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In this blog we’ll be reupholstering this armchair with brand new decorative fabric from Sailrite to bring it back to life and give it an updated, fabulous new look. The process may seem daunting, but it’s really not too difficult, especially after reading this blog. Every step will be clearly shown. So if you can do a little sewing and use a staple gun, chances are you can also reupholster a chair. This tutorial blog will show reupholstering of the frame with new fabric. A second blog will show pattering and sewing the chair’s top and back cushions. A link to that blog will be provided in the description and at the end of this blog. Let’s get started and show you how to reupholster an armchair. Here’s Cindi, an expert seamstress and upholsterer, to show you how it’s done. To evaluate the integrity of the chair, it’s an easy thing to do to just shake the corners and see if the chair is wobbly. This one is not. It feels very strong and sturdy. The other thing that you can do is lift up the cushion and feel the springs and see if there’s anything broken in there or anything that looks saggy or out of place. The next thing we can do is open up the cushion that has a cover on it. It’s a foam base wrapped with some sort of Dacron. It started out as a quality cushion, but I did notice that the front right here is broken down. So something is wrong in there. We may have to replace this foam, but we need to take it apart and check that. It feels like it’s probably Poly-Fil, and if it is Poly-Fil, we can add more to that to beef it up a little bit, if necessary. These can be opened up at the seam to see what exactly is inside and how we need to handle it. Eric: As we continue, knowing these terms may be helpful as you read the blog. We will now concentrate on removing the old upholstered fabric from the chair. When you take apart a chair, the first part that comes off is the underneath down here, which is usually a black piece of fabric, then the skirt, then the outside back. So we’re going to number that number one, then the outside arm number two, inside back is number three, inside arms number four, and this piece right here is all one piece, so it’s going to be number five. And actually, these come off first also. This will come off with a staple puller, and all you have to do is get behind it and pry it. In order to update this chair, we are not going to put the skirt back on it. We are just going to leave the legs bare, so we don’t need to save any of these pieces. But if you were going to put the skirt back on, you would need to save the pieces so that you could measure your new skirt from your old one. If you are going to reuse your skirt, it might be helpful to mark that this is the front, this is the side, and this is the back. It will just save a little bit of measuring when you get ready to cut your new one. We’re just taking the bottom off, and I am going to pull these staples because if I don’t pull them now, I have to pull them when I get underneath there because it’s on top of the fabric. Eric: Using the tack and staple remover is great, but you may also need to use needle nose pliers. We have the dustcover all the way off so this is the piece that we’re going to start with that we numbered number one. This is the outside back. These nails will come out first, and then we should be able to pull this off pretty easily. Eric: You’ll notice here she’s using wire cutters. This part you can pull the fabric off the staples and then pound the staples in later.
You don’t have to pull out every single staple. This part is held down by a metal tack strip. It’s a metal strip that goes from here to somewhere around here. So it comes up all in one piece. You just need to get your tool underneath and pry. Be really careful with these; they are very sharp when you take them out. There’s the metal tack strip. This piece here is padding the wood so that you don’t feel the wood when the chair is upholstered. I would take this off and reuse it when you put the chair back together. This is the top of the outside back, and it’s put on with a cardboard tack strip. It keeps it nice and straight across the top when you put it on up next to the piping. We just have to take the staples out of that, and we’ll be ready to take the back off. I’m going to take this metal strip out of here so that I don’t hurt myself on it. That we will throw away. Eric: In most situations, you do not want to use the metal tack strips over or the cardboard tack strips. Sailrite sells new ones that you can purchase from us. There’s a few staples holding this on. There’s number one! This white piece is protecting the wood at the bottom so you don’t feel it so we’ll take this off also, and reuse it. Then the next thing that comes off is this cording that goes around the outside back. Next piece that comes off is the outside arm, which we labeled number two. So that’s what all these staples are from. We’ll start with the back here since we already have the chair here in this position. I pulled out most of the staples here, but there’s still some that are sticking out so to save my fingers, I’m going to just pound down that whole length of that area to get rid of those sharp edges. We need to take off the bottom edge of this piece, and this cording is connected underneath there; that will come out at the same time. So we’re just going to remove the staples along here