An old chair gets new threads

First, a very special announcement. My birthday was last Saturday and Dave (aka Mr Wonderful) gave me the best birthday present in the history of birthday presents – he asked me to marry him! We are both on top of the world and I am looking forward to wedding planning and some wedding project blogging!

And now back to our regularly scheduled program. This chair has been the most labourious and rewarding project I’ve tackled so far in my DIY endeavours. I’ve wanted to get stuck into furniture for a while and have a few pieces I’ve found at second-hand shops awaiting some TLC.  This open armed side chair was $12.99 and when I saw it I knew it had potential. After reading about the 7 Essential Pieces on Good Bones, Great Pieces I have been on the lookout for all 7 so at least now I can tick ‘Occasional Chair’ of the list!

Having no upholstery experience whatsoever I did what I always do – I googled. I found this tutorial on Apartment Therapy and this tutorial (plus many more great tutorials) on Mod Home Ec. I also used a bit of good old brain power and paid careful attention to how the chair was originally upholstered as I removed all the upholstery tacks, staples, fabric and padding. I was able to use the original padding under the foam cover and I was also able to put fresh batting straight over some old fabric on the back rest as it was in really good condition. This isn’t a complete tutorial* because I think the other tutorials mentioned above have much better techniques. I tried my hardest to do everything correctly but in some parts I just kind of made it up and hoped for the best. It all worked out but it may not be ‘proper’. I hope this post might serve as inspiration to someone who may think upholstering a chair is too hard – it’s not and if I can do it you can too! Just choose a simple style to start with like I did and get yourself a good staple gun. And if you have any questions, please ask!

*For a kind of tutorial the step-by-step photos are below – just click on the slideshow.

Materials used for this project

Open armed side chair

2 meters of upholstery-worthy fabric (choose something very sturdy and long-wearing).

1 meter of cream hessian (burlap for those of you in the USA)

1 meter of polyester batting

Medium-duty staple gun with staples (I used 8mm)

Pliers

Scissors

Fabric covered button making kit

Large needle and tough thread (I used quilting thread)

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