responsible I might wax the top twice because we might set – inevitably set glasses and things like that on there. And I am waxing over these handles. I copper leafed them and I am waxing over them to seal them. That way the copper leaf is not going to patinate as it ages. It’s going to stay bright.
And today I’m going to show you how to copper leaf drawer handles. I am going to copper leaf all of these metal drawer handles for my new french dressers and the first step is to paint all of them with size. Now this one I got on Amazon. Speedball Metal Leaf. I have used this so far on eight or nine handles and four clawfoot tub feet in my bathtub, and I still have quite a bit left. I just got a little whatever cheapo brush. You dip it in your size and then you paint all over and it looks kind of white. Some of these are half done already because I was leafing them and I ran out of copper leaf so now I’m going back. But it looks white. It’s kind of hard to see, because these handles are white, but when you paint it on, it’ll look white and then you go away and you wait 30 minutes or 45 minutes or so until it is completely clear and when you come back and it’s clear, it will feel sticky and that’s the point when you start to attach your leaf. This is copper leaf. You can do gold, brass, silver, there’s all different colors. It has dried nice and clear and it’s time to put on the copper leaf. I bought this from Amazon. It was, I think, eight bucks. Um, it’s, they come in all different price points and all different, uh numbers. This is one of the smaller uh, sets of leaf, and it comes like this. There’s a leaf and then there’s a piece of tissue paper in between each each leaf like that so what you do is you just, and you place it, whatever it is you’re leafing, wanting to leaf. And then you take a brush, you can buy a special brush, you know, made for copper leafing, that’s what this is. It’s kind of nice because they’re soft and that’s what they’re meant for, but if you just want to use like a little kids paintbrush or anything that’s soft yes, like, oh, my daughter’s right here off screen. This is just like a Crayola crayon brush. This would work fine because all you’re gonna do with it is just push gently you just you’re pushing it on to the size and the excess leaf, you know, you just kind of brush away, you brush it off. It comes off,
And then you have your, and this is a little part I missed, so I’m going to, I’m going to take this little bit and lay it on there and just again take my brush and push and then whatever isn’t directly stuck to some size it just comes – it comes right off and you can brush it away and use it on another, uh thing or you know if it’s too small, discard.
And here is the finished product. I did two dressers exactly the same way with the Parisian Patina and Lounge Green highlights and the copper leafed handles, and one nightstand and I’m painting the bed a totally different color for my son. So I’m very pleased with how this turned out and I think it does have a Parisian patina.
After that initial coat, a great way to add dimension and interest to painted furniture is to subtly layer another color or two on top. But please, no sanding! It’s too much work. In this YouTube video, linked right below here, I’ll show you how to get that layered look, no sanding necessary.
If you don’t want to watch the video, the transcript follows right here below.
Hey this is Kathleen from the blog oldworldfarmhouse.com and we’re back with our Gustavian Swedish style table. So I have covered the whole thing in one coat of Annie Sloan chalk paint in Duck Egg Blue and now I’m going to go back over and dry brush in some highlights.
Using a paper plate as a palette
So I like to put my paint on a plate when I’m brushing on the highlights or if I want to mix colors. I’m going to brush on some highlights of Paris Grey into this Duck Egg Blue. And I’m going to do that for a couple reasons.
One is, one coat – come over here and I’ll show you – one coat doesn’t fully – fully cover. You can still use brush marks still where you could touch up, and instead of going over that again with another coat of Duck Egg Blue I’m going to take this opportunity and touch up or brush on highlights in Paris Grey to give it some more interest. But I also have a little Duck Egg Blue on my plate, and obviously my brush is full of Duck Egg Blue paint.
Dry brushing highlights and lowlights
And I’m – I’m just gonna blend them together on the plate and then kind of touch up my piece. and I am just, doing this um, just by instinct and just kind of what I want as far as what I would imagine I want it to be, a little shadowy or have a little highlight.
I learned this technique from this wonderful blogger who sadly doesn’t blog anymore, Leslie Stocker, um she still keeps her blog up though, I believe, and she taught me this.
Sanding technique for highlights and lowlights
Instead of – Annie Sloan recommends painting in two colors and then sanding back so that you see, um, the base color underneath the top coat and then maybe some of the wood if you like, as well, but the sanding is – is very time consuming and then of course you end up wasting your paint and then you sand the paint off and it’s kind of frustrating especially because her paint’s kind of expensive.
