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Ten-step Plan to Reupholstering a Chair

Posted by Rachel Jones

I bought this 1960's Cocktail Chair as one of a pair and, as you can see, they were covered in a brown vinyl. The chair was completely stripped back to the frame, the original materials and springs were not in good condition and could not be re-used so it was a case of starting from scratch.

The first job was to add webbing to the bottom of the seat to provide a base for the new springs.

Once the springs were attached and tied down they were covered in hessian and 2 layers of coir and hessian added to build up a comfortable seat.

The seat was then stitched to form an edge that would keep its shape.

A similar process was done to the back of the chair; webbing, Hessian and coir. The back and seat of the chair was then covered in calico ready for the top cloth.

The calico was topped with a layer of polyester wadding and then the top fabric was added.

Due to the curved shape of the back, buttons were put in to ensure the fabric sits nicely against the curve.

A piping was then made which was tacked and sewn to the back edge of the chair.

The rear of the chair was then covered in calico, polyester wadding and the top fabric was sewn on.

A bottom cloth was tacked on to the underneath of the chair to hide the webbing, the legs were cleaned and polished and finally the chair was finished.

The chair was re-upholstered using traditional methods with not a staple in sight.

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Related Subjects

Hints and Tips, Home Improvements, Vintage

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My name is Rachel Jones and I run Vintage Actually, an on-line shop which specialises in vintage, retro, refurbished and recycled furniture and homeware.

This love of vintage furniture began a few years ago when I decided to purge my house of modern flatpack furniture and started to buy pieces from junk shops and car boot sales to repair, restore and recycle. I wanted to move away from the disposable nature that a lot of mass-produced furniture has and use well-made pieces that could be individualised.

The best thing about re-using furniture from the past is that it is made to last, it is usually solid, good quality and has character, the odd knock, scuff and scratch is nothing to worry about, it is after all, part of that items history.