Friday, July 19, 2013

Upholstered Seat

I recently enrolled in an 8 week upholstery course at my local Community College. I may have made myself bleed in the first 5 minutes of the class but I had a really great time throughout.

The premise of the class was bringing along a basic chair that we could pull apart and put back together. All the while learning upholstery tips and tricks along the way.

It became clear to me when I arrived that I was the only person who had actually listened to the instructions and brought a basic seat. There were people in this class with rocking chairs, diamond-tufted-wing-tipped chairs, vinyl chairs, whole sets of dining chairs, you name it it was there.

As it turns out I was one of the only new people and pretty much everyone else had been doing the class for term after term (some for years). I suspect that this is another one of those hobbies, like sewing, where once you start you to-do-list just keeps growing. Uh Oh.

So let's start with the tools. The course outline had included the basic tools which were required for the class plus the materials were explained once the teacher saw the chair. Fiance was so excited for me to need tools that he made a Bunnings trip especially and bought me everything on the list - including a toolkit to carry it all in - cute! My favourite is the staple gun. If ever you're going to try upholstery get yourself one of these. It's lightweight, fits perfectly in your hand and plus - it's a staple gun - what's not to love!

As you can see from the pictures below it was a pretty straightforward process. I spent 2 classes (4 hours total) just pulling out all the tacks on this chair.  There were tacks for the fabric to stay on. Tacks to keep the hessian in place and tacks to keep the webbing in place. It's deceptive how many tacks go into this kind of thing!

Then it was onto reconstructing the chair starting with the webbing. This was weaved over and under for extra support. Then I had to sew the springs to the webbing to keep them secure. This is the only step I don't have a photo of sorry! It all came together so quickly. I secured the springs down to the frame with string and more staples.

My teacher helped me sew the springs into a crown shape. Which is great if you want a chair with a crown shape but I found it way too high. I stretched the hessian over the top and sewed the springs in but still hated it so I pulled it apart at home and condensed the springs so it's not so much of a crown. It's still noticeable but it's better now.

Then I put the original cushion back over the hessian and stretched calico over the top and stapled in place.

So I guess I was one of those people who didn't want to use upholstery fabric (even though it was highly recommended). I knew it was only going to live in my sewing room at my sewing table so it didn't really matter what type of fabric I used since I can now recover it as many times as I like.

So I chose Joel Dewberry's Herringbone print that I used on this dress. It looked black on but it was very clearly navy once it arrived. I still like it all the same.

I kept the original fabric to use as my pattern piece being super careful that I had one of the herringbone lines running right the length of the CF. Strangely enough cutting the fabric was one of the most nerve-wracking parts of the process because I didn't want to screw it up. Irrational considering how often I cut fabric.

And there you have it. Fabric cut out and stapled securely on and one upholstered seat ready for me to sew on.

It was well worth the time spent to do this and I've already got a telephone seat lined up for my next upholstery project. Stay tuned!


  1. Can I sense a new hobby starting here? The chair looks fantastic with its new makeover...J

    1. I think so! Thanks, it's also comfy which is a plus when you sit at your machine for long periods of time.

  2. Very impressive chair makeover and love your choice of fabric.

  3. It's addictive, be warned ;-) Love your chair, what makeover! I like the higher seat, it looks more comfortable that way.

    1. Thanks! Luckily Upholstery has to compete with my obsession for sewing so it can never too out of hand (hopefully).