Leslie Stocker, her method is just to dry brush on highlights and just avoid sanding all together and I love that because it saves me time, saves me money, and I – I do think the effect is pretty much the same, having done both I – I really think the effect is the same. So I just wanted, I want to kind of highlight these rosettes because they’re interesting and then back here I missed some spots so the brown is poking through so I’m just gonna stipple with my brush, get some gray in there and I’m just gonna go around the whole piece with my plate and just use it as a palette and get some green in with the gray. So I don’t want it to be, you know, really blaringly obvious, “hey hey here’s a highlight!” But just, you know, just a little bit of subtle variation and change and that’s what I’m going to do around the whole piece.
This post contains affiliate links, which means I make a small commission at no extra cost to you.See my full disclosure.
The final step when using chalk paint is to seal your paint work with furniture wax. In this YouTube video linked right below here, I show you how to get a nice, thin coat that dries properly and will give your piece that irresistible hand-rubbed patina.
If you don’t want to watch the video, the transcript follows right here below.
Hey this is Kathleen again from oldworldfarmhouse.com and I’m going to show you how to seal your chalk painted furniture with a coat of clear wax.
Wax brush options
This is chalk paint wax in clear by Annie Sloan and I have a round wax brush from Waxwell that I’m using. I got years ago. If you do not have a round wax brush you can use an old rag um and that works fine. The wax brush just helps it go a little faster. I’ll link to some places to find wax brushes. Annie now makes her own wax brushes, which she didn’t back in the day when I got this one. You can also get them at Walmart. Waverly has some and other places.
Sources for wax brushes and wax* (*affiliate links)
Waxing, when I first started I tended to way over do the wax. The key to wax is thin coats and the bad news is, in my opinion two coats or three coats are better than one, and it’s bad news because it is a little tedious, but the brush helps it go fast and it seals your piece and it gives it a beautiful patina especially after you rub it and buff it when you’re done.
So I just barely touch my brush into the wax get some on there, and then just go and rub it in, kind of like I am rubbing hand lotion into my hands and you want it to absorb to that point. You don’t want it to be really greasy because if you lay it on real thick and you think, oh it’s just going to dry or something, uh-uh it doesn’t really work that way. You just want to put on the thinnest of coats and really work it into the paint with your brush.
How long to let it dry in between coats
Then you’re going to want to let it dry overnight at least, so we’re talking like, I would say 12 to 24 hours depending on the kind of weather and humidity where you are. 12 to 24 hours in between wax coats, and if you have the patience to put on two or three it’ll really go much better towards the sturdiness and durability of your paint job as well, as there is this – in my opinion – this ineffable charm that comes from the patina of a hand rubbed painted piece of furniture. So as you can see I’m just – I’m not being shy about really pushing it into the paint. And that is that!
This post contains affiliate links, which means I make a small commission at no extra cost to you.See my full disclosure.
Swedish Country Style Color Palette
If you love the Swedish Country / Gustavian style, one of the best ways to get it is to use typical Swedish paint colors on your furniture. In this video I give a little background on how the Gustavian style developed from the 18th century French Neoclassical Style King Gustav III of Sweden fell in love with at the court of King Louis XVI of France.
It’s pretty easy to find second hand furniture at thrift shops and yard sales with Neoclassical shapes like fluted legs that is just waiting for the right paint job to transform into Gustavian furniture . I’ll show you a Gustavian Swedish paint palette from Annie Sloan Chalk Paint to use to get the Gustavian / Swedish Country look with paint color by transforming an old, beat-up table into a cheerful, light-catching Swedish antique with ASCP Duck Egg Blue and Paris Grey. Other ASCP paint colors for a Gustavian/Swedish Country palette look include: Aubusson Blue, Svenska Blue, Swedish Pink, Old White, Pure, Original, Arles, Chicago Grey, Antibes, French Linen, and Chateau Grey.
Check out my YouTube video, linked right below here, for a brief history of the Gustavian Style and a guide for getting the look with chalk paint.
If you don’t want to watch the video, the transcript follows right here below.
Hey this is Kathleen from oldworldfarmhouse.com and today I’m going to show you how to get a Swedish Gustavian, Swedish Country, Scandi country look with chalk paint. So let’s get started.
What is the Swedish/Gustavian Look?
