When my older son was a baby, I kind of lost my mind. I bought him a high chair I knew was hideous. My only defense is that I live in a small town with very few retail options, and I didn't feel like ordering one...more...thing online.
I hated it every day he sat in it, but somehow never quite found the wherewithal to do anything about it. For our second son, I swore things would be different. And they are.
This was an easy project. First I yanked the cover off the high chair and made a pattern. I didn't have to be too precise; my main goal was to make it symmetrical and to make it fit reasonably well. I did this by tracing around the existing cover onto a couple of pieces of newsprint.
Then I washed my so-called pirate fabric and applied fusible vinyl to it so that the cover could be easily cleaned. I followed the vinyl manufacturer's instructions, and took the additional precaution of running a lint roller over the fabric first to promote good adhesion. (Fusible vinyl is available at JoAnn and stores like it. It comes in 17" widths, matte and gloss.)
The only tricky part about using the vinyl was in making sure that my pattern pieces weren't any wider than the vinyl — I didn't want an ugly seam. So I divided the back cushion into two parts, fused each piece separately, and then caught the joined edges of the vinyl inside the seam allowance when I sewed those pieces together.
Next, I applied fusible batting to the vinyl-covered pieces, two thicknesses on the seat and one on the back. If I had to do it over again I might make it cushier. Then again, you know, it's a high chair, not a Barcalounger.
Only after both the vinyl and fleece were on did I cut the pieces to shape using my pattern. It was harder to cut the vinyl than I'd expected, not because it was thick — it wasn't — but because the tips of my scissors nicked the vinyl very easily. Had to be careful to keep them away from the piece.
The seat cushion has a round cut-out in it to accommodate a center post, which keeps your baby from sliding to the floor when he's in a Cheerio-induced stupor. And the back cushion has several slits for the safety straps to pass through. I used an elongated buttonhole for the strap slits, and I edged the post hole with bias tape. I also copied the stitching lines that were on the original, even when it didn't seem like my version needed them. (Maybe they have some secret magical baby-cradling purpose of which I am unaware.)
Next, I added a piece to the back that slips over one of the chair's adjustment handles — it holds the cover onto the chair at the top of the back. That's a double thickness of fabric, edged again with bias tape in the relevant spots. Because of the vinyl, I didn't use pins; instead I secured the edges of the pieces together with clear tape. Worked marginally well.
Then I sewed the back and the bottom pieces together, again using the existing cover as a model.
Last step was finishing the edges in bias tape. I used black for the majority of the piece, but red and white stripes on the back to give it, you know, that jaunty yo-ho-ho look.
It was interesting to work with the fusible vinyl. I can see dozens of useful things you could do with it. But it's a little fussy. Your iron can't be too hot. You have to use the protective paper every time you press anything it's on or near, which makes a project like this a bit of a pain, since I was fusing things to both sides repeatedly. And it crinkles and creases pretty easily in handling, so it's probably best used on projects that don't require a lot of additional manipulation during construction. (Coasters, great. Handbags that have to be turned inside out a few times, not so sure.)
The final product is still ugly, but I'd rather have grinning skulls staring me down at breakfast than Tigger and Winnie the Pooh, and I am not even lying about that.