Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Upholstery is Not for Weenies!

I wanted to name this post ...

"I Did It! I Did It! Woot Woot!! I Really Freakin' Did It!! That's Right! Yup Yup, I Did It!!"...but it seemed a bit long..

Now what is it that I did??

Well, do you remember this chair??

Isn't she lovely in her horrible retro-ness?? No?? Yeah, I didn't think that fabric was wonderful either, but I loved the shape & it is just the comfiest reading chair.

I was given this chair years ago by my mom's co-worker. It belonged to her mother, who I'm told, lived an amazingly adventurous life before passing at a ripe old age.

I had always planned to have it professionally upholstered in a "happy" fabric, but just never got around to it. I'm a bit of a procrastinator (just thought you needed to know that..full disclosure & all)

So anyway..the other day..OK, more like weeks & weeks ago, I decided I'd do it myself even though I had NEVER done anything like it before & had absolutely NO CLUE where to start. Mere details..I immediately set about taking it apart.

I did know enough to pay attention to where & how things had been originally attached to the frame & also to not throw those pieces of fabric away.

After I took it apart..it sat for days, weeks..like three weeks...

It was very patient..just waiting for me to get on it...but I was scared...like really scared..I didn't know what to do...I avoided it..literally walked around it while I completed other projects or just watched TV instead...

After a while my husband started asking.."um, so what's up with this chair?" & then "hey, are you ever gonna get to that chair?" and every time I would say "oh, yeah..I'm just looking for the perfect fabric..its not easy you know?!" Yes, I was a bit defensive, but I didn't want him to know I was freaked out because then he'd say.."throw it out"...he doesn't like useless junk hanging around...poor guy..I LOVE useless junk..lol...

So to make it look like I was actually moving forward on the project I went to Joann's and secretly hoped I wouldn't find great fabric, but I did..

This is an outdoor fabric, but of course I didn't notice that until I got home & quite frankly since I had no clue if that was OK or wrong, I went with it anyway...my chair, right?

So now I had fabric, you would think that would mean I jumped right on it, right?..No..it sat in the bag for another week...I'm such a scaredy-cat! Its really annoying how chicken butt I am sometimes..

In fact I was getting quite disgusted with myself over it..I knew I had to start so last Saturday I put my big girl chonies on & I cut my first piece of fabric...and then my second...

I just laid my old fabric atop the new fabric..closed one eye, said a prayer & CUT! After that..I have to say it wasn't that hard...I actually got a little scissor happy there for a minute...I sighed a HUGE sigh of relief & started stapling...first the backrest & then the arms...

Not sure if you can see this, but the curve of the arms gave me a bit of trouble...the fabric just would not lay flat..can you see the wrinkle in the arm in the above picture?? Well, it didn't go away..in fact the other arm was going to get a wrinkle of its own..No matter how hard I pulled or in which direction..it just wouldn't lay flat..Then I noticed that the original arm pieces were actually split in two sections that were glued together..I just left the wrinkles in..more character..or so I keep telling myself..

That was actually the hardest part..the rest was easy peasy! After covering the arms as best as I could, I covered the center of the frame area. Before covering it with fabric though I added some batting (I forgot to mention that I also put two layers of batting on the backrest as well)

Again..it wasn't perfect, but it was on..major triumph here so far...

Next section to put on was the seat cushion area. This really stumped me because I knew that I was not going to be able to sew a separate cushion for the seat. My solution was to forgo the separate seat all together..I just added more batting to the bottom & covered the whole thing in fabric.

I used the original stuffing that had been in the separate cushion (forgot to take a picture of it, sorry)
Before stapling it down I added some batting on the front end of the chair so it would even out

After that I covered the sides of the chair with more batting and then fabric

I did this to both sides and used the original nail strip to finish the front ends..exposed staples would just look yucky

I couldn't find the finished end picture when I was posting, but what I did was wrap the nail strip with the fabric and folded it over so that it stayed even with the edge

Next I covered the back & final part of the chair

I added batting & covered it with fabric

Again I could not find the pictures of this step..maybe I was too tired to take them or I just thought I had taken them..it was pretty late at night

Anyway this is what the final product looks like...

I love it..even with its imperfections..and I'm happy to say..I'm not a weenie or a chicken butt or even a scardycat any more...in fact...I'm already itching to reupholster something else...

So what do you think?? Let me know in the comments..I read them all!

Now Linking to:


    : )
    -Jamie Panziera

  2. Oh My, Oh My, what an amazing chair! You did it! The Fabric is gorgeous - jealous!

  3. my husband says you saved about $400 in labor :)

  4. I love how it turned out! I have four chairs and a couch that need some new fabric and either slipcovers or re-upholstery. I'll admit- I'm a chicken butt!

  5. Bravo! Bravo! I'm quite impressed! Great job!



  6. I'm impressed. LOVE the photo progression, and the great writing. Fun to watch and read, but I don't have the guts to try it either! Great job!!

  7. Very nice. I love that fabric! I'm a weenie when it comes to upholstering, too! ;)

  8. Your chair looks fabulous, you did an awesome job!! *doing a happy dance for you* I love the way you wrote about the process...that's EXACTLY how I felt when I did my first pair of chairs..yes I'm crazy and get myself into doing pairs! Awesome job!

  9. Bernie, I love the chair and great choice of fabric love love the color!!

  10. OH! This is So impressive!! I was JUST telling my hubby that I think instead of throwing out a wing chair we have, I'm going to use it as a "practice" project. If it turns out, great. If not, curbside! Great job!!

  11. LOVE THIS! I want to be good at ulphostering one day but I am not there yet. lol. you did a great job.

    new follower!

  12. Very, Very nice.... great transformation!!
    You are very brave.... : )

  13. Wowie-Kazowie!!I love the bold color and pattern.She's perfect :)

  14. Gorgeous! Much better than its former self. You did a fantastic redo.


  15. It looks great!! Wohoo! Love the fabric too:) Can't beat the price!

  16. You have been featured at House of Hepworths' Weekly Link Party because you are awesome!

    Stop on by, grab a button, and shout how awesome you are from the rooftops!


    Allison @ House of Hepworths

  17. Your chair is fantastic - LOVE the shape! I'm such a vintage-y lover, myself! I re-did a vintage chair, too, only with just a slip cover! I also really love your fabric! Super pretty! If you want to see mine, it's here:


    Have a super day and congrats on your feature at HOH!

    Becky B.
    Organizing Made Fun

  18. I LOVE the mid century modern lines in this chair. How cool!!!

  19. Very impressive! Love your fabric choice. Congrats on being featured at HoH!

  20. i have had a chair in my garage for 5 years. yesterday my daughter bought a little sofa similar in style to your chair for 20.00 at GW. last night she started taking the fabric off! i am a chicken butt. you and my daughter? not chicken butts.

    thanks for sharing your amazing make over.