M.I.H.M. – Turquoise and Orange Dining Chair

Do you ever feel like you’ve completely lost “the touch”?  Like you have a period of time where all of your projects are going just fine, and then….BAM.  You just can’t seem to get anything to work properly?

I do.  And I feel like I’m kind of in the midst of a DIY slump right now.  The latest isn’t what I would call a complete DIY fail.  It’s just a DIY frustration.  It’s a that’s-not-how-it-looked-in-my-mind kind of project.  And those are sometimes even more disappointing to me than the complete fail projects.

And of course, I’m talking about my dining chairs.  I only had two to paint and cover, and it really shouldn’t have been that difficult, especially since I had a picture with a clear vision of where I was headed with this project.  Remember my inspiration chairs from House Beautiful?

Well, after three attempts at upholstering the same seat cushion, and staying up until 1:00am last night, and getting up at 7:30 this morning to finish it, here’s what I have…


It was one of those situations where I knew it wasn’t quite right to start with, almost immediately after I sewed the seat cover.  But it was already getting late, and I convinced myself that rather than rip out all of the stitching and re-sewing the seat cover, I could somehow make this work.

That didn’t quite work out for me.

See how the cording is rippled and puckered in places?  That’s because it’s been a while since I’ve sewn with covered cord, and I forgot that you have to pull it taut while pinning it to the fabric, and then again while sewing, or it’s going to pucker like that (especially because I never cut my cord fabric on the bias like you’re supposed to…I just cut it straight, so it’s a little more finicky to work with).

I also forgot to pull the edge fabric taut while pinning and sewing, so it’s also gathered and puckered in places, rather than being smooth.  I also made the cover slightly too big.  I thought I could make it work by just using extra batting, but that doesn’t really work either, because the more batting you use, the more  you lose those boxy edges that make the covered cord look so good.

So my whole strategy of trying to make it work, even though I knew from the beginning that it just wasn’t right, really backfired on me.  It was like a row of falling dominoes…one thing went wrong, and that led to something else, which led to something else…

I’m also not fond of the way that the seat on my chair extends past the chair frame, where the edge of the seat on the inspiration chair is even with the chair frame, giving it a much cleaner look.  Mine looks kind of frumpy.

The one thing I do like is the paint finish on mine.  And even though I distressed the finish quite a bit more than I had originally intended, I’ve come to really like it.  Since these chairs are the exact same paint color as my kitchen cabinets, I like how the distressing and dry brushing really sets them apart from the cabinets.

So I’m disappointed, but not discouraged to the point that I’ll give up.  Like every other project that’s gone sideways lately, I’ll just try again, and hope for better results next time.  I know where I went wrong, so hopefully that knowledge will make the next time a success.

I really need to start shaping up with the DIY stuff around here.  I’m a bit afraid that if I keep having these DIY fails, you’ll stop visiting me!  Please don’t stop visiting me!!  🙂  I’ll get things headed in the right direction.  No more DIY fails!  I haven’t the time or the patience for it, and I simply won’t allow it!  😀

Update:  I just remembered this chair that I painted and upholstered a few years back.  It has the cording, too.  And it’s on the top AND the bottom of the seat.  So, I’ve done it before.  I’m pretty sure I can do it again!!  🙂

How are your projects going?  Better than mine, I hope!!  Tell me what you’ve gotten accomplished lately!



Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


  1. I’m still in the midst of a guest bedroom re-decoration and I just keep adding more and more projects to my “to do” list. I just purchased a dresser that I’ve decided not to paint, but to re-finish with de-natured alcohol….something I haven’t done in years. I’d forgotten how much work it is. Ugh! It’s starting to feel like I’ll never get this bedroom done.
    BTW, no one is going to stop visiting you because of DIY fails. It just lets us know that your’e human and if you can persevere so can we!

    1. I’ve never even heard of the denatured alcohol finish. Can’t wait to see (and read) the details!

      I keep adding to my “to do” list also. At this rate, this condo might be done by the time I’m 80. Maybe. 😀

  2. Kristi, I carefully read and re-read everything you said you did. I studied the pictures and thought about how to fix this problem. I can show you exactly what to do. Don’t skip any steps or it won’t work. Look at your inspiration photo. Rip up your inspiration photo. Wad the shreds of the inspiration photo into a ball. Put the ball in the garbage can. Forget it ever existed. Enjoy your beautiful new chairs that look like you paid a fortune for.
    Solving problems for over many years.

    1. BEST.ADVICE.EVER!!! 😀 I’ll seriously take it under advisement. Now if you can offer a suggestion as to how to wad up and throw away the image of that inspiration chair that’s etched into my mind, I’ll move forward with your plan. 🙂

  3. Kristi,

    Its really refreshing to hear your frustrations because you do (it seems, almost always) do gorgeous work! I love the way your chair frames look too, beautiful finish! Thanks for the tips about the cording because I’m making a bench cushion now and using cording for the second time in my life and probably need the tip about pulling taught. I really didn’t realize how much extra work the cording would be but it looks so much nicer with it so I’m glad (so far) that I used it. The project is taking for. ever. though. Keep up the awesome work and thanks so much for keeping it real. This is why I love blogs!

