Friday, 19 December 2014

Crafting: Taking on Upholstery - Behind the Scenes

Firstly, apologies for the dodgy lighting in these photos! As it turns out, J and I became quite obsessed with this chair project, and spent most evenings working on it together resulting in drab winter lighting and hastily taken snaps before we carried on causing chaos!

Anyway, one of the most useful things I found in all my online searching for reupholstering a chair was the abundance of photos. I don't think I found a single DIY or post anywhere that showed the same chair twice, but it turned out that I could piece together a pretty good idea of how to do this chair from several other styles.

So with that in mind, I can only show you these photos and the tips that we learnt along the way, but this is by no means a how to!

1. Don't be overwhelmed! This photo shows the underside of the chair after removing the dust cover, and though it looked like a crazy mess, we just had to take it one step at a time.

2. Have patience, and lots of it. You will remove more staples than you ever thought possible. I read this so many times, and still couldn't quite believe it. Removing the old fabric can be frustrating - especially if you're trying to preserve it to use as a template for your new fabric - no ripping it off willy nilly!

3. I found making the cushion the easiest part of the chair - back in my comfort zone with my beloved sewing machine! I unpicked the original cushion and used the pieces as templates for the new fabric, and even used the original zip as it was still perfectly functional and the colour was neutral.

4. Buy a good staple gun! Ahhh possibly the biggest lesson of all for us! My staple gun just wasn't up to the challenge, and if you were to take the chair apart again now you'd see all sorts of wonky stapling. But, we did get there, and I now know why so many Youtube videos show people using hard core power tools!

5. Double welt piping is pretty neat. I'd already made piping for the cushion cover, so was resentful at having to make more - especially double welt as it takes a while! Saying that though, it comes together really easily, and man it looks good once glued into place! The amount of ugly stapling and general wonkiness it covers is amazing.

6. Tack everything into place before you commit to stapling. We took this part pretty seriously, and even pinned the wadding on perfectly before stapling it into place. It takes time but is worth it - the inside curve of the back was a nightmare to get right and we probably re-pinned it half a dozen times.

7. You know I mentioned more staples than you could imagine? This is the second bowl full of what we removed. If you reupholster a chair, you will hate staples by the end of it. I know I do.

8. And finally, if you own a pet, don't ever expect to enjoy your finished project! As I mentioned at the beginning of this project, Pixel claimed the chair as soon as I got it home, and throughout this DIY she's been pretty grumpy. When the final staple was in place, she wasted no time in taking the chair back, and I can count on one hand the times I've been able to sit in it in peace!

I can't wait to show you the finished chair now - check back soon for a cliched (but totally necessary) before and after post :)


  1. I love this process, crafting is such fun and is so therapeutic. I wish you all the best with the finished product. I'm a new follower of yours and I'm excited to see the finished product. Best wishes.

    1. Thank you so much Abigail :) I can't wait to share the finished chair now! x


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