While I was visiting my parents and younger brother last week I helped Mum to re-upholster a couple of chairs that used to belong to my Gran and Grandad. It was only the seat part that was upholstered so it was quite simple even though neither of us has done much of that sort of work before. Dad does have some upholstery experience though, and gave us a few pointers along the way. This is how we did it:
Mum and I used a flathead screwdriver and pliers to remove the old staples, first from the backing fabric and then from the fabric covering the seat itself. I found the easiest way to remove them was to poke the tip of the screwdriver under the staple then twist the screwdriver so it partially lifts the staple. I then used the pliers to pull it out.
This was definitely the most time consuming part of the process for us – it took a couple of hours, but we didn’t mind as we had plenty of tea and good conversation.
Luckily the foam was still in good condition and wasn’t very worn at all so we decided not to replace it.
Mum had some pretty teal coloured corduroy that she wanted to use to cover the seats. We used the old piece of upholstery fabric as a template to cut out the new piece of fabric.
Mum lined up the fabric on the seat covers then we flipped them over and began stapling. To do this you start by stapling in the middle of one edge. We measured the middle points of the seat frame and notched the middle points on the fabric so we could line it up easily. Then staple the middle of the opposite edge, pulling the fabric really firmly as you go. Then do the same for the other two opposing sides. Continue adding more staples going from one side to the opposite side until you’re nearly at the corners. We were using Dad’s staple gun hooked up to an air compressor, which was significantly louder and scarier than the little non-powered staple gun I’ve used at home!
We worked out how to do the corners by observing how they had been done previously when we were removing the old covers. We pulled the centre of the corner of fabric over the corner of the chair, stapled it in place then folded over both sides of the corner. We trimmed some of the fabric from each side within the folds before stapling it down to reduce some of the bulk so it would sit nice and flat.
The last part was the easiest bit. Again using the old upholstery as a guide, Mum cut a piece of backing fabric to fit on the base of the chair and folded over the raw edges, pressing them flat with an iron. We simply stapled this to the back of the seat and then put the seat back in the chair.
I’d be really interested to know if any of you have done any upholstery projects before. Do tell! Is there anything we did that you would advise against? Do you have any tips?
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