on piece number two. This part right here has a metal tack strip from here to here. So it will come up like the back did, just by prying. The metal tack strip right there gives it a nice clean finish along that piping edge. Eric: Cindi has just removed the front arm stump panel. Do not discard that. We’ll reuse it. This is going to fall apart so I don’t think that I’m going to reuse this, but we do want to put some padding underneath this arm when we put it back on. We may have to turn the chair over to get to that. But that would be the next thing that would need to come out before we take apart this up here. Just removing the staples at the front of the arm. This is also held together with just a cardboard tack strip, which makes this edge nice and smooth and clean. Pull that off, and there is your outside arm. The next piece that comes off is the inside back underneath here; that would be all of these staples and then it’s also tacked down here. This piece right here is attached to the inside back so it will need to come off next. There’s some staples I’m going to pound in so we don’t rip our hands apart. Eric: In some situations, the most difficult part about reupholstering a chair is removing the old panels via the staples. So this is the time consuming part. Putting it back together is really not as difficult. This piece here is also holding the inside back in so we’re going to yank that off. It is okay to rip these pieces as you’re taking them off. We just need a pattern, not an exact replica of what we’re taking off. A basic idea is good. The next piece that comes off is the inside arm, and while we’re here taking off the inside back piece, we’re just going to rip off the inside arm also and get it unhooked. So when we turn the chair over, both of these pieces are ready to pull off. Eric: You’ll notice that Cindi does not remove every single staple. Sometimes she just pulls the fabric away from the staple, and then removes it if it’s sticking out. This is what your inside back looks like. Okay, I’m just pulling this up so it’s out of the way so we don’t tear it apart when we’re taking the rest of these pieces off. You do want to save this; it’ll get tucked back down in there when we put the back back on. So the inside arms are next and they need to come apart here, and here, and down here, and then at the front. We’re about ready to take the arm off, and we want to try as best we can to keep this intact. You don’t want to have to replace all this. We may add a layer on top of it to smooth it. But there’s nothing wrong with this, and we’re going to keep it there just like it is. These staples right here will need to come out because this is what’s holding the inside arm and the deck on. We can just pull this out, and you just want to try and be careful not to mess up the padding too much. Piece number four…the inside arm. The last piece that comes off is the deck, and it’s attached right here and underneath here, and then it’s probably stitched across here. So we’ll take out the staples first, and then see what’s happening up here. At this point it’s a good idea to look at the bottom of your chair and make sure everything is in good shape, not broken, not unhooked, if these strings are still all tied the way that they should be and connected to the sides in the back and the front of the chair. I’m going to lift this up, and try the best you can to keep all of this intact. Right in here, where these two pieces are seamed together, this is sewn to the base of the chair. So you just need to clip that. It feels like we’ve got a couple more staples right in this area on both sides. They’re actually under here. There’s a stretcher holding this off to the side. Try not to demolish this when you’re taking that out. It’s attached all the way down here, actually. That releases it all the way. So there’ll be one of those on the other side also. This looks pretty messy, but it’s all going to go back together. We’re just going to pull the deck out from underneath all of there. This is what the deck piece looks like. The last piece to come off the chair. And we’re ready to put it back together. Eric: In the following six segments, we’ll be patterning and installing each one of the panels. We’ll start with the deck piece. These are going to have to be out of the way to do this piece. That’s what I’m trying to accomplish so that you can see what’s going on down there, and that we’re not pulling any of these pieces down before they should be pulled down. You want this to be open so you can work on it. This is the last piece we took off the chair. It’s the deck piece. It goes right here. Remember those stretchers that were attached right here? That’s what this is, and it’s actually an extension of this piece. So even though it looks like it’s not very useful, it is very useful so don’t cut it off when you cut your fabric for this piece. Sometimes it’s helpful to just make hash marks of where things go together so that you know when you put it back together this belongs right here and this belongs right here. Sometimes this is done with the same fabric as your chair; that’s an option- totally personal option. It doesn’t really matter. Either one works well. The next thing we’re going to do is take the stitching out of this so we can make a pattern for both of these from our new fabric. So here’s our two pieces separated from one another. We still have some stitching here and here, which