Monday, November 16, 2009

Finally Finished...

Do you remember that blickity-blank-blank chair that I bought at a local flea market and started refinishing a few weeks ago? Yes, that one. You will remember that I repainted him two weekends ago, after a dastardly first attempt, and the only thing left to do was dress him in some new, more contemporary garb. At that time I mentioned that I was a little nervous about starting the reupholstering. Generally I'm fairly confident around fabric, but upholstering is something I've never done, so I was hoping it would go well. I am happy to say that little chair and I made up this weekend. Yes, we are once again on good terms. I might go so far as to say I've fallen in love with him all over again. If my husband was a jealous man, he'd be worried.

This is how it played out... This past weekend I committed my husband and I to reupholster said chair. Sometimes these projects are not marriage strengthening. Six years into our marriage we wallpapered and tiled all in one month, and it almost spelled the end of an otherwise beautiful relationship. We committed then and there, because of our love for our children and each other, never to tile or wallpaper together again. Old memories die hard. Because neither of us had any experience upholstering, I was afraid of the tension that might be generated from such a project. I'm here to say, those feelings were unfounded. We breezed through this project with nary a cross word spoken. Not only did the chair get a fashionable redo, but my husband and I remain very happily married. It was a successful weekend all around.

Here's the run-down. When I first bought the chair I realized I would need to add more "filler" on his seat because he sagged. It's nothing to get embarrassed about. Age does that to you. Don't ask me how I know that. I bought a 2" seat cushion from Hobby Lobby to add a little cushiony goodness to his seat.

Then I covered the cushion up with the filler that had been on the chair originally...

From there I used the fabric that had been on the chair originally as a pattern (adding additional fabric to the edges because I knew I would need more fabric to go around that added cushion) and cut out the seat fabric. I thought adjusting the fabric to the chair would be difficult, but because I have experience with fabric, I know that it is a "forgiving" medium so I could stretch it a little here and pull it a little there to make things work nicely.

I tacked the fabric down with a cheapo $7 upholstery stapler/tacker that I bought at Hancock's Fabric. It worked like a charm. Then I bought some carpet tacks at Home Depot, which are longer than upholstery tacks, and hammered those all around the bottom inside edges of the chair. The reason I used the carpet tacks was because, on the top of the chair especially, I was going through multiple layers of thick fabric so I needed the longer "nails."

I remember complaining as I was taking off the fabric on the original chair that I had to remove tens of thousands of upholstery tacks. I thought it was excessive. However, as I was tacking and hammering I realized I was putting in just as many staples and tacks as had been there originally. I kept imagining someone sitting down on the chair and having every seam bust apart, tacks pinging around the room, etc. Thinking of the generous frame of Great Aunt Hulda alone, made me add 103 more tacks... (just kidding -- I don't have an Aunt Hulda -- but you know what I mean...)

At this point I was singing the happy song, because upholstering the bottom part of the chair had gone swimmingly!

For the top part of the chair I again added little more substance to the back cushion and tacked it into place using a needle and embroidery floss...

Again, I used the old fabric as a pattern and cut the new fabric out, cutting generous seams, and tacking it into place with the stapler and then securing better with the tacks. I trimmed all around the edges.

Then I made a pattern out of paper for the back cover. I used the pattern to cut out a piece of fusible interfacing and ironed it to the upholstery fabric. Then I cut the upholstery fabric about 1 inch wider than the interfacing and turned the upholstery fabric over along the edge of the interfacing to make a nice finish on the edge of the back cover. I tacked the cover to the back of the chair and then applied some trim with a hot glue gun to cover the edges.

And now for the finished product...

Approximate Cost:
Just trying to keep it real...
Chair - $34
Fabric - $25
Trim - $3
Tacks, staples - $3
Extra cushioning - $10
Stain/paint remover - $5
Sandpaper - $3
Primer & paint - $10
Total: $93

I was hoping it wouldn't cost this much, but alas, it did. Next time I'll shop at Goodwill or a garage sale for the piece of furniture. Had it been an all wood chair it would have been much less expensive. Still, I'm very happy with the result...

Here's the before...

And, the after...

Check out the following DIY linky parties:
"Trash to Treasure Tuesday" at Reinvented
"Do It Yourself Day" at A Soft Place to Land
"Toot your Horn Tuesday" at A Silly Little Sparrow