Upholstery Pop Quiz: Repairing Torn Chair Arms

After my Upholstery Pop Quiz post last week, Catherine emailed me with a photo of her niece’s thrift store find and it’s pitiful arms. Looking at this chair, it’s hard to imagine how the front of the arms became so worn while the rest of the fabric is in good condition.
I’d have to get my hands on it to really figure this out, but here goes.

The place to go to find more fabric is the back panel. The chair can easily be backed up to a wall, so replacing the back panel with a similar color and finish wouldn’t be the worst thing to happen to that chair.
However, the back panel doesn’t look to be as wide as the arms are long. There won’t be enough fabric to replace the entire arm panels. I would try to concentrate on the front half of the top of the arms.

My first attempt would be to remove the back panel, cut two pieces large enough to cover the torn sections of the arms and finish the cut edges by carefully turning them under and fusing a “hem” under with a piece of fusible hem tape like Heat n’ Bond ($1.69 a roll).

WAIT! Be sure the iron is set to the right temperature so you don’t melt the fabric.

Now, using a piece of the fusible interfacing such as Pellon’s Wunder Under (available by the half yard at the fabric store), carefully fuse the new piece of fabric on top of the old torn fabric by placing the interfacing on top of the torn arm, then place the repair fabric on top of that. Now, very carefully press the two together using a hot iron until the top fabric is fused on to the chair arm. Wunder Under is a web like interfacing that will melt and fuse two pieces of fabric together using a hot iron.
If it was my repair, I’d now go back and carefully and invisibly stitch all around the outside edges of the patches so it will hold longer.

Obviously, this repair will be noticeable, but for a $20.00 chair, it’s not that bad.
The bigger problem is the worn cording at the top of the front arm panel. Without taking the chair completely apart, that torn fabric is nearly (I say NEARLY, not COMPLETELY) impossible to fix.
See how this works and if it works out, send me photos so we can all see how it turned out.

Posted in chair, Headline Project, how-to | Tagged , , , , , | 3 Comments

3 Responses to Upholstery Pop Quiz: Repairing Torn Chair Arms

  1. Cat says:

    I get it and I love the fusible stuff ideafor the entire “patch”. will keep you updated! thanks!

  2. jeff mattinglhy says:

    you can also fix the cord you might get fabric from the bottom side
    take off black cover and try to get some fabric from the edge of the underside you dont need a wide strip just a little long
    take the stip and lay it on back side up on top of arm hand sew it down end to end them fold down over the cord fold under and stich up against the bottom side of cord if you get enough fabric you can sew the strip starting on the side of the cushion and up and over the arm to the outside arm
    if you take your time you can do this and never notice it

  3. shellyleer says:

    Thanks Jeff. Good idea!