goes here on the corner, so we also need to take that out. That’s what it looks like when you’ve taken that seam out. I’m not going to take the other one out because I’m going to fold this in half, match up the two seams, and then cut this in half. I only have half a pattern so when I lay this on my fabric for the chair, I’m going to have exact pieces on both sides. This one I won’t cut in half because it’s technically just a rectangle and it’s sewn here and here to take the shape of the chair, but there’s no special cuts on this one. You’ll do this cutting after you start putting it on the chair. You can give yourself a guideline, but don’t cut this exactly like it is now because yours is going to want a little bit different than theirs did. Okay this is the fabric that we chose to cover the chair and when we roll it out, we see that this direction is up, and I also see that this is the dominant pattern of this print. So I would like this to be centered on the chair. When I lay out my half piece on it, I see that I’m going to be missing some fabric over here. The solution to that is to seam this together, and these seams will show. That doesn’t sound very appealing to me. I think it will be distracting. So I’m going to flip this fabric around and see if there’s another way that I can use it. When I look at it this way, it looks upside down to me because there’s too many flowers heading down. Let’s try it the other way and see. Going this way, the majority of my leaves and vines are going up…and this one. So I think it’s useable if we do it this way. When we use a fabric, laying the pieces out this way, and this being the up and down of the piece of furniture, that’s called railroading. Since I want to center this on as many parts of the chair as I can, I’m going to find the center of this pattern, or the approximate center of this pattern, and put a pin there. Its 12 inches. I’m going to put a pin at 6 inches. That’ll be my center of all of the pieces that I want centered. Since I cut this piece in half, I want to lay that cut right here at my pin. When you look at the front of the chair, that’s how much is actually going to show of this pattern. This part here will become the cushion when this turns down onto the deck of the chair. So if I start at the bottom of this flower at the bottom of my piece, when I make the cushion, you’re going to see this whole flower on the front of the chair. Eric: Here’s a look ahead, and you can definitely see that flower! We just need a few pins, and I’m ready to cut. Eric: When cutting any of the patterns for the chair, anywhere that the fabric is stapled onto the frame, it can be slightly oversized. However, anywhere that the seams are sewn into place on the panel, those edges should be cut to size, as Cindi is doing here. We’ll put a clip here at the center, and also leave my pin in. I’m not going to cut this out right here, yet. You can make a guideline here, but you don’t want to cut this out just like it is because your piece will be a little different than what this piece was. A guideline is good enough and then you can clip the rest of it as you’re putting it on the chair. I’m going to take my original piece off and fold this in half at my clip and my pin, and cut out the other half. This is the other half of the piece that I cut off. This seam right here is this seam right here. So the next thing to do is to pin this together and stitch it. I’m going to stop stitching about a half an inch from the edge so that it’s able to make this corner when I sew it onto the deck piece. And I’m going to do that on both sides. I’m going to start stitching at the dot that I made about a half an inch from the edge. I want to back stitch here, and back stitch here. Eric: Here is Cindi sewing the opposite side. Before I attach the other piece of the deck to this piece, I’m going to check and make sure that it fits well. I’m not stapling anything on. I’m just pulling it around to check my corners, and it looks pretty good. Since this is just the decking, and it’s always going to be underneath the cushion, I’m not going to worry about centering that flower. I’m just going to lay it on here- no pins- and cut a rectangle; giving myself a little bit of extra all the way around. I’m ready to take that off and mark the center of this so I can match it to the center of the other piece that I marked earlier, and that’s just done with a clip. These two pieces will go together- right sides together. Here’s my clip on my first piece, and my clip on my deck piece. You just need a few pins. I’m going to sew from where my stitching stopped at this edge to where my stitching stops at this edge. That’s all I’m going to sew right now. I want to start this stitching right here where my other stitching stopped. I will also do a few back stitches right there. Eric: Cindi is using a half inch seam allowance so all the stitches are approximately a half inch from the raw edge of the fabric. And I’m going to stitch right up to where this other stitching stopped and stop right there with a few back stitches. The next seam we’re going to sew is from here to here. And in order for you to see that easily, I’m just laying this up here as my pattern. This seam has already been sewn. After I take this piece out, I’m going to pin this down and sew from here to my dot right here. And I’ll do this same thing on the other side. Eric: For this project, we recommend using an upholstery