Welcome back to day 2 of Re-upholstery 201. If you missed day 1, you can catch it here!
Yesterday - - we completely stripped the chair, laid our old pieces of fabric on our new fabric and cut the new fabric out with extra clearance all the way around each piece. Now it’s time to get to the fun part!!!
Now’s the time to pull out your tools! Chalk, scissors, staple gun (my favorite tool!) and eventually your sewing machine!
Now, looking back at when you took your fabric off your chair, what was the very last piece you took off? It’s going to either be your front back of your chair, or the seat support. We are going to tackle both of these today.
Let’s start with the seat support or the part that is under your cushion. On this piece, it is very important that you copy your pattern piece (your original fabric piece) as closely as possible. This will help you line up all those frame supports that you are going to run into. You will notice that this is made up of two different pieces of fabric sewn together right along the front. If you want to just use one solid piece of your new fabric, you can do that, but just know that your going to use 1/2 a yard of your pretty fabric on a place that no one is ever going to see. It is very simple to just sew your pretty fabric to piece of canvas with a straight stitch.
(ok - - forgive me on this one - - but I did my chair out of order and had to go back and fix things, so disregard that the chair is mostly done - - just look at the details!! Do as I say, not as I do!)
Lay this fabric along the bottom of your chair and down the front. It might be time for you to refer back to your pictures again to see how they have attached this fabric. It should be stapled on both sides to the frame under the arms and then at the back to the frame. You will have to make slits to fit it around the front of the arm. These will be angled slits that you will fold under or tuck in between the cushioning.
The fabric that folds down the front of the chair will be stapled directly to the front of the chair far enough over that the arm fabric will cover up the staples.
All you have left on this piece, is to attach it to the bottom of your chair. Simply wrap the fabric around the bottom of your chair, smooth it out, and staple it along the bottom of your chair.
Now, lets move on to the front back of your chair - - this is probably the easiest part of your re-upholstery job, so it’s great that it’s the first thing we are going to do!! Refer back to your pictures to see exactly how it was attached. Was is smoothly wrapped around the back, or is the fabric pleated and bunched to make it work around some curves? You are going to re-create exactly what was done before.
Take your piece of new fabric that you have just cut out. Remember it is going to be a little bit larger than the piece you took off. You should have transferred all the slits from your original piece to your new fabric. These slits will be where the frame of the chair land and it will help you place your fabric and also ease around the bottom curves. You might notice that sometimes when they put this piece on - -there is a “scrap” piece of fabric sewn on the bottom of the pretty fabric. This is just one way for furniture manufacturers to save some money by only having the pretty fabric in the places where you can see it - - if you are tight on fabric, this is a great option for you too. I generally just use one piece of fabric - - I don’t sew the extra piece on. Mainly because I seem to always have enough fabric and because I don’t have a lot of patience so I would rather just do it all in one piece!!
So, back to that piece of new fabric. Lay if over the front back of your chair, lining up the slits with the frame. Smooth your piece out and stuff the bottom portion of the fabric between the seat and back cushion. On this particular chair, the fabric just wraps completely around the entire top of the chair. On chairs that have wing backs, you will actually push the fabric through a slit between the back and the wing. This will be stapled at the back of the chair….BUT you will need to upholster the wing back portion first so that when you staple the back fabric, you can pull it around past the slit. ( I know that all sounds kind of confusing, but if you watched as you took your fabric off, you will know exactly where you need to staple it!!
You will be tucking your fabric in around the arms - -this fabric should tuck all the way through to the back so that you can staple it to the frame at the back of your chair.
Once you have laid your fabric over the back and you are satisfied with the placement (as in you love it so much, you wish it was already finished) then it is time to start stapling. You can staple all the way around the top and the sides of the chair - -making sure that your fabric is smooth as you go.
Now all you have left is to staple the bottom. Pull the fabric from the back and make sure it is laying nicely - - not too tight and not too loose. You are going to staple this DOWN - - when I say DOWN, I mean DON’T pull the fabric up to the frame….PULL IT DOWN and staple it. If you pull it up, you will find that you have a funny gap when you are finished with your chair, if you pull it down, you will not have a gap.
Are you getting a vision of what your chair is going to look like - - this is a fabulous time to really envision what the final product is going to look like and keep yourself excited to finish the project!! Join me tomorrow as we tackle the arms. Don’t be nervous - - they aren’t as hard as they look!!