First Real Reupholster Project
I’ve always kind of toyed with faux-upholstery because I’ve been too intimidated to try a real project.
- I’ve sewn fabric directly onto the existing upholstery job.
- I’ve painted a love seat.
- And I did a sort of half way job of reupholstery. I never really count this as a true reupholster project because it was just half of a couch and I didn’t have to do any sort of finishing to the thing.
I was always scared that I would end up taking the fabric off of the chair or couch and then immediately become overwhelmed and then push the torn apart furniture to the corner of the room and avoid it for weeks or months while I try to regain enough courage to attempt it again.
I ended up finding this awesome tufted wing back recliner chair at my local thrift store, and before I even had figured out a way to get it home (no way it would fit in my little sedan) I had already bought it. I mean, I couldn’t pass it up. A recliner chair that didn’t look like and ugly lump? Of course I wasn’t going to let it go! If I had to carry it back home I would have. Thankfully I was able to have a friend to come with a truck. Which is great because I also nabbed a great credenza that was half off… but I digress. When I bought it I knew I was going to have to reupholster it. It was covered in a blue pleather/vinyl type fabric that had a strange/gross thin film of… something over all of the chair. It was pretty bad. Since I wasn’t going to be able to re-cover it right away, I ended up just scrubbing at it with a bunch of cleaners to get as much of the film off as I could.
Here I’m about to start disassembling the chair. Nerve racking!
Some of the scrap from the chair. I should mention that this process was disgusting. the film that covered the whole chair had accumulated in each fold and crevice of this thing. My husband and I came to the conclusion that perhaps this chair was in a smokers home or something.
I carefully took each piece off. I wanted to make sure I could lay them out onto the new fabric to use them as patterns. At this point, even though it as pretty gross dealing with the nasty existing fabric, it was extremely satisfying to take the chair apart. I was having a lot more fun than I thought I would.
And then suddenly there was no more fabric for me to rip off anymore. And the reality that I was going to have to cut new pieces and stretch, tuft, sew, etc. them onto this naked chair started to sink in. And then the urge to slowly push it into the corner to let “future Rachel” deal with it started to bubble up. Thankfully, I was able to push that feeling back down and soldier on.
There we go! Looking better already! Almost done! Not. At this point I was really panicking–was I really going to be able to do this? Sure I tufted that headboard before, but this felt very different for some reason.
And here I was thinking, “Oh my gosh, I’m doing it. I’m really doing it! And it’s actually looking decent! This is actually pretty fun!” And then I remembered I had to sew up some arms lined with piping.
With the previous pattern pieces I knew that I had some leeway as long as I cut more fabric than the previous pieces. Since most of this project involved stretching a bit of fabric on the chair and stapling it down, as long as I had enough fabric to staple I was fine. I could then just trim off any excess. I didn’t have that luxury with the arms. Since I had to sew them to match the wing back shape I had to be very precise when transferring the pattern. It took a few fittings and adjustments, but I finally ended up getting them to work!
Here it is reclined.
And here’s some fancy close up shots.
And here it is in the room after re-covering it. As of right now, it’s my favorite chair. It’s so comfortable even in its normal state, it’s a huge plus that it also reclines as well.
I hope you all enjoyed seeing me struggle through my first real reupholstery project. I didn’t really know what I was doing, I was winging it a lot and probably did a lot of stuff wrong, but it looks good so that’s all I can ask for!