datestampApr 10, 2014

reupholstery 101

My in-laws gave me a pair of these wing back chairs quite a few years ago.  They are in great condition but the color just didn't go with anything in my house.  I called around to local upholsterers when we first got them and couldn't find anyone who would recover them for under $500.  It seemed silly to me to pay that much when I could get a new chair for the same price.  So, they have traveled from room to room for the past 5+ years as a "someday" project.  
 With the economic slowdown, I finally found a place that was willing to do the job for $250.  I was super excited and ready to send them off.  It took a while to find the right fabric but I finally found one I liked while browsing the decorator samples at JoAnns.  It is called "Square Pegs" by Robert Allen and has a great thick texture and rich color.

They had it listed for around $79/yard.  Ouch!!  Luckily after some googling and internet research, I was able to find the same fabric for under $10/yard. I ordered it and was all ready to go but then got distracted by some painting projects and then lost to motivation to spend more money on reupholstery.  I ended up ordering a great book on Amazon called, Complete Step by Step Upholstery by David Sowle. After reading through the book, I felt empowered and ready to take on the project by myself.  I have never done any sort of reupholstery but I really enjoy figuring things out on my own.  
I spend about six hours removing all the old fabric off, taking care to pay attention to how it had been attached and in what order.  I'm sure there is an easier way to remove staples but I just used a flathead screwdriver and levered each one off.......there had to be several hundred and my fingers lost all feeling for the next few days!  

After everything was off, I started in reverse order by putting the new fabric on in the same way, just using the old fabric as a pattern.  I have to say that reading the book and paying attention to how the chair had been put together was very helpful.  The only "special" tools I bought were some T-pins and some curved needles.  And, they were essential for the pieces that were sewn into place at the end.  

 And, here is the finished project!!  I am so excited and proud because this is something I never thought I could do.  I added a box pleated skirt and then felt like the chair was a bit "tweedy" and masculine so I added an easy pillow to liven things up.

I wanted something graphic and bold and this is what popped into my head.  I'm still trying to think of a good story to use.  Avid Red Cross supporter??  Swiss heritage??  

Here are a few detail shots.......the cushion was the most challenging part for me.  I had to do a lot of unpicking and repinning before it lined up just right.  

Now I get to start all over on the other one!!  If there is any interest, I will do a step by step guide when I do the other chair.  This was one of the most satisfying projects I have ever done and it is much simpler than it seems!  You can do it too!!


Lydia said...

I love it! You did a GREAT job! I can't wait to see them in person!

Chessa said...

YOU ARE AMAZING!!! The chair looks awesome! We've got to get you some gloves for the next time. Fantastic job!!!

Ruth H. said...

That is such a great looking chair! I'm so impressed by the details--the piping, the box pleats, wow! I've managed to do a slipcover for one of my old wing chairs, but a complete reupholstery sounds pretty intimidating. I'd love to see the step-by-step process.

Raw Redskins said...

Are you kidding me! You never cease to amaze me that is INCREDIBLE! You can seriously do anything I am so jealous Ahhh!!!! I love the fabric its so modern, love the colors and pattern you are my hero!

Matthew said...

You are quite talented! Crazy that you were able to do that. Props for sure. I have a old couch that I want to reupholster and I don't think I could ever do it. Too bad were not closer so I could build you a head board and you could reupholster my couch! Maybe someday

Sina said...

Oh my Stars!! It looks AMAZING!! You did a great job and love it.

Becky said...

HOLY COW! I know who I'm coming to when I need something re-upholstered! Where on earth do you find the time? I have NO kids at home all day and I find myself still not being able to keep the house clean and can barely get dinner on the table. Let alone, trying to tackle a project like this! KUDOS to you!

Shari Nelson said...

Hi, I just found your site and I am so impressed with the work you did on this chair! Nice! I am adding your blog to my favorites. You have inspired me. Thanks.

anjie said...

love the chair! I would love for you to share how it was done.