DIY: Upholstering a wingback chair, part I
I’ve wanted my own wingback in my living room for a while, and had the good fortune to find an old chair on craigslist back in November last year. Yes, that was 6 months ago *awkward cough*. (hey it’s been busy around here!) But finally I got round to working on my chair and it’s finally done! So here goes - part 1 of the process, taking everything apart.
What you’ll need:
- something to remove the staples with. Either get a real staple lifter/tack remover, or just make do with a sturdy flat head screwdriver and some needle-nose pliers, like I did.
- a staple gun, preferably electric to make it easier on your hands, and staples (I used Arrow T50 5/16” ones)
- a mallet to pound in any staples or tacks
- access to a sewing machine to sew up welting and a couple of seams on the nose of the chair
- 5 to 7 yards of new fabric. Most books recommend 7 to 11 yards, I got 7 and ended up with lots of extra fabric. I found some I liked at fabric.com but for some reason they messed up my order, and I happened to find a print I really liked at IKEA of all places.
- welting cord, batting and foam. You might be able to recycle these from the existing chair if it’s in good condition, or else get it from your local craft store.
Here’s what we started with..
- Start removing fabric from the bottom of the chair by taking out all the staples. Save all the fabric pieces you remove, they will be your patterns for the new fabric. Label all the pieces - I scribbled on the fabric with a sharpie descriptions like “right wing outer panel”, “left arm inner panel”. Take lots of pictures as you go so you can retrace your steps later. You may also find some strips of metal teeth - save these and use them again when you’re putting the fabric back on.
- The first couple of pieces come off from the base of the chair, and then the left and right side panels, and the back outside panel of the chair.
- Next remove the ‘nose’ (the bottom front of the chair)
-then the outer wing panels. These are fabric covered stiff cardboard pieces.
- Next remove the back inside cushion of the chair. In my case it was easier to remove all the padding along with the fabric, and replace the whole back cushion together with the new fabric.
- Then the wing inside panels and arm inside panels at the last stage.
- finally, stripped down to just the frame and batting!
And that’s where we’ll stop for now.. no sneak peak of the finished product, but here’s the fabric I chose.
Hang on for part II when we get to the real fun - putting the new fabric on the chair!
By the way, don’t worry if you’ve never done any upholstery before - this was my first upholstery project! I read a couple of books and they were somewhat helpful (Matthew Haly’s book of upholstery, Singer Upholstery Basics Plus) but I found in many cases it was just about using common sense to figure your way around your chair, making a couple of snips around the corner to get the fabric to fit, adding in an extra tack when needed and finding a way to hide it etc. A couple other helpful blogs (Creative Maven, Mormon Chic) gave me the guts to give it a go.