From Yuck to Wow

I knew it was time to redo the chair when my sweet kindergarten piano student asked very politely if I was going to get a new one. I admit it looked bad. Max had claimed it for his own, and while he didn’t abuse it, the already worn seat was suffering more and more from his leaps into it.

Thankfully, I was able to relate my plans to reupholster it, and I could even show her the fabric, but I don’t think she believed a word of it. I wasn’t deterred though, because after a nearly two year wait looking for the right color, I had scoped out a burgundy crushed velvet at Hancocks and brought home a sample to be sure. The shopping plan was already in the works…I was just waiting for the magic Dec. 23 to arrive so I could use my 15% off coupon WITH the 40% sale price. I’ll save the drama…we paid $32 for 3 1/2 yards of fabric.

I promptly came home, armed myself with trusty camera and notebook, and began peeling away the layers. I didn’t care if it was December 23, I was just wanting to get as much done as possible before I had to go back to work on Wednesday. Now I must say that I’m not a complete reupholstering novice. Ten years ago I redid our loveseat in plaid (I know, I know…).  What I didn’t do was take a picture before I started…which means I am missing the fabulous before/after comparison, but I also missed a couple of ending details that would have been helpful on the reconstruct.  My advice, take plenty of close ups, but don’t forget the big picture, from every angle.

With this project I was determined to spend no more money, except possibly for the seat cushion which was exposed for a time. That meant washing the interfacing pieces, and hunting through my quilt batting remnants, and reusing the piping, but in the end I succeeded. Best of all, I discovered that the other side of the seat cushion was in fabulous shape, so I wielded my trusty quilt batting and some spray adhesive and it was ready to go. I  was even able to salvage the cardboard strips used on some of the edges.

My biggest worry was staples. The entire chair was done with much finer and longer staples than ours. We debated buying a new staple gun, but after a day of staring at what I had, I opted for the heavier shorter variety. I decided if those staples were holding my family room love seat together they should be OK for a pretty chair in the living room. While contemplating staples, I cut pieces and sewed piping. I was also concerned about the seat back. It had a clamshell look, and no way could I get the cushion on my machine. So that required a trip about the town to hunt up someone to sew for me. I found Stone Furnishing, and they were very kind and willing to help for a reasonable price. I didn’t feel bad, since I didn’t have to buy a new seat cushion.

So, let the stapling begin!  First the arms went back on. They were just a little tricky because of the piping situation and my  monster stapler (borrowed from the garage). The seat was on in just a few minutes and then the back, and  all of a sudden, I had a chair. Next up were the wings, which in this case were pretty different because the entire wing is not fabric. During this step I discovered a marvelous though forgotten tool, the hammer, which allowed me to “assist” the staples in becoming better acquainted with the hardwood, and just like that I was ready for the outer sides.

I knew these would be tricky, and they were, mostly because they included those scary metal nail edgings. I had four of those, and I finally figured out what I should have done when I got to number 3. I should have used a pencil in the crease to give me a visual to align the edging with. Had I done that immediately, I probably would have cut my time in half on those side pieces. I also paid the price for not taking good enough notes or pictures…I had to remove the cardboard stripping I had so carefully attached…it was supposed to be on top of the side pieces. It was frustrating enough that I decided one of those in a day was enough. The next evening I did the other side, and then for good measure attached the top of the back so it could cover the innards during Friday piano lessons.

Saturday morning my husband helped me finish, since I wasn’t quite sure how I was going to manage the final edging pieces for the back. He gave me that final boost to finish up, so by noon we had a new chair! Max is VERY sad. I guess the next project will be using the old fabric to make him a nice floor cushion.

So, in the final analysis, we paid $40 for the chair, $32 for the fabric, and $20 for the custom sewing, and this is what we got…..DSC00226Max and the chair

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