thread or a V-69 Nylon thread. Our stitch length around 4 to 5 mm. There’s a square corner, and then this seam gets top stitched. Eric: For this edge, Cindi pinned in a single hem. She’ll top stitch it now. That same procedure is repeated for the other side. We’ll not be showing all of that. Right now I’m going to take this pin out that’s marking the center, and move it to the center of another flower just so I don’t stab myself, and I still do know where the center’s at. So when I come back to cut another piece, I know that that’s the center of my flower. Eric: Up next…installing the deck. The next step is to sew this decking piece back onto the chair, and we need twine for that. It needs to be about 10 inches longer on each side of the chair. So we’re just going to cut it that long. Then we need to flip the chair over to attach it to the bottom before we start sewing. That piece of twine needs to go down to the bottom of the chair, pretty close to the same area where you’re going to be stitching straight across. And we’re going to secure this twine down on the bottom of the chair. And then turn the chair over and start hand sewing it across. Before I sew, I’m going to get it all in position, just the front part, because I’m going to flip this back and sew right down here. Eric: Because we’re working at Sailrite, it’s business as usual. So you’ll hear all kinds of strange noises in the background. Jeff Frank is plotting sail kits for our customers. He just turned on the vacuum table. That vacuum table sucks the fabric onto the 50 foot plotter bed, as the plotter cuts and also marks the sailcloth. This piece of fabric is what I want to sew to, and if I can catch a spring, that’s awesome. If I can’t, it’s okay. Eric: The type of twine that’s used here is not too important. It just needs to be rather strong. Cindi is ensuring that the cover is in the right position before she starts to stitch it in place along this front edge. Now I need the curved needle. Eric: A curve needle is used in an application where the user cannot get to the backside of the needle to push it back through the fabric. It is true in this situation we could actually access the needle from underneath, but a curve needle makes this job much easier. Cindi will create a stitch about every inch. She will also pull out the dual line so that it’s a single line. There only needs to be a single line across the entire length of the chair here. So she pulls the excess twine out as she continues to sew. I’m catching this piece of fabric, and I can catch this spring also as I go right there. I’m going to stop here at the corner where the corner that I sewed was so I can send the rest of the twine underneath and tack it underneath like we tacked the beginning. You can see that that’s nice and snug and that’s going to hold this front piece in place, and then we’re going to turn this piece back this way to cover up all of this. Eric: At the bottom of the chair, she secures the twine in place with the stapler. Now we’re going to pull this back up kind of on top of that seam. I’m going to lay the original piece back on so that you can see where we made this little snip, and I said don’t snip it too far, but that’s where it is right there. So we’re going to start snipping a little bit at a time until we get this to fit around the arm nicely. I’m going to remove this piece and start cutting. What we want to achieve is we want this cut to come down to this part of the arm so that this back piece fits around under here and this front piece fits around nicely here. I don’t have it cut quite far enough because we have too many folds right in here; we want that to lay nice and flat. So I’m going to pull it back out and cut it just a little bit more and try it again. That actually looks pretty good. You don’t want to cut too much, or you’ll have a hole right here. Notice that I haven’t stapled anything yet. I’m still trying to get everything in place so that it looks nice and neat and finished. This piece right here I’m going to shove down so that I can tack it up under here to keep everything around this arm area nice and tight. We need to do the same thing on the other side. Eric: And since we’ve already shown this, we’re going to skip ahead. That looks like enough. It’s nice and smooth, and there’s no hole there. We have to make a similar cut to go around this area. It’s better to snip just a little bit and try it then to snip a whole bunch and have a hole. I can see we have this in place, and we can start stapling. This is part of the stretcher, and I’m going to push it straight down and attach it underneath after I turn the chair over. And it’s just going to keep everything nice and secure in this area. When we turn the chair over, you’ll be able to see where it ended up. You see how it pulls on that corner? It’ll make it nice and tight after we get everything else secured. Now we’re ready to start attaching our piece with the stapler. You want this to be smooth so I’m going to pull it down from the top. In this fabric I can kind of see the weave so I’m going to kind of use that as my guideline to make sure when it’s all pulled, it’s straight across, and you want it to be snug. I’m going to shove that piece down like I did on the other one. I’m going to pull it to the side now and secure it over here before I cut around the leg. Put these staples in, you need to stay behind this area because you’re other piece will only