The Swedish look, if you’re not familiar with it, or the Gustavian Style, what does that mean exactly. So King Gustav III of Sweden, he was king in like seven, in the 1770s kind of when we were having a revolution here and he went over to France and visited Louis XVI over at Versailles and he just fell in love with that French neoclassical style and when he went back home he wanted the same kind of furniture and the same kind of look. But he didn’t have as much cash as the French so he didn’t gild everything the way they did.
Um, they ended up using a lot of paint and in Sweden, they used a lot of light colored paint because it’s so dark there for so much of the year that a lot of their interior decorating is is designed to catch as much light as possible. And um, so that was how they refined that French neoclassical style. Lighter colors, and more paint and less gilding, um some even cleaner and more paired back lines.
And also um when it got out into you know wider circulation in Sweden, not these fancy, uh fabrics as much as like, a simple check. And so, putting like a checked homespun fabric style, something like this, with um a gilded or painted chair sort of, it gives the Swedish country style or Gustavian style, uh, this high / low look which really fits so well with how we like to decorate today, how we live.
Get Furniture with the Right Shape
So I had this old set, it was actually my great-grandmother’s. The shape – if you can find furniture, old furniture that, you know, obviously this is really beat up. I do not want to refinish it. It’s got all kinds of water stains and marks, and the veneer is chipping in spots, but the shape is great. It’s got this neoclassical shape.
What does Neoclassical Style Mean?
They would make the legs like this to imitate, you know, the Grecian columns. What is the neoclassical style? The neoclassical style got started in France and then spread out. It was because they had discovered Pompeii and then other place in Italy, um, buried under that volcanic ash and so the world just went -people just went crazy, and they wanted to imitate everything that they saw, from furniture to fresco to you – just that look – the neo- the classical look, hence neoclassical style.
Annie Sloan Chalk Paint Colors for Swedish Country Style
Um today what I’m going to show you is duck egg blue. This is the color, it’s a green blue, exactly like a duck egg. This would have been a very typical color that they would have used, um in the Gustavian period. And then I’m also going to be adding some highlights with Annie’s Paris Grey. Right here, um, to this table, which is exactly how I did the chairs.
These are all of Annie’s colors and her other sort of Swedish colors would be Aubusson Blue right there, and Scandinavian pink, which is a great pink because it doesn’t have any of that baby pink in it. It’s a real earthy pink. Primer Red – no girly pink – Old Ochre, and then of course Pure, Original or Old White, maybe especially Old White. A lot of Scandinavian furniture is simply painted white. And she also has this new color which is close to Duck Egg but it’s bluer, whereas duck egg is greener, and that’s Svenska Blue.
How to paint with Chalk Paint
Alright the first thing I’m going to do is paint this entire table in a coat of duck egg blue and then I’m going to highlight, go over and brush on, dry brush some highlights with Paris Grey.
I’ve got here Waverly Inspirations chalk paint brush and I got it because I really want Annie Sloan’s oval brush, but I just don’t want to spend that much money. This is about half the cost and it works pretty well if you want to see brush marks in your paint work. I’ve got a big one and then I’ve got this smaller one as well. They’re both fine really. And then if you want a smoother finish, then I would use these Purdy brushes. This is a two and a half inch and this is a two inch and these are some of my favorites.
Purdy brushes are outstanding. They’re a little more expensive than the cheap brushes, but they give a really nice finish and I think I’m planning on using these for the legs because I want a very smooth look, so we’re going to get started with that.
Normally if I painted a chair or something I would turn the thing upside down. I just don’t want to turn this table upside down. It’s too big and heavy so I’m just going to paint it from the legs up. Just a little bit and I want to – I’m just going to cover the whole thing in a solid coat like so just brush it on. This paint has very good coverage. I don’t think it’s going to take more than a coat, especially since I’m going to go back and brush in some gray highlights.
This brush is really really great for getting into all of these carved areas and just making sure the paint gets in there nice into the rosette and into these channels.
Oval chalk paint brush vs. 2-in Brush
I want to show you the difference in how it’s going to look. This is the oval Waverly chalk paint brush and you can see I’m brushing it on and I’m just going to paint in every which direction and you can see that you get a lot of texture. With my two-inch Purdy brush, painting in all directions, it’s a little bit smoother, there’s not as much chunk to it, so it’s just going to be, I guess the word would be more refined.
I’ve linked some paint brushes here that I’ve found to be great tools for furniture painting (affiliate links).
If you find yourself starting to be obsessed with all things Scandinavian, go even farther toward the Gustavian Swedish Country Style by going to my tutorial for making some gingham slipcovers for your dining room chairs.
