My 8 tips to reupholstering like a pro

You guys! Look at this chair I rescued from the garbage recently!

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My parents-in-law owned it for like 50 years and now there came time to say good-bye. I literally rescued it on its way to the garbage. And why not? If I messed up I could always send it  down that way 🙂

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First I dismantled it, removed the old upholstery and everything old, stinky and dusty from the inside until I was left with a frame and a “sitting area” that looked functional (there were springs and a cushion that were in a pretty favourable condition). I also sanded off the old finish on the handles.
Then I started assembling the new version of my chair together. I cut out a layer of foam to fit both upper and lower parts, then I covered it with a layer of batting which I stapled on the edges until everything was sitting firmly and steadily (Sadly, this is the only picture I have of the process).

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And here is the finished project!

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It is really soft and comfortable to sit on

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I was planning to sell it but it became the family favourite from day 1, so I guess it is staying with us 🙂

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The pillow is also me-made 🙂 I think it complements this chair so well!

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I am very pleased with how this chair looks now! And I am so happy that instead of going to the garbage it will serve people for many more years.

I don’t call myself a professional but I like how my recent reupholstery projects turn out. So, here I collected some of the tips I figured out so far that can help to reupholster like a pro 🙂

  1. Don’t overestimate yourself. If you have never reupholstered before don’t start with a sofa! Don’t ask me how I know it 🙂 
  2. Don’t remove the old slipcover straight away. Study the piece well to know how and where it was attached so that you can do the same later on.
  3. Keep the old slipcover so that you can use it as a pattern later on. OR, like in the case with this chair the only pattern I needed was the side of the top part. So instead of using the old slipcover I just copied it right from the chair on some paper. Pattern helps everything fit well.
  4. After you cut everything out don’t start sewing straight away! Try fit it first securing the fit with the sewing needles. Sew when you know it’s a good fit.
  5. Choose fabric that is not too thin and that has some stratchy-ness to it. That way you avoid wrinkles and a saggy look after someone has sitten on it.
  6. Make sure your project looks good at any stage of your work (and from every angle, even upside down). I learned this rule at the painting course years ago. My teacher said, “A good painting always looks good no matter what stage you are at. The progress is all about filling in the details”
    Same here. I know it feels tempting to upholster on top of that old stinky cover. And that no one is going to see how you put the batting inside. But small details like that create the “mood” of the finished piece. Don’t be perfect but do it well at all stages.
  7.  Always steam iron the seams when sewing the slipcover. It makes a huge difference.
  8. Use a good pneumonic gun. Staples have to sit well in the wood (1-2 cm from each other).

Anyone has more tips to add?

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