come to here. So you don’t want to staple up to here. You need to pull it back beyond the arm; otherwise, you’ll see your staples. I’m going to put one or two staples under here before I cut around the leg. You can just follow the edge of leg right up to the bottom of the chair. We don’t need to turn under all of this. I’m going to trim it off to make it a little bit easier to turn it under and finish that edge. Eric: Once the fabric is cut beside the leg, Cindi will take the fabric and tuck it up underneath the main body fabric to create a nice pleasing look. In a future step there’ll be piping that goes around the entire bottom perimeter of the chair, including this location. We’ve got those cuts made, and we’re just going to pull the fabric down underneath, and secure it under here, and on this side. Eric: Cindi will repeat that process for the other side. We’ll move ahead. The upholstery work table we’re using here, which is on wheels, is easy to make. A separate blog link at the end of this blog will show you how to make your own. I’m going to put the chair back up on its legs so we can pull down the back and sides. I’m going to staple this to this edge right here, and not this edge. If I staple it to this edge, you may have lumps in the back piece when it comes down. If I staple it to this edge, it will be completely hidden. Eric: We are using the EZE TC-08 pneumatic stapler for this job. It uses an 80 series 21 gauge staple with a ½ inch crown. The main advantage of this staple gun is not only the low price, but the fact that it shoots a ½ inch crown staple, which is much wider than the industry’s standard 3/8 inch. This wider crown staple plays an important role as it helps to prevent cutting through vinyl fabrics or lighter upholstery fabrics. The EZE TC-08 features quick cycle times for rapid firing rates, which results in maximum productivity. Sailrite sells a short nose version and a long nose. We’re using a long nose here. Get yours today at Sailrite. And here also I’m going to staple up here rather than down here. Eric: We’ll show Cindi stapling only a couple of the staples, but it needs to be secured all across its length. That same process is repeated on the other side. This piece right here, I can snip a little bit more to make it go around the corner a little bit better. I’m going to flip the chair up one more time, and attach these underneath. Eric: Coming up…the inside arms. The next piece that goes on is the inside arms so I’m going to flip the chair back up and get ready to cut those pieces. I’m just going to tuck everything back down in where it belongs, now that we’re finished with that first piece. And if you wanted to add more padding, this would be the time to do that. Our chair does not need extra batting on the arms, but if you did need extra batting, I would just take a rough measurement from underneath the arm down to the top of the seat, which is 27 inches on this chair, and then the width of the arm is about 24 to 25 inches. So we would cut a piece 25 inches wide- and this doesn’t have to be exact- by 27 inches tall. That’ll add a nice new layer to your arm, and you can give it a couple of staples under here, and then it’ll just pull down right here when you put your new fabric on. It doesn’t have to go down inside. It won’t serve any purpose down inside so it doesn’t have to be that big. But it does make this nice smooth finish if you have rough spots in your arms or you just need extra padding. The next piece to go on is the inside arm, which was number four. We numbered the pieces, we took them off, and we’re going backwards. So we’re at number four now, and it goes like this with the tucks in the front. And again I want to center my flower so I’m going to lay this on the flower. To kind of make sure this is where I want it to be, I’m going to fold it back about halfway. Visually I think I want it to be up a little bit higher on the arm so I’m going to just tug this down a little bit. There’s also a back cushion that is not attached so some of this area is going to be covered up with the back cushion, so I want the flower to be a little closer to the front than the back. If you want to check where that flower’s going to fall, you can measure down from here. It’s about 8 or 9 inches. I can look at the chair, from under here, 8 or 9 inches is going to put the top of my flower way up here. I don’t think I want it there. I think I want it over here. So I need to move that down to about 13 or 14 so the flower sits here instead of up here. I think that’s a little closer to where I would like it. Now when I cut this, I’m not going to cut that off so I have a little bit of leeway to move that flower around if I choose to. And I’m actually just going to cut a big rectangle. I’m not going to choose to add those pieces on. I’m going to use my fabric and cut all the way around this. Give yourself a little bit of extra so you have plenty of leverage to pull. And once again, I’m going to move this center pin to another flower. Eric: Moving the pin to the center location is a good idea. Our flower is rather easy to find, but on some patterns, it’s more difficult. On this piece, I’m not going to mark these slits because if I choose to move that flower to a different spot, these slits are not going to be in the right place. So I’m going to cut these pieces as I put it on, instead of cutting them ahead of time. I’m going to remove this piece now, and cut