Basement Part 5: Is there a light at the end of the tunnel?

Drywall update: our awesome craigslist find Wes is finishing up the drywalling today. This is day 4 of what was first thought to be a 2-day deal. Am I worried? No. This guy is meticulous and if he wants to come back for more sanding in order to achieve smooth-as-a-baby's-bottom walls then have at it. He's already been paid so it's not like the meter's running, either. I'm hoping to snap some pictures tonight.

But let's shift gears for a minute and return to the original topic of this blog: sewing. We've decided we're going for a men's hunt club kind of look so plaids, paisleys, velvets, and leathers are in order. If this basement is destined to be a man cave (and really, what basement isn't) then I'm calling for a certain level of sophistication. Ironically, Matt received a credit card offer - complete with bonus tool belt! - in the mail yesterday from the NRA. It's like the whole world knows my bowtie-wearing, labrador-walking, fly-fishing, banker-by-day husband fits a certain category:

(pic from Google image search "preppy conservative" - ha! And for the record there are no guns or decorative gun racks in our house.)

I did a quick trip to Joann's this weekend looking for some fabrics to gussy up the new room but no luck. Not discouraged, I jetted south to LZ Fabric Outlet. Friends, if you're ever in Chicago and need ungodly amounts of upholstery or home dec fabric, 9/10 times this is your place. Just look at at! And this is one of 15+ rooms!

(image from yelp.com - not all rooms are this frightening)

$34 later I came home with 1 yard of houndstooth, 1.75 yards of an icy mint velvet for some panache, and 4 yards of some velvety microfiber paisley. I'm not sure where everything will eventually land but it's a good start on the journey to stylish man cave.

So here's the sewing question du jour: has anyone had any luck in making a tailored slipcover? And, as a follow-up to that, have any readers out there tried McCall 3278? We have a chair just like the one pictured below and until it can be replaced with something more chic/manly, I'd like to give it a new, washable slip-cover. It's currently an olive green chenile that will not work with the proposed color scheme.

Share some thoughts with me and I'll be back with pictures of fabric swatches, paint, and other decor delights.


  1. First of all, love your classy style that you've showcased so beautifully on your blog. I'm not a blogger but a faithful blog reader.

    As for your chair, I would suggest skipping the slipcover and going straight to the re-upholstery. It last longer and looks nicer because slipcovers tend to shift and look messy with use. There are a ton of DIY articles out there on upholstery especially on ApartmentTherapy.com. Since you already know how to sew, you can use the pieces of your current chair fabric as the pattern. Pay attention to how you take it apart and put it back together in the same order. I recovered my own chairs and they turned out perfectly.

  2. I have successfully made tons of tailored slipcovers for our upholstered furniture over the years, since we have never quite been at the level of buying new furniture. And I believe the pattern you mentioned is the one I used. (I am one of those who started out as a home dec sewer because I love to decorate but have a very small budget). I think they have all turned out fabulous and look just as good as professional ones like Pottery Barn...I even had an older woman argue with me once because she couldn't believe it was a slipcover vs. real upholstery. I would say my sewing ability is intermediate beginner. The pattern has a great pattern piece for making a large amount of bias at once for covering cording which is handy and it gave me an idea how to measure and make my patterns and the order of assembly. With experience I switched a couple of steps around.

    In my experience, these type shift very little because it is made to fit your specific piece with each cushion covered separately, and I like the washability factor, especially since children came along. I will say they seemed to take a long time to put together, but I am one who is slow to accomplish tasks (reading, sewing, anything), and also because there was a lot I was learning and teaching myself as I worked like sewing zippers, etc. Good luck!


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