Make removable, washable, tie-on slipcovers for your dining room chairs, Swedish Country Style.
This post contains affiliate links, which means I make a small commission at no extra cost to you.See my full disclosure.
Below here is my video tutorial on making these very beginner-friendly slipcovers.
If you don’t want to watch the video, the transcript is right here below.
Hi this is Kathleen from oldworldfarmhouse.com and today I’m going to show you how to make one of these tie on slip covers for a Swedish style dining room chair, so let’s get started.
Why make chair covers
This is the finished product and I’m just gonna take it off. I made these so that I could have something after meals when my kids like to use these as napkins. They still use the chair cover as a napkin. I can just throw this in the washing machine and it’s as good as new.
Cutting the fabric – no pattern needed
So the first thing you’re going to want to do is cut your fabric and pin it and then sew it and that’s really all there is to it.
I have a piece of fabric here that I’m just going to lay on a chair. So if you have a fabric – this one is the same on both sides so it really doesn’t matter – if your fabric is only printed on one side put the – put that side face down to the chair so you’re looking at the inside out part when you’re pinning.
First thing I’m going to do is pull this material through the back because I want the back of the chair to have – I want there to be just a little plain skirt that ends just about here and so I – I know I’ve got enough back here to do that now and allow some for the hem. We’re gonna leave that there, go around the rest of the chair and kind of pat into place and make sure I have enough fabric everywhere I need it in order to pin.
Let’s see, the front, I’m going to actually pull a little bit more through the back because I think this is enough for it to just cover it up a little bit back it up to here and then I’ll have it so it just comes to the edge of the chair. You can make this as long or as short as you want to, of course. I just wanted mine to come just to the end of where the actual chair seat goes.
Cutting Around the Chair Back
Okay so it’s kind of in good shape there and then here is the part – get a little bit closer, there we go – this is the tricky part. Is to get it so it’s cut – it wraps around both of the – let me call these – I don’t know what this part of the chair is called, but, uh, poles, okay, yeah, we’ll call it a pole. You want to do that and there has to be just a little bit so that you can fold it over and make a hem, but it can’t really be a very generous hem because then it doesn’t lay right on the chair so this part you just kind of have – to just kind of have to work it a little bit.
And this is really the trickiest part. If you are using a check fabric it makes it much, much easier in a way because you can always, always know you’re cutting on a straight line, which is really nice. But I’m just going to go ahead and take a look and see. So some of the fabric has to go on this side and some of it has to go this side and it all has to lay flat and I also need to leave just a little bit that will wrap around here that I can fold back and hem so we don’t have a raw edge right there.
Use bias tape instead of hemming
Another option which I didn’t do but I – I saw after I had made these. Lisa from Farmhouse on Boone made a cover for a bench. She used bias tape for these little tricky areas to contain the raw edge. And I thought, oh that’s what I should have done.
Or make a very narrow hem
But I don’t have any bias tape at the moment and so I’m going to show you – I’m just going to do it the way I did it with all the other ones and it worked fine. They’ve been through the wash several dozens of times by now and the hem has not unraveled. Even though it is a little bit of a narrow hem. So here we go. I’m going to make a cut I think right here. I’m just going to take my scissors and I’m not going to worry once I know where I can just keep following that line. Of course if you don’t have, you know, fabric with the handy-dandy lines then just do your best to eyeball it.
My kids have lost interest and have left the room. Okay I’m gonna push that through and see, okay, how am I doing I can cut a little more but I want to keep in mind that I need my hem and just, you want to just get it so it’s laying nicely and doesn’t have any, you know so it’s laying the way you want it to lay when you’re finished.
Okay so that’s – that’s you know that’s pretty good. I’m gonna fold, I’m gonna fold back my hem right now the way I want it to be.
Just kind of work that with my fingers and I might do just another millimeter. Like I said had I even been aware that you could do this with bias tape I probably would have done that from the get-go.
Because then I think you could just make the cut and not even worry about it. But here, okay so I’ve got that side cut that’s okay. So now I’m going to do this side of the chair and again I’m just going to kind of figure out. I need some of the fabric to go on this side of this little pole and some of it to go on the other side and I think a good place to cut is here. And I’m just, I am eyeballing it and I’m going to push it through and I’m going to keep going. I need a little more to make it lay the way I want. I’ve got quite a bit of fabric here. I’m going to cut like another check down, maybe one more.
