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Wing back chair

Monday, August 18, 2014

I bought this chair back in 2010 from a woman at work for $20. I was planning to take an upholstery class at Calhoun Community College and I needed an inexpensive piece of furniture to work on.
I found this fabric at a HUGE, amazing fabric store in Fayetteville, TN called Sir's Fabric. I don't remember how much this fabric cost, but it wasn't very expensive. I bought 6 yards. The upholstery class that I signed up for got cancelled because not enough people signed up for the class. I waited for the next year, signed up again, and this time the class actually happened.
There seem to be people all over the Internet who taught them themselves how to upholster and then claim "It's so easy!". Well, I am not one of those people. I thought this was REALLY HARD! After taking this class, it makes perfect sense to me why upholstery costs so much. It's sweaty, tiring work!
So the first thing you do is obviously take off the old fabric. As soon as you take off one piece of fabric, you want to LABEL IT!!! Don't wait until you have a pile of fabric to start labeling. Label each piece as you go. The more information, the better. I labeled each piece "Front" "Back" "Left" "Right" and put arrows.

That's my instructor in the red shirt

 My instructor taught us that as soon as you take all the old fabric, you want to re-stuff the chair. This is a big difference between a quality reupholstering job and most of the tutorials I read online.
Just think about it: this is an old piece of furniture that has been used and sat on a lot, so it needs to be re-stuff and re-padded. We used Dacron, but this doesn't seem to be readily available to the public, so I have since used quilt batting from Joanns.

 After the whole piece of furniture was covered in Dacron, I started cutting out the new fabric. This is why you need to label your old fabric. I used chalk to trace out my new fabric, using the old fabric as a guide. I cut out about 2" longer on each side than the template fabric.

Before you cut ANYTHING, you need to pick a center point for your pattern (obviously if you're using a solid fabric, this doesn't matter). I picked the red flower/branch/leaf thing in my fabric as my center point (circled in the photo below). It's very important for your pattern to line up, because otherwise the furniture just looks unprofessional. I think a lot of people really miss the mark on this step.

And then I started sewing the pieces together (notice how the red flower is in the center of the chair).

Sewing these curves was HARD! I had to redo it several times! I got very comfortable with the seam ripper.
The arms were so difficult, and I did the first one three times before getting it right. I ended up not taking any photos of that process because I was so focused on trying to get it right. I think this tutorial is really great about explaining the arms.

The rest of the chair was really easy because all the sewing parts were done! Here's the finished project:

Here's the chair in my first apartment (a tour of my first apartment will be posted tomorrow):

And here it is in my current apartment (click here for our apartment tour):

The before and after:
I'm joining the following link-ups:
Upcycled Treasures
Lil Mrs Tori
 photo rebecca-signature_zpsc9384346.png

14 Responses to “Wing back chair”

  1. Wow. I have never thought of reupholstering anything myself...and I probably never will. That sounds so hard to do! I love the fabric you really looks great! I can't really sew anything, so I don't see myself trying to reupholster a piece of furniture. Yours looks great though!

  2. Good Job!!! Patience is what you need when re-upholstering anything. And, a good Audio book or good music. Your chair looks fabulous and I am sure it will continue to be well loved.

  3. That's amazing, you did a great job! I don't know if I could ever trust myself to upholster a chair because I'm not crafty at all. But your chair looks so good, I really like the fabric that you chose.

  4. Good timing! I'm sitting here looking at my wing back chair (draped in the material I have chosen) and I just haven't had the nerve to make the first cut.... You have inspired me to give it a try! Love, love, love the material you chose and also your picture wall in your apartment. Good job!

  5. I absolutely love this fabric! Amazing upholstery job too! I have only done chair seats and benches, but I am hoping to tackle a bigger project soon.

  6. Wow Rebecca you did an amazing job covering your chair, I love the fabric you picked out. It is a beautiful addition to your lovely living room.

  7. It would be so interesting to learn how to do that! I'm loving the decor in your apartment!


  8. Great job on the chair. Wow, what a transformation. Just love it. And the print is perfectly line up. You really nailed it and it's a most impressive DIY. Thanks, too for stopping by. Jane

  9. Wow, Rebecca! You're an accomplished upholsterer. My mother and her friend used to reupholster furniture when I was a little girl. It's not easy to do, I'm impressed with your work. The material you chose is gorgeous. A truly beautiful chair. ~ Nancy @ A Joyful Cottage

  10. Very nice job on the chair. I start doing one, but it`s not finish. I want to take that class too. And BTW, your apt is gorgeous.

  11. Now that the chair is recovered so splendidly, what's next on the agenda for the room?

    1. I'm currently working on upholstering two chairs for my sister. For this room, I'm currently searching for a new rug, but I don't have any big plans until we move in to a house.

  12. I am so glad you emphasized the pattern placement; what a difference it would make not to know this till most of the work was completed. Your chair is phenominal! What a great instructor, too. We are dropping off our old wingback for a reupholster in buffalo leather, a buffalo that my husband hunted. It will become a museum peice and last a lifetime.

  13. Wow! Your new chair will be such a statement piece! How special that your husband hunted the buffalo. It sounds like a piece that will be in the family for years!


Comments make my day! You can also email me: RenovatingRebecca (at) gmail (dot) com