Monday, January 24, 2011

20 Years and Two Growing Boys Later: Dining Chairs Get a New Leash on Life

My future Mother in Law has a rental unit that she is in the process of furnishing before new tenets move in. I was over a few weeks ago to help Christoph put together a dresser for one of the bedrooms when I noticed the dining room table and chairs she planned to use.This is the same dining room table and chairs that Christoph ate on as he was growing up! The chair fabric was an absolute mess (to say the least) and she had even tried to mask it by buying cushions. Unfortunately the cushions were also old and were the wrong size. The table and chair frames were still in great shape in spite of having two growing boys bounce all over them for around 15 years and then spending the next 5 years stored in the garage!I offered to recover the chairs for my future Mother in Law and she gladly accepted. The next day she went out and purchased six yards of fabric and I got to work.Material needed to recover chairs:
- Fabric: Something durable and stain resistant. I used dark blue with small gold stripes. I used around 1 yard of fabric per chair, 6 yards total (the fabric was extra wide so you may need more depending on the fabric you choose)
- Thread and a sewing machine
- Rotary Cutter
- Ruler
- Pins
- Staple gun

How to reupholster dining chairs:
Disassemble the chairs to remove the cushions. For these chairs, I had both the part that you sit on as well as the backing of the chairs to recover.Once you have the backing and the seat cushions removed, measure how long a piece of fabric you will need to cover each piece.Chair Backing: You will need to measure all the way around and give yourself an extra two inchs of fabric for sewingChair Seat: Measure the top and the sides; give yourself 3 inches of give all the way around for stapling the fabric to the bottom of the chair

Since each chair is the same, it’s safe to assume that you can cut each piece identical for each chair. So in this case, since there were six chairs, I needed to cut out fabric for six chair backings and six chair seats.

Once you have all of your pieces cut make sure you don’t mix the two. You should have one pile for the chair backing fabric and one pile for the chair seat fabric.With the printed side facing in, fold one piece of the chair backing in half and pin. Sew the fabric with one inch of margin all the way down. Remember you left two inchs of extra space when cutting? This is why.After sewing all the way down the side, turn the piece back with the printed side of the fabric facing out and check to see if this is the appropriate size to slip over the backing of the chair.It should be tight but not difficult to slip on.If it is the correct size, repeat at the same margin for the remaining five pieces of chair backing fabric. If it is not the right size, make your adjustments then continue with the remaining pieces and make any necessary changes to the piece that you already sewed.

Once you have your six chair backing finished, trim lightly to remove any excess fabric from the sewing margin to make sure that everything lies cleanly when the project is finished.Cover each chair backing by slipping on the sewed fabric. Pull tightly to make the fabric lay strait and fold the seams in to keep them from fraying. Staple.To cover the cushion of the chair seat, lay one piece of your fabric print side down on the floor. Pull sides of the fabric over and staple to the bottom of the chair. Do this all the way around, making sure the fabric is strait and tight.Continue this until all six chair seats have been recovered.

Now that all of the existing fabric has been covered with new fabric, you are ready to reassemble the cushions back into the frame of the chairs.

Reattach each piece to their original spot and there you have it!

Chairs with a new leash on life and much more pleasing to the eye! All in all this was a fairly simple project that cost around $15 and I think it makes a HUGE difference!

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