Push that through, yeah that’s pretty good, that’s laying pretty much how I want it to lay and then I have just the teeniest, I should have got plenty for a hem which means I need to cut more because the thing about it is, it just doesn’t really lay right unless you’ve got quite a bit of it going one way and then the other. But like I said, bias tape might be a really good option. I have to try that on another project and see. On this side I’ve got it laying pretty good and then here it’s still a little bunchy so I’m gonna – I’m gonna cut just a tad more and see what that does for me.
Okay come to the back and see. All right, okay so I got that and now I’m gonna cut again I just, I want it to just end real simple here at the end of the chair. But I need to make a nice hem which – a nice hem could either be two rows or maybe three rows of these because I’m gonna fold over twice so I’m gonna go ahead and cut my fabric. I like this very simple, sort of modest no-frills chair cover look.
I got the idea from pictures of Lars Sjoberg’s home in Sweden. He had some chair covers like this in a picture of his dining room that I saw and I just loved how they, you know, they just – weren’t just – kind of just – no frills. Literally no ruffles, and I liked that look, and it makes them – so okay, so there we go, I’ve got that pretty much cut. I’ve got enough and now I’m gonna pin this fabric for my hem. Now I’ve got a big piece here and I’m gonna – I don’t need all of that so I’m gonna, again I’m gonna go about three squares out and then, um, you know this part here, where we cut around the poles it is, like I said, it’s tricky and if you do it with bias tape it might be better. I’m not doing it, I’m just going to sew a very, very narrow hem, like I was saying, but um, when when you put the ties on the back that will hide a multitude of sins as well. So when we get into talking about that I’ll show you how that works, but for now I’m just, so I’m gonna pin this here, I’m gonna fold it once and then I’m gonna fold it twice and that way the raw edge is really in there and I’m just gonna pin it into place and then once I have the entire thing hemmed and pinned then.
Hemming the Sides
Okay so then I’m going to hem up the side and I just roll it once and then twice and again with the check fabric it’s very easy to keep a straight line on your hem because you just follow the line of the check.
I highly recommend using these kind of pins with the big plastic bulb on the end because then it’s easy to see them when you go to take them out.
Pinning the Darts
Okay so that’s that and then we get to the other tricky parts of the chair cover, which is the corner. You get to the corner here and you get – you have all this extra fabric.
All right, go ahead to the corner edge of the chair, and this part is a little tricky.
You’re going to want to put a dart in here to accommodate this corner so you don’t have all this extra fabric. So what you want to do is, you know, put a pin here and then when you go to sew, mark it with chalk so you know where the end of your dart line is. I had no idea how to sew a dart before this project. I had to look up a couple YouTube videos and it it makes no sense to me like how it works, but I just followed the directions and on blind faith and it – and it did turn out. So but I’ll show you how to do it, for now I’m just gonna pin it. This is where we want our dart and I might draw the lines a little bit. We’ll do more of this upstairs when I get to sew. So we want to pin the dart there.
Pinning the front and side hems
And then we’re going to come around the front and pin up our front hem. Again, we have figure out how long you want it. You know you could have it, oh, you know, all the way here. I like mine – I like mine to be all the way up here, because I want this little decorative element of the chair to show, so I’m going to cut, I’m going to make, I’m going to cut here so I have a nice -okay I’ve got enough for my hem. Before I pin up that hem I’m gonna go ahead and cut the rest of this fabric over here because it’s getting in the way.
So here we are at the side of the chair and again I’m just gonna say, okay I want it to go to here, give myself a nice one-and-a-half to two inch extra fabric to pull in for a hem so that none of the raw edges are showing and I have a nice sturdy hem that will withstand lots of washings.
I wash these after every meal pretty much, but it’s better than living with dirty chairs that are an embarrassment when you have company come over. And then this this piece here I’m also gonna cut to allow for a nice hem.
All these extra pieces of fabric I might turn into napkins, who knows who knows, who knows. Okay, so then again we’re just going to take this and we’re going to do a another fold, another fold for a nice hem.
Pin it with my plastic-tipped pins so I can always see them and don’t accidentally run them through the sewing machine. Then I want this side to be folded up once and fold it to just here and pin it and pin.
Why checked (gingham) fabric is so great
And again, once you’ve got it started with a check fabric it’s very easy to make sure that you’re still going in a straight line, but you can do this with any fabric at all. I love these checked fabrics because they – they just give that Swedish look that I’m currently obsessed with. If you look at any kind of Swedish traditional décor they use a lot of checked fabrics and a really fun thing that they did back in the 1700s, late 1700s when they had their Gustavian style, which was like a riff on French neoclassical style.
