Thursday, January 23, 2014

DIY: How To Re-Upholster a Chair

Hello!  Would you like to learn how to reupholster a chair? 
Today I am sharing how I reupholstered my rolled arm chair for our living room{I actually still have another to do}. I lucked out last week & got the chairs from a woman in my neighborhood. She was hauling these chairs to the curb as I was driving by, so I stopped to chat with her & see why she was throwing them away{And make sure they were bug free & smoke free}. 

Turns out, she'd just bought new ones & didn't want these anymore. Which was perfect, because we were looking to buy two identical chairs to put in our living room & hadn't had any luck finding the right pattern/fabric to go with our living room decor. So with the help of my awesome friend Chris, we hauled these bad boys back to our garage. 

After a few days of letting them collect dust, I decided it was time to tackle this reupholstering project. I was a little intimidated at first, since I'd never done something this big before. And I only had a limited amount of fabric {Since, It was curtain fabric & only had 2 panels each per chair}. But, thankfully the chair turned out just fine:)! 
So here's what you'll need:
Fabric: I used 4.5 yards {5.5 would be better}
Sewing pins
Boning{I reused the old one} 

Sewing Machine & extra needles{For the arms & Cushion}
Staple Gun & Construction staples
Hot Glue gun
Seam Ripper
Phillip head screw driver

 I apologize in advance for the poor lighting! Most of the pictures were taken during the night, when my kiddos were tucked away in bed;). I feel like that's the only time I can get anything substantial done:).                          

   {Below is what the chair looked like when I started}.
1. First step is take as many pictures of your chair as you can,{Front, Back, sides, arms, cushion, connecting points}, so you can have as a reference. Next, you'll drape your fabric over the chair to make sure you have enough fabric before you start making any cuts. 
2. Remove Staples, starting with the bottom portion of the chair. Remove the staples & carefully remove the bottom material, so you can reuse it later.
3. Remove fabric per sections. It's easiest, if you work on one section at a time & take note of how they were attached to the chair{because they have to go back on the same way}. After the bottom piece, I moved on to remove the back portion. Careful not to cut yourself, because there's  metal tacking strips along the border & it is extremely sharp. Next I removed the sides & lastly the front portion. 
4. Layout the fabric remnants you removed on the floor, so you can easily see which fabric portion goes where. 
5. When only the batting remains, you can use the pieces you removed & lay them out as a pattern for the new fabric.  I needed to cut 6 pieces{Front, Right Side, Left side, Front bottom, Back & Cushion}.
6. Next, you'll drape the newly cut fabric over the front section, you'll tuck it as far as you can into the crevices. In mine, I was able to pull it through all the way to the underside/backside & staple it in place. With the same piece, I then pulled the fabric taut upwards and grabbed the side portions and secured it with staples. I left the top undone, so I could go back and cover the staples from the back piece{That will be one of your last things you'll do}. 
7. The sides are next. You'll want to add boning to your side fabric at this point & sew it. Then drape your fabric over the arm of the chair so you can pin the middle fabric{that faces the front} in place . You  want to make sure that your lines are very very straight, this can either make or break your custom look{so take your time on it:)}. With the pins in it, it should look a lot like a slip cover at this point. 
8. Sew the side portion together, {this should be inside out}
9. Flip it the right-way, and pull it into position. You want to make sure the front-facing portion is perfectly aligned before you pull the fabric taut & secure it with staples. I stapled the inside part of the arm fabric first. Then grabbed the side-facing part of the chair's fabric and pulled it taut & stapled it onto the back frame{It's best to get the staples as close to the inside part of the chair as you can}.
10. Staple the inside portion of the side piece to secure it in place. Try to keep the staple as low as possible & in an inconspicuous place. You'll be adding a cushion so the odds that anyone will ever see it are fairly low:).
11.Repeat steps 6-10 for the other side.
12.Front bottom section is next. I stapled the piece underneath the chair first and then pulled it taut and stapled it in the top corner. I then folded the sides & glued the sides to the chair.
13. Next is the back portion. I  folded the ends then started stapling at the bottom & then pulled the fabric taut and stapled at the top. Then I did the same thing with the sides{folded & stapled}. If you want a more clean finish, you can purchase metal track strips, and that way you don't have any staples showing. My fabric is grey, so I didn't think it'd be that noticeable .
14. Once the back portion is in place, you can finish the top of the front-facing piece.
 You want to pull up and back as much as you can & then fold & staple over your back portion "seam" {so you only have one line of staples showing}. If staples get out of alignment, just simply pry them out & re-do it:). It will look much nicer afterwards:)!
 15. You're almost done..kind of, the cushion is next! The cushion took me longer than everything else{3 hours}. Mainly because I didn't have enough material to sew the cushion completely around with my fabric & so I had to use the pattern of the previous cushion along with the black fabric it came with & zipper. So I had to do a ton of pinning & add the boning.

 I looked up a video on how to sew a cushion & it helped{This}. That should help explain how to sew the cushion a lot better than I could:)!
 16. After the cushion is sewn, wrap your foam with batting & insert it into the cushion. 
17. Lastly, you'll staple the bottom black fabric back onto the chair & add the legs. And that's all:)!
I really like how the chair turned out but my favorite part is that it only cost $35 bucks to give it a second life!  
Hope this is helpful! And Please let me know if you  have any questions!