This is how this beautiful chair started out...
It was being thrown out by the neighbors of some of our friends, when they saw it on the curb they called us! It was a beautiful shape and a solid frame but the fabric was faded and old. This photo was taken back when we lived in our tiny one-bedroom apartment, this was the living room/my studio...you can see why we were so desperate to move!
Commission husband to help you rip the entire thing apart...not as easy as you might think! These things were built like a rock back when they were built and upholstered by hand, it takes hours sometimes to get all the tacks out!
If you find a piece that is old but clean you can actually keep the original batting (sometimes you'll find hay or horsehair!). It keeps the authentic shape and is MUCH more comfortable and long-lasting than battings you can buy today, plus there's no off-gassing etc.
Putting it back together...
The first step is always going to be any refinishing you want to do to the frame, I wanted this design to be a little funky so I refinished the feet in pink to contrast with the BEAUTIFUL fabric I'd found.
When you start re-upholstering you will usually recover the seat first, the back of the seat tucks under the chair-back. Make sure your fabric is tight but not so tight that if someone sits on it it will rip! Work with the fabric to make nice corners and to avoid any rumpling.
The next step is usually to put in the inside-back, this chair's was a little different than usual because of the unique shape. You can pull it under the seat-back and around the sides, all of the edges will be covered later.
Usually you won't find chairs that need pleating like this. Originally this part was covered by panels but after we took the chair apart they were unusable...stuff like that happens, I think it looks even better now!
The last surface to cover will be the back, I do it the old fashioned way with cardboard strips and face-stapling.
The veeeeeery last step is the trim, you can buy "gimp" at craft stores or you can make your own (more on that later)! You simply hot-glue the trim over any areas that required visible staples. Believe me, hot glue will hold the trim forever. Take your time on this step, if you mess up you will never be able to get it off the fabric! Just be careful and take your time to work in small lengths at a time.
This piece had the original springs in it and was SOOOOO comfortable, it's definitely one of my favorite pieces. It sold from my shop and is now living in Arkansas.
And there you have it! Reupholstering is labor intensive and takes a long time but there is a great sense of accomplishment at the end of it. It's also a great way to save an old quality piece that is intended for the dump. Now if you have a spot and can't find exactly what you want you can make it yourself! I hope you enjoyed this before and after, stay tuned for more upholstery tutorials!