Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Reupholstered Chair Tutorial

In case you missed my guest post over at Bunch Of Bishops  here is my project for the Fabric round of the One Artsy Mama Craft Contest! The projects are looking so AMAZING and I hope I can hang in there a little longer! Here is my project for the fabric round of the contest.

 My Mom found these chairs for me at a yard sale down in Vegas. I bought 8 chairs for $100 dollars, which means I paid 12.50 a chair! 

Here is my before picture.

I knew I wanted to recover one of the chairs for the fabric round of the contest but I had one problem. Me and sewing don't get along. I don't like it and it doesn't like me. Sewing is my weakness when it comes to crafting. I don't have a lot of patience for it. I took a sewing class in college and my poor teacher, I think I stormed out of the room swearing every class period. Here is what I look like when I sew.
Scary right? ya, my family thinks the same thing. BUT I was determined to make it work. I called up a friend who is in the middle of recovering a wing back chair for her living room and asked her to guide me through the process of making the cushion.

The first thing I did was repaint the chair an heirloom white.
In order to recover my chair I had to take my cushion and back rests off my chair and pull the existing fabric off.
To do this you will want one of these. This is called an awl and it is specifally meant for pulling out upholstry staples.
If your only going to be doing one small repolstry project you might be able to get away with just using a screw driver or whatever you have but if your you have a big project this is going to save you time and blisters in the long run.
After I had all my staples out of my cushion and center back pieces I pulled the fabric off.
I also labeled my back center pieces so I would know which one was front and back. You will also want to label your fabric pieces especially if you are doing a bigger project. This will save you lots of confusion and frustration later.
My next step was to unpick my cushion.
My cushion was originally two pieces of fabric sewn together. I unpicked the seam so that I would have a pattern to copy. If you are reapolstering something most likely you will have to do some sewing. 

After the fabric is taken apart you will need to iron it out so that it is nice and flat. That white string there above the fabric is the cording. Don't throw it away we will be reusing it!
After all your fabric is ironed, position it on your fabric according to what part of the print you want on your cushion.
Here are my two center back pieces centered on the damask print of the fabric. When you have them exactly where you want them pin it to keep them in place and using them as your guide cut your pattern out.
 After I had my two back center pieces cut I centered them on the back rest of the chair and began to staple.

Take your time on this it might take a while to get the fabric to layer just right.
Here is what they looked like when I was done
I don't know if you can see this picture but use as many staples as you need to!!! Ha!

Now on to the hard part... the sewing.
Here is my pattern for my cushion.
I needed to make the sides of my cushion and sew in my cording first. 
Here is a tip my friend taught me. If you need a piece of fabric that is longer than your cutting board and you will be using the entire length of the fabric. Fold you fabric in half and then cut! Did everyone else know that? Hopefully I am not showing how much of a newbie I am.
Here is the first cut after taking measurements!
The length of the sides of my cushion was longer than the entire length of my fabric so I had to cut another small piece of fabric and add on to the portion of fabric designated for my sides. There would be a seam but it wouldn't be that noticeable and it could be positioned to where it was on the back of the cushion.
Here I am sewing my smaller piece to my longer piece.
Always iron your seam so that it lays flat. This will take a lot for the bulk out of your seam and make the fabric easier to work with! Next we folded down one side of our fabric 1.25 inches and ironed to make a guide so that we could have a line to follow when sewing our cording in. Make sure your fold is the same length all the way down the side of the fabric by checking several spots with a ruler.
Now you will line up your cording right next to the crease you made with your iron. Make sure your cording is on the shorter side of the crease.
Then you will take the shorter edge of fabric and fold it over the cording. Make sure that your cording is not on top of your crease. That crease is your guide for sewing. You wont be able to sew on it if the cording is in the way. Pin your fabric as you get your cording situated so that it stays in place. You will need to use a zipper foot to be able to get your needle as close to the cording as you can so that it stays tight. 
 I was actually surprised at how easy this was!
Here it is when I was finished.
After your cording in sewn in we can start sewing the fabric for the seat to the sides. To begin you will want to find the center of your seat fabric and the center of your sides. Fold your fabric in half to find the middle. 
 I marked it so that I could find it easily
Then you will pin your sides to your seat lining your middle up.   You will be working with the inside of your fabric. If you are looking at your piece of fabric with the cording the smaller side that your cording is on is the one you will be pinning to the edges of your seat. Make sure that like sides are facing each other!
I pinned one side and then turned it over to make sure I was doing it right.
The corners are the hardest part to sew around so make sure you pin them really well!
OOPS! I ran into a little bump. My sides were not long enough.
I had to cut an extra strip of fabric and add it on. This was probably the hardest part for me because I had to unstitch the cording a little bit on each side, try to add the fabric on and then make the cording match up. If you do your math right you shouldn't have to do this. After you cushion is all pinned you can start sewing the two pieces together. You will still want to use the zipper foot so that you can stay as close to the cording as possible. 
The corners are going to be the hardest part to get around. I found that it was easier if I ended my stitch by back stitching and then turned it instead of just keeping my needle down and turning. Do whatever works best for you!
Here is my cushion after the sewing was all done! I did go back and hand stitch a few places where I didn't sew as close to the cording as I should have.
This is my VERY first repholstering project!I am not going to lie. I am proud of myself!

Here is my end product!


  1.'re amazing!! You do stuff I could only dream of. But you're definitely inspiring me to try!

    1. Yeah Sara! Thank you so much! Hope you are doing well with that little one in our belly!

  2. That is a GORGEOUS chair! Absolutely gorgeous.
    new follower :)

  3. Love love love it! So cute! Awesome job:-)

  4. Great Job and I am IMPRESSED with anyone that can sew! Love this "shabby chic" chair!

    1. Ha Ha Ha I am not great at sewing so I was impressed with myself! I am heading over to you site now!

  5. You are so amazing and creative! Wish you lived closer so you could help me out! :) xoxo

    1. Thank you Kristina! Wish I did too! That would be so much fun!

  6. Such a great makeover! Visiting from live.laugh.rowe!

    Dana {}

    1. Thanks Dana! I am heading over to your site now!

  7. LOVE it!!!! love your blog!!! totally adorable!

  8. Can we be best friends? We have the EXACT same taste in interior design. Like, to a "t"
    Megan @