Learning to Reupholster MY WAY – Chair Makeover

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I really wanted to do some reupholstering for a while now so I was so excited when I got this old chair that was shouting out for a makeover.  I was quite nervous as I wasn’t really sure how to do it properly but I was ready for the challenge.. Little did I know that it would involve blood, sweat and tears – literally!

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Even before I started the chair, I had a vision in my head on what I wanted this chair to look like. I absolutely love the french style fabric so I knew that I will be using some sort of French Toile fabric. I kept looking for the right one and I finally found it, it was perfect! I got it here.

There are so many different reupholstery projects on the internet, but as I read somewhere, if you pull the pieces apart one piece at the time, it will have to go back the same way.  I thought it was a brilliant suggestion and used the old fabric as a template for the chair makeover.

I tried to take as many photos as I possibly could as I thought it would also help me if I lost the track with all the bits of fabric, so there are LOADS of pictures in this tutorial which I hope will encourage you rather than scare youl!

I started by pulling the wooden frame and the seat apart.

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As the chair was pretty old, I had to ask my husband to help me unscrew the chair from the frame and I then removed the arm rest.

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I was left with this bare wooden frame.

I decided to first tackle the painting and then the upholstery. I started by cleaning the wooden frame, it was a dark mahogany colour which I didn’t really like so I was thinking of painting it a lovely light shade.

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As I had the fabric already I went to the local shop and chose a nice shade for the chair, which I thought would look really nice.

I started by sanding the wood.

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I then used the primer to prepare the wood for painting.

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Painting was the easy part of this project as the paint went on nicely and I had no problems with it.

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 Then came the difficult part – reupholstery!

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I removed the fabric little bit by little bit.. trying to take photos as I went along so I know how to put it back together!

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Once I removed every piece of fabric, this is was what I was left with.

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I was getting a bit nervous at this stage as there was no going back now… I kept thinking that if I keep following the easy steps by taking the pieces apart and copying them as templates it should be ok!

I started with the easiest bit – the arms! I stapled some upholstery foam over the arms.

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And then covered it with the fabric. Try and keep the pattern running so it doesn’t look mismatched and make sure it runs in the same direction.. I almost got too carried away and didn’t notice! thankfully I stopped just in time to correct my mistake…

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I took my steamer and cleaned the seat, I also decided to put some extra cushioning on it so used some wadding and covered the seating area and stapled it on.

I then started the cutting of the fabric. I went piece by piece and tried to put it on the chair as I went along.

This project involved some sewing, which was also a little bit of a challenge for me. Even though I love sewing, I am not very good at it.. Wish I had listen to my grandma more when she was telling me how to sew properly!

I get very impatient if it doesn’t go my way so every time I was getting in a  bit of a pickle, I stepped away.. another good lesson I learnt – if something doesn’t go as you have planned, instead of getting frustrated step away from the project – TAKE A BREAK and start again in a while with fresh outlook.

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I learnt the lesson the hard way but here it goes –  ALWAYS give extra allowance on the fabric. There is nothing worse than working on a piece of upholstery which is done perfectly only to realise that it doesn’t quite fit.  I had this problem and ended up ‘improvising’ to cover up the shortage! So be generous with the fabric, as it will save you a few tears!

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I cut out the major piece and attached it to the smaller side pieces, using the old upholstery as a template.  I then made some piping. Don’t panic.. You may think it is very complicated to do, when actually it is not as bad as you think.. I found this great tutorial on how to make piping  Make it and Love it blog, which explains step by step how to make piping from scratch and trust me it’s not as bad as you think it is..

I was so impressed with myself. It is actually easier than you think. Cut the length of the material you need, and wrap the cord inside the material, use pins to keep it together. For making piping you will need zipper foot on your sewing machine.

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Try and have the zipper foot as close as you can to the string so it is nice and tight.

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Phew, thankfully the piping wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be.

Then put the piping in between the fabric, using the pins.  I put the cover to see if it fitted nicely before I sew the items together (just in case!).

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then sew the pinned fabric together.

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Once all parts were attached, the cover was ready to go on the top of the chair.

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I then used my staple gun and upholstery staples to place the fabric in place.

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I then cut out the remaining fabric (using the same technique with the old fabric template) and repeated the stapling. Make sure you take care when stapling because, as it was getting late and I wasn’t concentrating as much when I tried to remove a staple that wasnt put in place properly, I had a little accident and hurt myself, which led to some bleeding, thankfully it didn’t go on the fabric!

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I covered the back with a straight piece and decided to use some upholstery pins, but soon regretted it as they were not going in as straight as I wanted to so after the top row I decided to leave it as it is! No one is going to look at the back of the chair are they?

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I then secured the seat onto the wooden frame and this is the end result!

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You can see the footstool transformation here.

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From Evija with Love SIGNATURE NEW

46 thoughts on “Learning to Reupholster MY WAY – Chair Makeover

  1. That fabric is just divine! I love how the chair turned out. I’m so glad you were able to make your fabric work even though you were short on seam allowances. Just popping over to thank you for linking up at Our Favourite Things. I’m also co-hosting a weekly party on Tuesdays I’d love you to add this project! I wish I could use light fabrics in my home. We stick to washable leather with all of our pets.

  2. I think it turned out very beautiful! I’ve recently done a couple of upholstery projects for the first time too but not a whole chair like yours. You did a wonderful job and you’ve inspired me to give it a shot… as soon as I find the right piece to redo!

    Tania

  3. What a labor of love and well worth all the effort. You made it beautiful. Thanks for the great tutorial and for sharing at Vintage Inspiration Party.

  4. Great tutorial! Your chair looks fantastic now. I just bought a couch from a thrift shop that I want to recover with indoor/outdoor fabric for my covered patio. I’m so nervous to start because I’ve never reupholstered anything! I’m pinning your post so I can reference it later :).

  5. Nicely done! I love the colors you chose. Thanks for Hosting at the Oh My Heartsie Girl Wordless Wednesday! I look forward to seeing you again next week!
    Mary
    Jingle Jangle Jungle

  6. Absolutely stunning! Love the fabric, and what an amazing transformation! This is one project, I want to learn how to, so I pinned this for later! It’s a pleasure to co-host with you @OMHGWW! Have a lovely week and see you next time!
    xo Christine

  7. You really love to challenge yourself, Shannon! Thank you for the detailed information and the photos – you gave me courage to try myself. Well done!!!

    1. Thank you so much Florence! It took me a few days onlye because I thought it will be easy and was getting frustrated and had to step away from the project and start with a ‘fresh’ head! I try to now plan ahead with upholstery 1) prep & paint woodwork, then 2) sew piping and parts that need sewing 3) upholster and put everything together.. doing it all at once was a little daunting!

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