Here’s a recent puzzle I had to solve – figuring out how to reupholster a chair.
It’s one of those things I’ve never really given much thought to before. I suppose it just never occurred to me that I could reupholster a chair, instead of getting a replacement. As with any new endeavour, I picked up a few new things along the way.
The first step is to remove the current upholstery. Up until that point, I had no idea that they used tacks and staples to fix these things to the frame of the chair. If you see any welting or tack strips, keep them handy because you’re going to be using those to measure the new pieces.
You’ll want to take notes or pictures as you disassemble. Trust me; it’ll help you figure out what goes where once you have to put the thing back together.
At this point, I will reiterate the obvious: don’t rip the fabric!
You’ll want to take a moment to clear out any stains. Repair the springs and webbing on the inside. Sand, prime, or paint if that’s your thing.
Once the chair is dry, or you’re ready to go, cut a piece of batting. Use that to cover the back. Cut another piece for the seat. Use staples to hold them in place.
Now, you’ll want to place the original upholstery pieces on the wrong side up. Watch for grain and patterns, and keep in mind the direction these patterns go. Pin everything into place and cut around the patterns, while keeping an excess of about three inches of fabric.
Now, move the markings for direction and placement on the new pieces. This will help you place them properly on the frame. Be sure to keep the fabric taut and in place as you work!
Don’t be afraid to use a lot of staples to make sure things are smooth and secure.
Use older pieces to determine the width and length of the final welting. You’ll need that to go around the seat apron at the top and bottom. If you’re like me, you’ll want a few extra inches to be safe.
You can start pinning strips and welting now. Be sure to mark the places where they need to go, and that everything is a snug fit. The tack strips I told you to save earlier are going to come into play now since you’ll be using them as a reference for length.
Some fabric glue came in handy for me at this point, but you might not need it. Depends on your chair, I would say.
Finally, cut a piece of black fabric for the underside of the chair. Use the old pieces as a guide again. Flip it upside down, staple the fabric to conceal any springs. Turn the chair right side up, and enjoy!
Now, I’ll admit that it is a lot of work reupholstering a chair. If you’ve got a lot of chairs, you might not want to do this yourself. The whole thing took me hours, partly because it’s a lot of work and partly because I wasn’t entirely sure I knew what I was doing.
Good thing there are folks like sewcovered.com.au that can handle this thing for you.
If you’re just not very handy or don’t like dealing with staples, a professional job is a good idea. You won’t want to ruin a perfectly good chair, right?