They didn’t – they weren’t as cash uh heavy, cash rich over there in Sweden so you’d see they would have um these -they would paint their chairs in these light colors and then often the seats instead of being a fancy brocade or something, they would put on this checked fabric and then you have this like high / low juxtaposition that I just love and just works really well for today when we when we all, well, like things more casual and unfussy unstudied and unfancy. But it gives this, like sort of a little gilding and then like a plain homespun style check seat it’s – it’s just – I just love that look. And as that Gustavian style filtered down to the countryside and less out of – out of the court you see that. And if you see, if you look at pictures where you see simpler fabrics but with these quite neoclassical shapes and maybe even, you know, painted gilding, not real gilding but painted. Okay, so here’s my other dart and that’s our history class for today.
Making the second dart
And I’m going to make a chalk line, which I might have to redo, but I’m just going to mark it up here so these are – I think they’re called the legs of the dart and then, you know how to sew there just so we don’t lose it. Okay and then now we’re gonna turn around and do this front hem which because of our dart stuff is also a little tricky.
So I’m just going to take this whole thing and I’m gonna again fold up and up and I’m gonna pin and then I’m gonna deal with this extra fabric in a minute on the corner here after I’ve pinned my hem.
Alright so the last thing we’re going to do is deal with all of this business. I guess we just cut it off though, yeah, we’re gonna cut a little bit of that because we really don’t need that extra fabric and then we’re gonna, again, just make a hem.
You can pin, okay and then again I’m just gonna – I’m gonna cut off this scraggly pointy tail and I’m gonna pin that one so I know that’s what I want it to be.
Pinning on the ties
Now it’s right side out so you can see how it’s going to look.
I’m pretty pleased with it. So now I’ve got this right side out and I can figure out, I want my um, my tie I want it to come out like this. Okay, so I’m going to put it there and pin.
Okay, and then I don’t really like long ties and I don’t really like bows that much I just kind of want a nice little square knot. if you want a big bow, whatever, totally up to you, but I’m just gonna eyeball it here and cut down to the end of the chair.
And then I’m gonna take the rest of it and I’m gonna take my pin and I want this one to come out from here so I’m gonna, you know, pin it up like so.
And is that is it how I want it to lie, yes it is, and then I can just kind of figure out. Nothing too long, just pin the – pin on the other side of the chair. And then you see how that just lays really nice and comes out like so and like so.
Ironing the hems
Okay so the next step is to iron our pinned hems. I’m actually going to take out the pins as I steam iron them flat because that makes it much easier. When you go to sew you don’t have to remember to take out the pins. I’m sure that if you’re more experienced sewer maybe you wouldn’t have to.
I’m gonna press the dart which is the real pesky part of this project. Oh what is the dart?
This corner area so I’m – I’m going to – I’ve got my little chalk line I’m actually going to leave my pin – my pin there in case the chalk fades but I – I am going to press that so that I – I know that that’s the corner I want to do.
Sewing the dart
Okay, so we are going to sew the dart first, which is just a question of taking out the pins and then sewing right along the line that we drew with the chalk downstairs all the way up to the pin that we didn’t take out, so here we go.
Until you get to the pin, and that’s when you know that you need to take the pin out real quick and you need to stop right there if that is your point. So you just want to cut that away and leave a little bit so that you can hand tie since you’re not going back -um, you don’t want that little point to come – just tie it, you know, once or twice. So you have some kind of security there and then there is your dart. To me making those is always such a leap of faith, but yeah, basically if you draw that chalk line when you’re downstairs doing -or wherever you are – you know, pinning it under your chair it should work great.
Hemming the rest
Cameraman wants to know if we’re done, and the short answer is, no. Sew the hem along the rest of the chair, but that’s very straightforward. But that is just, you know sewing in a straight line.
Start out do a couple back stitches, yeah, just sew all your hems that you pressed and ironed, until everything is sewn together, and that is that.
If you’re looking for some checked, gingham fabric, I’ve linked some below (affiliate links).
She has great details about making ruffles and ties that are beyond the scope of my simpler tutorial.
And, if you’re a total novice to sewing, check out Lisa over at Farmhouse on Boone’s Simple Sewing Series. She will have you going from not being able to thread the machine to making 6 chair covers in a week! Take it from me!