Sometimes when you want the perfect chair you just have to go ahead and create your own. Well, maybe not make; but reupholster one!
My super awesome neighbor gave me this super awesome chair! Isn’t it adorable?!
OK…maybe adorable isn’t the correct term to describe the chair in this state. But, bare with me! Look past the fake velvet fabric and the mauve color…look at the bones of the chair…look at what the chair could be.
Now that I at least have the bones for my perfect chair I began hunting for the perfect fabric to go with it. Being stationed in Germany meant not a lot of access to fabric stores…well that may have been more about the language barrier, I am sure Germany has many fabric stores! Anyway, this being the case, my fabric shopping was limited to the internet. Finding the perfect fabric is hard enough as it is, to then be limited to a few websites…it took A LOT of searching, hours and hours of searching (anyone who has ever gone fabric shopping can probably relate). And then, it happened, I scrolled upon the perfect fabric here.
The only problem now…color choices! The color I saw first was this green, not exactly a color I had been thinking of, nor would it be a color I would normally choose; but it is the one that made me fall in love with the fabric in the first place. However, they did have the same beautiful fabric in a gray…which is more my normal taste color wise. After a lot of deliberation (and a poll of family & friends) I chose…
GREEN!! A little out of my comfort zone; but our master bedroom is currently a lot of grays and could use a pop!
I used this infographic on reupholstering chairs to help decide how much of this perfect fabric I needed to purchase. The specific shape of my chair is not on here, so I went with what appeared to be the closest match (the top left). This one recommends to purchase about 7 yards of fabric. Now for the long, exciting wait of things being shipped to an APO…
IT ARRIVED! *insert happy dance here* and then it sat…and sat…and sat some more. Such is life with a toddler and a deployed husband. Traveling happened. Christmas happened. My little monster turned three. Preschool started. And there the chair (and fabric) sat. Then, in a last-ditch effort to finish eight million projects before my husband’s return, I got to work.
First step, (well besides the chair finding and the fabric shopping) is to start removing the lovely mauve fabric. To do this I mostly used this really handy tool, that is super hard to find, called a…BUTTER KNIFE! I know, complicated stuff here. I also used a seem ripper, for the sewn bits and pieces. To remove the fabric I would first take a picture of how it originally looked on the chair. I would start popping staples out with the butter knife and take another picture so I could later see how to get the new pieces on to the chair. Once the piece was fully removed from the chair I would write where the piece came from on the fabric with a sharpie. For example, when taking the fabric off the arm of the chair I would write “outside of left arm”. I repeated this until all of the fabric was removed from the chair and properly labeled.
After managing to pull staple after staple and getting all of the mauve off I decided to leave the existing padding attached to the bones. I was not a huge fan of the stain on the wooden legs or arms, so my second step was to sand these parts down and then re-stain them while the chair was still bare. I chose a dark, reddish stain that I had on hand and applied a few coats. I used yet another super obscure tool, called a Q-tip, to get into the deep grooves along the lengths of the legs.
While this sat and dried I began the third step, the daunting (and somewhat scary) task of cutting out the new pieces from my perfect fabric. To do this I would lay the mauve pieces onto the new fabric and trace out the pieces with a fabric pencil. Then, for the actual cutting, and let me tell you, that very first cut had me sweating bullets! I used fabric scissors and cut out all of the new pieces.
After all of the (high pressure) cutting was finished it was time for step four, piecing the chair back together…piece by piece. I used a staple gun to attach the new pieces of fabric onto the bones of the chair. There was some sewing involved, the piping along the front had to be sewn and then that piece had to be stitched to it’s connecting piece before it could be completely stapled down to the chair. It was easy sewing though, just two straight lines!
The hardest part was, of course, placing the last and final piece to this crazy, three-dimensional, chair puzzle. This final piece required a flexible metal tack strip (this is what it looks like close up ). I covered my hammer with a scrap piece of fabric and bent the tack strip into position. It was interesting, and there was blood involved (those claws are sharp); but I got it on and my chair had a back!
For the fifth and final step, I hammered the decorative tacks back in where the fabric on the arms meets the wood.
And there you have it! My chair is FINISHED! And looking beautiful, if I do say so myself!
It’s definitely nowhere near perfect; but considering this is my first reupholstery attempt ever I am super proud of what I have created.
end note: My fabric purchase was a tad over board. I had enough to turn our old television stand into an ‘end of the bed’ bench (it’s not at the end of our bed here, I know). And I still have extra fabric, future project(s) maybe?!
I hope this can inspire someone out there to turn a ‘not so pretty’ chair into something they are proud to display. Makes me a little sad I didn’t make it for the living room where it would get seen more.