Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Upholstering a chair

Today is a continuation of the same project I posted yesterday.  In case you missed it, I show you how I fixed the chair seat here.  Please do remember, I am walking you through this as if this is your first time seeing this done.

Once again, here is the chair.  It doesn't look bad, but the jute webbing on the bottom of the chair was completely torn and disintegrating. Notice the arms on the chair- a little faded...
Here is where I left off yesterday.  The chair seat was fixed and ready to be upholstered.  If you wanted to paint the chair, now is the time to do it (or any step before this). The arms on the chair look darker here because I used the 1:1 ratio of olive oil and vinegar to blend in the faded wood.
First I cut some foam to fit the seat.  I angled the cut slightly so the cushion would be nice and rounded.
I covered the seat with batting and got it to fit just right.
I secured it with staples and also added some batting to the back rest portion of the chair, front and back.
I chose a fun giraffe print and began cutting to fit the seat.  None of this is rocket science so far right?
Here is a tip that will save you a lot of trouble.  When you go to cut to get the fabric around the arms, I use a Y cut.  Don't go wider than the arm itself.  If you do, you will most likely see that cut and there is not much you can do about it.  Always cut on the short side first, you can always cut more.  Also, cut perpendicular to the arm or leg so the fabric will cover everything you want it to cover.  Repeat this at all places that need cutting.  Once you do that, begin your stapling or tacking on opposite sides.  Get one secure in the middle of all 4 sides of the seat.  Gradually work your way around until you come to the corners and arms.
Here is what the cut will look like where the back support is.  This is a side view.  There is a lot of extra fabric there, that is ok.
Cut the fabric leaving a little extra so you can tuck it under and not have any fraying edges.
Just like this.  You will do this at all the cuts you made, being sure to fold under the ends.
I laid the fabric over the back of the chair and had to cut the Y cut for the arms again.  Remember Perpendicular.  All the fabric was pulled snugly to the back of the chair and secured in place.
At the bottom of the chair, I had to cut some slits since the chair bowed in from the front.  This helps the fabric fit snug so there isn't a bubble in the front.
My next piece is the back piece.  I like to drape it over the front of the chair and use a cardboard tack strip on the back.  This is one I salvaged from another project.  I have used regular cardboard I cut off boxes before.  Hey, what can I say,  I'm a thrifty gal!  Notice the corner.

Fold the fabric over so you will have your fold already started and secure.  Pull the fabric down so you can now start on the sides of the back of the chair.  I like to sew mine.  There are all sorts of tack strips and metal devices you can use for this part, but like I said.  I'm thrifty.
I secured the bottom of the back with staples underneath.
Here is my finishing touch to the front of the chair.  I always do this last since I can use sections of fabric that were cut off from excess on the rest of the chair.  I sewed some piping and tacked it in place.  Here I used tacks since the fabric was so thick and I was out of 1/2" staples.
Using the same technique as the back of the chair, I secured the fabric while it was upside down.  Using tacks again and cardboard strip.  I then flipped it back down and this is what it looks like. 
We are almost done...  Secure the last bit of fabric in the front underneath the bottom of the chair.  Add a dust fabric to the bottom and it is complete.
I hope you enjoyed this series of posts on upholstering a chair.  For sure you can do it, right?  Go grab that chair you have been wanting to get done and get started!  For those of you who are experts, if you have any good tips I did not share (perhaps I do not know them)  I would love to hear them!

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  1. What a great tutorial and love your choice of fabric-terrific!

    Glad you linked up with us at the BeBetsy BRAG ABOUT IT Link and Hop.

    Sharon and Denise ♥
    Fashion | Food | Beauty | Antiques | DIY | and much more

  2. great tutorial! your chair looks fabulous!

    catching you!

  3. Such a great tutorial - you've really convinced me I could give it a go as I have a chair in desperate need of repair. I am featuring your post at this week's Empty Your Archive - Alice @ Mums Make Lists x

  4. You did a great job on this...I am getting ready to reupholster some chairs (have been getting ready for three months now)and this tutorial will really help me!! I would love to invite you to link up at my Weekend Beautiful blog party :-)

  5. Wow, that looks FANTASTIC!!!! Thanks for the steps - I've been attempting to recover some rocker bottoms, so this helps.
    Visiting from My Repurposed Life.

  6. Thanks so much for the tutorial! I have four cane-seat chairs with backs like that in a hideous 70s fabric. I've been hesitant to start the project of upholstering, but now I can! Thanks again.