Before I go into all the upholstering I’ve been doing, I have a very important announcement about a new addition to my family.
We got a cat. His name is Bubba, and he’s awesome. Here are some pictures to prove how awesome he is.
OK, on to other things….
I like to think that I’m a relatively talented person in the fabric and sewing department. I mean, I have a degree in Fashion Design, for christsakes. But for all my ample talents, I’ve never tried my hand at upholstery. So I gave it a try (over several weeks, spanning different levels of difficulty), and here are the results in order of difficulty.
Project One: I’ve had this chair for a few years. It was my grandmother’s. Generally I love my grandmother’s slightly offbeat sense of decor, but the seat of this chair just wasn’t doing it for me.
So I started by ripping off the faded pink fabric. Side note: I highly recommend buying one of those staple remover jobbies. It makes the job a hell of a lot easier.
under the pink fabric, I found this:
WHAT?!? How many mother-effing layers of fabric are on this thing!?! Also, what is that? Is that a TOWEL!?!?!
At this point, I sort of just threw my hands up. The green fabric and the towel (*shudder*) was tacked down with little baby nails, and I didn’t feel like ripping off a whole other layer of fabric… and a gross towel. So I just used the green fabric as my base point and put new fabric over it. I chose a blue and black buffalo check that I had in my stash.
Covering a seat is pretty easy:
- remove seat, rip off old fabric
- iron new fabric
Here is the final result.
Inspired by the success of project one, I bought these chairs from my new favorite internet space, Everything but the House (www.ebth.com). The chairs are a good size, and have really cool detailing on the back. However the seats came from some terrible hellhole of fabric from the past. So it had to go.
I had some fabric in my stash that would work, but not enough of it to cover all 4 of the chairs, so I decided to mix and match. This is a flat weave poly with a water resistant coating on it, so I’m hoping that it’s easy to wipe down and care for, etc. (Update: so far so good). These cushions had a little bit more detail (sides and piping) that would require some sewing.
My process was slightly different for this project:
- remove seat from chair in order to measure out for new pattern
- determine that I didn’t want to stop watching Gilmore Girls, meaning that I didn’t actually want to do any sewing.
- decide not to rip off old fabric, and not care about silly details like piping or cushion sides.
- iron, cover, staple.
So yeah, I got a little lazy and decided to just cover the whole thing instead of making the pattern and piping. Now that I think of it, I might not have had enough fabric to make the piping. Anyway, the piping that is covered can’t be felt when sitting on the chairs, and they look pretty baller, AND I was able to watch Gilmore Girls whilst crafting, so that’s always a plus.
This office chair was another great find from Everything but the House. I like the brushed chrome accents and the short back, AND the fact that it doesn’t look like a corporate drone chair. But the fabric, youch. What was it about this green fabric in the ‘60s-‘70s? Did it hypnotize people into thinking it was stylish?
I started ripping the fabric off. I knew going in that this wasn’t going to be an easy peasy job like covering a chair seat, but I soldiered on. I was prepared for the sewing and the gluing, but not the sheer amount of hulking strength I needed to get out all the staples. This was before I bought the staple getter outer, and the flat head screwdriver was NOT cutting it. I also broke a seam ripper on this chair.
LOOK AT THEM ALL!!!
The basic process goes like this:
- remove staples (this actually took me 3 days)
- rip apart seams with seam ripper
- iron new fabric and add interfacing. I only used interfacing on a few pattern pieces to be sure the fabric would be stable.
- lay old pattern pieces on new fabric. I used a black stretchy corduroy, and a red and black buffalo check flannel.
- sew pieces together that need to be sewn. In this case that’s the arms, the side panels on the chair, etc.
- start stapling
Now it’s a fabulous new chair!
I also made a pillow out of some left over blue buffalo check from project 1.
Bonus round: In case you were wondering what my grandmother’s off beat sense of decor means, see the below photos of these bad boys. This is my inheritance. I chose these things, so I suppose I share the off beat sensibility.