Steal This Idea: Cheap Banquet Chair Covers (Vintage Style!)

I threw myself a 40th birthday party. Tacky, right? That's me.

It's not like I thought I wouldn't make it to 40. I always give a "huh?" when someone has a big celebration for a kid that's graduating 8th grade. Like, is there a reason for celebration? Was there a reason to doubt the kid would make it out of junior high and this party marks the parents' huge sigh of relief?

I think my major anxiety about turning 40 is rooted in the fact that I remember my mom turning 40 like it was yesterday. I was a senior in high school- and I still dress the same, act the same and listen to the same music- so yeah, it DOES feels like yesterday. Also, I was a a senior in high school when my mom turned 40 and my child is 2.5!  THAT is a giant burrito of difference, my friends.

Anyways, enough whining about aging. We all do it. So, I wanted to have a small party, 40 people for 40 years. There's a local, haunted ballroom I always wanted to go to, here was my excuse, so we booked a tiny room there. The only problem was that the ballroom's chairs were standardly ugly. I knew I wanted to cover them, but a quick look on Pinterest showed me either over-the-top bridal BS or lame, boring chair covers that cost more than they were worth.

So I came up with this idea- I would buy 40 cardigans at the thrift store. All less than $2. It turned out that I had to visit 5 thrift stores, finally deciding only the Salvation Army had the right prices for this project.I went to 3 of them to achieve the goal of 40, all in crappy neighborhoods. I loved every minute.

I aimed for small or extra small cardis so they'd be snug on the chairs, but I didn't have THAT much time for the details (one week total) so some of the sweaters were L up to XL and they made for a sloppy presentation. But, hey, when I announced that they cardigans were up for grabs at the end of the night, it was terrific to have something for everyone (including many vintage, beaded ones, a single mens' cardi, 2 maternity, several cashmere and one plus size).
After procuring the sweater stash, the plan was to fill in the neck holes with scraps of leftover fabric from random crafts, just slide the laundered, buttoned cardigans on the chairs and slip a pre-cut piece of fabric inside the neck hole. The leftover fabric pieces went home to a quilter.

If I had it to do all over again, I would have only selected the smaller sized sweaters and I would have whip stitched the neck holes. I also wouldn't have given myself 10 minutes to set it up, employing my mom and 2.5 year old to help me get it done before the guests arr...oh god, they were already there watching us shove cardigans on chairs. Oh well. 

The evening's entertainment