Monday, December 10, 2012

The Reveal

It's been two weeks since I introduced those babies to you (read about it in this post here). We were in sore need of more seating in our living room which until then had only been featuring a three-seater couch. After adding a tufted back, squeaky-yellow but oh so comfortable litte arm chair we knew we were on the right track but unfortunately it was nigh impossible to find anything that matched or team up harmonically with said yellow armchair. Now what?

That's when those two chairs walked ...err, were carried into our life thanks to our lovely neighbor.
 Two -matching- chairs with surprisingly modern, clean lines.
For free!
Mega Score!

Only the green and worn burlap-y kind of upholstery fabric just wouldn't do, and since I had spied similarly shaped chairs upholstered in velvet and our living room could use some bling, that's what I ordered - 6 yards of silver-grey velvet.
A DIY blog isn't a real DIY blog unless you have spray painted something (check!) and upholstered an old chair ...
In hindsight I should have ordered a heavier, upholstery weight fabric, and time will tell how well this lighter velvet will hold up to the daily abuse of a house full of boys and animals but so far, so good.

There are some really good and detailed tutorials out there on how to upholster a piece of  furniture so this won't be yet another one. In the end it's a rather straightforward process:
  1. take fabric off
  2. remove all old staples, tacks, etc.
  3. use old fabric/foam as patterns for new fabric
  4. put new fabric back on in reverse order
 Take pictures as you go for reference in case you hit a point when you aren't quite sure how things go back together, and things will be golden. No, really.

Removing the old fabric took seemingly forever, well, at least for chair No.1, since I was taking pictures of the process to document the construction and because I was being extra careful to preserve the rather brittle fabric to use as pattern for the new fabric.
It was also a rather messy process, especially when I revealed a layer of foam (?) that had disintegrated into fine orange dust. The stuff was -everywhere-! and I sneezed orange for hours afterward. Yuck!

Once all the old stuff was removed, it was clean slate time! I'd originally hoped to preserve the foam/batting but after revealing the orange powdered mess underneath, I started fresh and bought new foam and batting. It felt good to put the new materials on the nice, solid frame work (the second chair had a few minor wobbly leg issues that I fixed with four strategically placed screws. easy-peasy!)

Here's the back of chair one coming back together: a layer of foam, a layer of batting doubled up, and then the fabric.

 For the tufting of the back, I needed buttons and since I was on a roll I decided to reuse the old buttons. I cut small circles from the new fabric, sewed a quick running stitch along the perimeter and so, created a little round pouch into which I slipped the old button. All done!


Looking good! The tufting on the first chair turned out much nicer than the one on the second one, much to my dismay. Spacing the buttons evenly wasn't quite as easy as I expected it to be, and since the fully fasten the fabric of the back -after- the tufting, the tufting got pulled out of position a bit more than I expected. It's not bad -bad-, and there is only one button that is ...ahem, somewhat out of line, but side by side you see the tufting isn't exactly spaced the same way. It's good enough though. I can live with it.

 Another in-between step was creating piping since that was the design detail that defined the chairs so beautifully (It was either that or nail head trim). For that, I simply cut a long strip of fabric per chair (I used the selvage edge of the fabric; all 6 yards of it) and folded rope into it.

 Here is a close-up detail shot of me attaching the first round of piping to the back of the chair.

Next up the seat, foam, batting, and fabric, then the skirt around the lower edge, and finally, the back. While it took me about 6 afternoons to take apart and rebuild the first chair, I managed to whip chair No. 2 in shape in only 3 afternoons (between work, homework, Cub Scouts, and household chores).

Then, we moved them into the living room, and, gosh, are they lovely!

They are just the right height and width and perfect shape for our not-too-large livingroom, and the color and sheen of the fabric works great with our dark-grey 'restoration hardware' look we have going on in this part of our house.

And, man, they are comfortable.
Ms Inkybinky falls into a regular coma every time she sits on one.
No kidding.


  1. Replies
    1. Thank you! I'm tickled pink at how nice those turned out :o) and the cat approves wholeheartedly *L*