How to Upholster a Chair: Part 1

Today is the first installment of How to Upholster a Chair. More specifically, I will be showing you, step by step, how to reupholster (and diamond tuft) this dreamy blue open armed side chair. After years of upholstery experience, I guarantee this is a good beginning upholstery project. In fact, if you’re trying this at home, without the help of an instructor, I would suggest skipping the diamond tufting. But for the sake of making this turquoise-y fabulous, I decided to dress it up.

Here’s the background: While attending The Upholstery Fair last summer in Lafayette, Indiana, I purchased this old, beat up side chair for about $10.00. I stuck it in my garage stockpile and there she stayed. When September rolled around, my Beginning Upholstery Class filled right up. As sometimes happens, a lady came to the first class without a chair to reupholster. I quickly ran up the stairs (at that time, I was teaching three to four students in my basement), grabbed the old beater and sold it to her for $20.00.

Let’s call her Lisa. Lisa began working on her chair, but had some work and family things that got in the way of our upholstery class. She tried hard to continue, but finally gave up and left me with the partially finished chair in lieu of the last class fee. Long story, short, it was the perfect chair for this very project. Since Lisa had already re-webbed the seat, I’m using a webbing tutorial I did long ago over on Curbly.

As I look back at this photo, I am not thrilled with my web attachment. At the time, I was trying to lure DIY-ers to the wonderful world of upholstery. In so doing, I showed the attachment of the jute webbing on the inside of the edge rolls. The edge roll should be removed and the webbing and burlap needs to be attached to the top of the seat rails and then the edge roll re-attached. Shamey, shamey, Shelly!
Do as I now say, not as I then did.

Your homework for today is to go to Curbly and read the entire post on rebuilding the chair seat.

Just to show you that we really did take that UGH! chair down to the bare bones, here are two early photos before Lisa bid us adieu.

Lisa did a great job stretching and weaving the webbed seat.

Tomorrow: After padding up the seat, you’ll see how to cut the fabric for back and arm posts. It’s trickier than you think.

Posted in reupholstery, seating, tutorials, upholstery | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

4 Responses to How to Upholster a Chair: Part 1

  1. Erin says:

    thanks for posting this series. i can’t wait for the other installments! i have a chair that i bought years six years ago to reupholster. i think i am finally ready, especially if I have your how-to to rely on!

  2. Janice says:

    Just wondering why you removed the springs?

  3. shellyleer says:

    This was decided by the student who started the chair. She left it to me with the new webbing. Instead of removing the webbing and starting over, I just decided to use the webbing and pad it out. I could have added the springs or sinuous (zigzag) springs.

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