Posts Tagged ‘upholstery’


make me pretty – mid century modern bench

November 4, 2011

This bench was a super steal at Fantastik thrift. It probably had something to do with the wild bird velvet fabric but this is one of those times where you have to use your imagination. The shape of the bench is super cute and it is incredibly sturdy – it just needs some new fabric and a little love!

So my first stop was my favorite fabric store, u-fab, where I fell in love with this graphic flower fabric. I somehow managed to re-do this bench with only one yard but I was cutting it pretty close. I took the bench apart and used the old fabric cover as my pattern. The tricky part for me were the buttons. I have no idea how you are suppose to attach them but I covered the bench then used a crazy homemade contraption to pierce the fabric. I taped a piece of kitchen twine on the end of sharp wood kitchen skewer and it ended up working perfectly!

Here is the finished bench. Jasper said he really wants us to keep this one but I know it wouldn’t last a week in my house with the kids. So I hope I can find it a new happy home!


make me pretty – crazy victorian chair

October 7, 2011

I was walking through this crazy labyrinth of an estate sale and stumbled across this chair. It has a strange shape but I kind of love it. I didn’t actually try sitting in it until I got it home. This chair is super uncomfortable – the back feels like a rock!

And the whole thing is dark and depressing. I have to bust out the cream paint!

So when I started to take the chair apart I found this crazy hay bale cushion. WTF? Someone had reupholstered this chair recently and they left this in? It had to come out!

I pulled out all of the hay and put in new webbing. Then I put in a piece of soft, comfy foam and covered that with batting. I put a layer of batting on the back too.

Then I covered the seat and chair back with this gorgeous fabric I found at u-fab. It reminds me of watercolors and adds the touch of modern that I think this old chair needs. I made my own trim and decided to double it up on top but only do one layer on the bottom.

Here she is:


make me pretty – the big reveal!

August 11, 2010

Yeah! I finally finished my first upholstery project! Before the big reveal let me tell you the lessons I learned this week:

1. Do not ever again start a new, big, labor intensive project when super pregnant!

2. When you are working in a space with hundreds of used staples littering the floor – wear shoes! I ended up with a pretty nice puncture wound to my heel. Umm, when was that last Tetnus shot?

3. Thank goodness I wanted this chair to look distressed and old because I couldn’t help but bang it up a little bit with all the stapling and hammering the staples in that didn’t go far enough in.

So, without further ado, here is the big before and after.

So this is how I did it. Although, this blog post should probably be titled “how not to re-upholster a chair” or “fake it till you make it” I am sure I didn’t do any of this the correct way and there are some things that I did really wrong but overall, for my first attempt, I am actually very pleased.

First, I sewed a new seat cushion cover. I used the old one as a pattern.

Then I stapled the new seat cover and arm cushion fabric on.

Next I sewed all the trim. There is a special foot you can get for your sewing machine to make this double welted trim. If you don’t have it you can use a zipper foot and do one side at a time but the two pieces of cord don’t really end up close enough together so I came up with a way to make it work, although I am sure any professional upholsterer would hang their head in shame over this one.

Once, I stapled the trim around the chair I used craft glue to close up the seam. I know this is so wrong but it worked pretty well.

There are some things I didn’t do so well – like how the seat cushion cover is kind of wonky around the back.

But I also surprised myself – look how well I lined up the fabric on this seam!

So that’s it. I am taking a long break from upholstery but it will be back someday. I already have another chair sitting in my garage waiting for me. But no more double welted trim, for real!


make me pretty – sneak peek

July 29, 2010

So, I haven’t exactly finished the upholstery on my chair but I thought I would give you a sneak peek. This is the fabric I am using:

And the first arm cushion:

I have sewn all the double welting and I am now working on the seat cushion. Things I have learned about upholstery this week:

1. This is really hard work! I totally understand why it is so expensive to get things re-upholstered professionally.

2. Sewing is tedious and takes way too much patients. I totally respect all of you who are good at it!

3. I need the perfect staple gun. I always used the basic metal pull the handle kind but i need two hands to pull the trigger. So I went to Lowes and got an electric staple gun. I swore it was going to be my new best friend but it’s not really working out. I love that I only have to push one button with one finger but you also have to push down this guard on the front and it is pretty difficult to judge where the staple is going to go in, especially if you are trying to line it up perfectly in the center of your double welting going around the curve of a chair arm. Does anybody know about a better staple gun? Please tell me!

4. My belly is really starting it slow me down. I know you can’t really see how big it is in this picture but notice how all you can see of my feet are my toes! It’s in my way and I get tired too easily and I am over it. 11 weeks to go and I can’t wait!


make me pretty – let’s try upholstery part 2 – painting

July 22, 2010

For the next phase of my upholstery project I decided to paint the chair – this is my comfort zone. But I wanted to switch things up and try a paint technique I pulled out of an old Martha Stewart magazine.

The first step was to paint the chair a medium gray.

Then a coat of lighter gray.

You let the light gray coat dry for about an hour and then use steel wool dipped in warm water to distress the piece.

The next step is classic Martha. She gives you a paint recipe, to add a patina to the piece, rataling off obscure ingredients like you should know exactly what rottenstone is. I basically followed her advice but skipped the rottenstone, which is kind of like pumice and used to polish things, since I couldn’t find it locally. Plus I read that most furniture wax includes something similar and the wax is another of the ingredients.

From Martha: In a plastic container, combine 2 tablespoons wax, 1 teaspoon artist’s oil paint in raw-umber, 1/2 teaspoon artist’s oil paint in paynes gray, 1 tablespoon rottenstone, and 4 ounces mineral spirits; mix well.

You let it thicken and then brush it on your piece. Let it dry for 15 minutes and then rub it off, leaving it in all the crevices. Here is what it looked like when I first applied it.

And the finished chair.

I really love the aged look and I will be using Martha’s recipe again. Don’t worry, I wore my super ventilator mask the whole time! and gloves! I know that pregnant ladies should not be messing with crazy chemicals.

So next up, the actual upholstery part. I am going to get friendly with my sewing machine this week. Considering I have never even put on the zipper foot I expect a lot of frustrations and cursing but it should be interesting!


make me pretty – let’s try upholstery!

July 15, 2010

Lately I have been thinking about a new challenge for myself – upholstery! I can do the basic stuff but I wanted to try something a little more complicated. I know I am just asking for trouble because upholstery involves sewing and that is not something I am very good at but I just can’t resist.

A couple of weeks ago I spotted this chair at a yard sale. For 10 bucks it seemed like the perfect beginner piece.

I don’t know if I would have looked twice at this chair if I didn’t have this specific project in mind but on closer examination it has some really nice carved details, it’s solid wood and it even has the tag still stapled underneath. It says C. C. Holden 1969 – cool!

So I got to work taking the chair apart and I learned my first lesson – this thing has hundreds of staples in it. It took me hours to pull them all out!

I know they make a special tool for removing staples, I might have to invest in one if I decide to do another project like this. But my mini screw driver and needle nose plyers did a pretty good job.

First I removed all of the trim making sure to save every piece to use as a pattern for my new cushion.

Them I removed the ten billion staples holding the fabric down.

When I was finally ready to pull off the fabric I found a layer of fluffy white padding, a sheet of foam and then the springs.

I made a little trip to the fabric store to get some supplies and decided to prime the chair to put off sewing a little longer.

Next week I will get to painting – with a new technique from the fabulous Martha Stewart so stay tuned.

One more thing, I have to share this picture with you. To say jasper loves his pug frankie is an understatement. Check out this snuggle!

Have any advice for me? Please leave a comment – I need all the help I can get!