Monday, January 17, 2011

Upholstery Class ~ Part 3

Let's get to it, shall we?

This is one of the areas where I like to use the tacking strips. It really helps to secure your fabric firmly to the frame.  I use tacks to hold the cardboard strips into place.  Staples are too short to secure something this thick.

Now we can cover the outside of your chair.
Measure the area to be covered, and add several inches to each side.  We will begin by securing the fabric to the underside of the armrest.

Just enough staples to secure it into place.  But notice that I haven't used any staples near the very front of the arm.  Now, when you let the fabric fall into place, you can see how the staples sort of pull the fabric, and it just doesn't look good...

This is one of those areas where the tacking strips make all the difference.  So I fold the fabric back over the arm, and add a piece of tack strip right over the area that I have just stapled.  Use tacks to secure the tack strip to the underside of the armrest. 
This will give the fabric a much smoother appearance.

Once you have done that, you can wrap the outside arm fabric around to the back.  I've secured mine with 1 tack at the top. 

Now, turn your attention to the front of the arm.  This is where those curved needles are a must.  Fold your excess fabric to the inside and use pins to temporarily hold in place.

I begin hand sewing in the area that the last staple was placed under the armrest.

Take long stitches.  About 1/2 inch into the upper fabric,
then 1/2 inch along the fold line of the lower fabric.
Then you will change directions and sew down the front of the arm rest.

When you stitch through the cording and front area, make sure that your curved needle goes deep, through all of the layers from the front facing.  It gives your stitching much more stength.

Stitch all the way down.  Now we can staple the outside of the arm to the underside of your chair.

This part of the frame is probably a quality hardwood.  Therefore difficult to get the staples in.  You can use your hammer to gently tap them down flush.

When you get to the back of the chair you will have to cut your fabric at the legs.

 I have stapled under the side section, then folded the remaining bit of fabric up and stapled it to the back of the chair.

This will be covered by the back fabric later on.

Lookin' Good!

Finish your other arm, and lets get the back done.
Hopefully your foam is still good.  I added a 2inch layer of foam to my chair back, then a layer of batting to cover the whole piece of foam.

You will need a piece of fabric that is wide enough to cover and wrap around to the back.

I find it much easier to make my cuts to the lower edge of the fabric this way.  Measure the lower edge of your back cushion.  Mine is 14 inches. 

So I find the center of my fabric, and cut a slit 7 inches to the left and to the right, about 5 inches deep.  This will tuck in under the cushion and be secured to the frame.

You will have to do the same for the areas where the wood frame of the arm meets the wood frame of the back, as marked in the photo above.  Do this to both sides and temporarily pin into place.
Now you can staple this to the inside edge of the frame.

And trim away the excess fabric.

Work your way up both sides of the back, pulling your fabric around smoothly and staple into place.  Pull the fabric over the top and secure it down as well.  Trim away the excess fabric.

Now to add the red cording around the back.  First I lay my chair face down on the table and then attach the cording across the top of the back, and down both sides with staples.

Now is the time to add the buttons, if you are going to do so.

A really long needle helps.

A little batting helps to secure your knots.

Now for the back.

First I pin it in place.
Then I hand sew along the top with my curved needle, removing the pins as I go.  You may  or may not want to add a piece of your tacking strip at this time.  If you do, just fold the fabric over the top and apply the tack strip right up next to your stitching line.

Now you will tuck your fabric in, down both of the sides.  Trim away some of the fabric if necessary.  Pull fabric to smooth it across the back, but don't pull it so tight that the fabric is stressed.  Pin into place and hand sew down each side with your curved needle.

Next, you staple the lower edge underneath your chair.

Tomorrow, we will tackle the seat cushion, and give this girl a skirt.
Any questions class?


  1. SHUT UP!!!! LOVE this!! You should teach a class in your garage!!! People get paid for teaching this sort of thing and you are beyond an expert!!

    Just Gorgeous Teresa!!

    I want to be you when I grow up!

    Lou Cinda :)

  2. Girl, I am so impressed with this! You are the master! This chair is too cute for words, and it looks so neat the way you do everything. Yep, you are definitely the master!


    Sheila :-)


My Grandmother always told me, "If you hang around with skunks, you're gonna get some stink on you."