    1. Can’t wait to see your bench, Adrienne! If you cut the fabric for the cord on the bias, it’s really not as finicky. It probably won’t pucker, and will go around the corners and curves very nicely. That’s how it’s actually supposed to be done, but it requires much more fabric. And I’m cheap. 🙂

      1. While I’m not speaking from experience, it’s been years and years since I made any welt cording, but I’m getting ready to some again for a couple of upcoming projects. I found these great videos on Youtube, part 1 and part 2, and you can make 18 yards of continuous bias welt cording from 1/2 yard of fabric. It’s pretty slick the way she does it. There are a lot of other videos in the series about upholstery and so far they’ve all been easy to understand and helpful. You should check it out. I would never have thought you could get 18 yards from 1/2 yard of fabric, it’s practically magic!


  4. I definitely have some of those slumps, too! It’s never fun. I actually had a huge “why me” moment last week when I tried to plant some ivy and found a leak in our sprinkler system – NOT fun!

    1. That sounds like a job for the pros. 🙂 I’m all for DIY, but just the thought of working on a sprinkler system exhausts me…LOL. Hope you (or the pros) get it all fixed!!

  5. But you see, when you post your Fails we know that you will soon post an absolutely beautiful correction project soon!

    1. Thank you for your confidence!! 🙂 I sure hope I can make this one work. I think I can, but I just dread having to rip things apart. Uugghhh!! Oh well. It’s all part of the DIY life!

  6. it happens to all of us, so you are in good company.

    I have only once attempted making a cover like that, for a bench seat; it took more time than I care to ever repeat. I DID cut the bias strips for the cording and that only added to the many hours it took to complete it.

  7. I like hearing the failures for DIY projects as much as the successes. Very often, when I’m doing something DIY-ish, I’ll run into a problem and Google it. It’s nice when some of the results show you the same problem AND how to fix it… 🙂

  8. I have a chair to recover and I’ve been putting it off. Can’t wait to see your new chairs when you complete them the way you want to! Inspiration to complete mine. Thanks.

  9. Don’t stop sharing your “fails” (although that is 110% better than I could do – so I don’t consider it a fail)! You’re the little engine that could – “you think you can, you think you can”!
    Now, stop staying up til 1 and getting up so early – and get some sleep!

  10. Well, I can sew a straight line, and that is the extent of my talent… so I thought it was looking pretty damn good! Maybe you’re being a bit hard on yourself? I like it just fine :)))

  11. I love when you share your “fails” and missteps with us! It makes you human!

    This week I already made new outdoor pillow covers and my big goal is to paint two old nightstands to make a vanity of sorts for myself in our walk-in closet. I’ve never painted real wood furniture before so I’m a bit nervous!

  12. I feel your frustration!! For me the problem is the fabric tone and thick black piping are clashing with the blue chairs .. I think if you paint or distress the chairs a shade of white you might get the balance you are looking for..

  13. I read your first post about this chair endeavor and being the ‘rescuer’ that I am, I memorized the color and was determined to find an acceptable source of the fabric that you were after. Well, then I forgot about it and later I was at the thrift store and found the fabric in the exact color you were looking for. After standing and contemplating for what I think was quite a while…and debating whether or not to take the plunge and spend the $4 for the yardage, I opted not to. Now I’m sad that I didn’t. I am headed there tomorrow and will check to see if , by some, miracle it’s still there. If it is, are you willing to have another go of it? Just thought I’d ask.

      1. Ok Then, crossing our fingers that that yardage of pumpkin goodness has been invisible to all others 🙂 If the finger crossing works, I’ll let you know and you can message me where you’d like it sent.

  14. I think sometimes what perfectionists might call a fail, can seem pretty terrific to someone without those skills. I think your chair & cushion look quite nice — yes, I know the little puckers & size might bother you but I bet you’re probably the only one. It’s obvious you always try your best, Kristi, so is that really a fail?

    I know I’m hard on myself but others often say they don’t notice the little stuff that I’m worried about. And, sometimes we just have an ‘off’ week like I did a couple weeks ago. Then last week I pushed myself & am quite pleased that I finished my two glass abstracts for my upcoming Gallery Art Show. I may not make my goals every Make It Happen Monday but projects are getting completed faster than before starting the weekly updates. Thanks for all your great inspiration, Kristi.

  15. I know just how you feel, I have just finished staining (in the last 3o mins) my new decking and – did I pick ther right colour? Yes I did. Did I take my time to keep the dark stain away from my house wall ? Well mostly! Did it turn out smooth and lovely? I don’t think so ! Parts are still drying but I think it’s going to look patchy even if I put on another 10 coats. Do I care about it just now? Well yes I do. Am I going to do anything about it today? A big FAT NO! as I don’t have a bone in my body which isn’t crying out in agony, so a wee rest for the remainder of the day & watch some of the Olympics and take another look at it tomorrow when I don’t feel the need to make an urgent trip tp A & E. Mary

  16. Sorry about your chairs but I think you’ll be able to ‘rework’ them a bit and they will be great. Love the paint color and the distressing! I’m trying to reorganize three closets and it’s slow going but I am making progress. Hope to make that my completed job by this afternoon.

  17. Aww, I am not going anywhere just because you had a stubborn project, I am positive that when you set it aside for awhile and think about it, it will work out and be as beautiful as all of your other projects!

    We all have those projects that sometimes do not work out as we saw it in our minds. Been there done that on more projects than I can say! My current silhouette wall is one of those projects I am just not liking at all….it sounds good on paper but is just not what I had envisioned. I am tearing it down so I guess that will be my Make it Happen Monday project for this week lol!