my other arm with this flower in the same spot on the other arm. It doesn’t matter that the other pieces are going to be in a different spot. This is the focus of the fabric so we want this to be in the same place on the other side. The other thing I’m going to mark on this before I move it again is the top, just in case I get confused. And I’m going to mark that with an arrow. Before we staple or cut anything, we need to make sure, since this has this flower that needs to be in a pleasing spot, we’re just going to lay it on there and see where we would like it. You want the grain of your fabric to be straight across the top of the arm, and this one is really easy to see. As we have an extra back cushion on this chair, I’m going to pull this a little closer to the front so we don’t lose too much of the flower when that cushion is sitting back here. Make sure that we still have plenty of fabric to pull it everywhere that we need to pull it, and it looks like we do. Eric: The yard stick was placed on the back of the chair to keep the polyester batting out of the way as the patterning was done for the inside arms. I’m going to start by putting a couple staples up underneath here just to hold it in place as I make my cuts and get ready to fit it in. This was stapled right here. You can see where the holes were. So we’re going to staple it there again. And this is just a couple staples to hold it in place. Now we can go back and look at where the cuts were. We’ll need one cut up here to go around this arm again in the front. We need a cut back here to go around this piece. And there’s a cut up here that goes around this piece. To make this fit around the arm, we’ll make a cut here, which will let this slide down underneath like this piece did, and then this part of it will go down so that you can secure this part of the arm down. We’ll make another cut back here to go around this so we can pull it this way and this way. And there’ll be another cut up here that will let you pull it around this part of the frame towards the back. I’m going to start at the front because we want the front to look the best. My arm frame is right in there so I’m going to head towards there with my cut. Once again, I don’t want to cut too much; I want to cut and try it. And that is not enough so I’m going to pull it back out and cut a little bit more. Still not enough. Okay, I’m going to leave that part and go to the back. Before I make any more cuts back here, I’m going to secure this a little bit more. This part of the frame is right here so I want to cut out from that part of the frame. You can see that that’s all bunched up so I did not cut far enough yet. I’m going to cut this at an angle to go around that square board. I’m going to leave that as is for now and go down and do the cut at the bottom. The board I’m going to go around down here is way down here so I want to cut in towards that board. I’m going to pull that back out and cut a little bit more there, but let that go back. Now that we have everything pretty much in place, we’re going to start on the front of the arm because that’s the part that we want to look the best so we can adjust the rest of it later. We need to secure this. I’m going to put a couple staples down here to make this tight on the front side. Keep in mind that you can always take these staples out and move them if you need to. I am going to take these staples out so I can pull this piece down underneath here. I’m going to trim some of that out so we don’t have so much bulk in there. Eric: Now it looks like there’s still too much fabric there, and she’s going to snip some of it away. When she makes this snip, it looks like she’s cut way too much fabric off. But that’s not the case. As soon as the front of the arm is put on, it’ll hide all of that cut that she just made. Here Cindi will explain it. When this all goes back together, this piece will sit over here, and this cording will come straight down here. So this will all be covered up. Now I’m ready to start doing the tucks that go around the front of the arm and those I’m just going to eyeball where these are and just start working my way around. I probably will need to trim some of this out. It’s going to be too much to work with, and it’s going to get in my way. So I’m going to trim that off. You might want to just put one staple in each of these because you may need to go back and adjust them. I’m just tucking it all in towards the center. You want to kind of make them even spaced; it does not have to be perfect. Then just step around to the front and see if you like the way that looks, and then when you do the other arm, you’re just going to mirror that as closely as you can. I think I’m happy with that so I’m going to put a few more staples in. I’m going to put a few more staples underneath the arm now that we have the front secured. This will get another row of staples on it when we put the outside arm in so you don’t have to go crazy with the staples on here. I’m going to pull this back and get it nice and snug. Right down here I’m just tugging on that to pull everything to the back and make sure it’s smooth before I put more staples back here. I’m just making sure that I have this flower in the same spot that I put that one- as high up from the bottom and as far back from the front. When you’re doing these on the second arm, you want to make sure you have the same number on both arms. So I’m going to count… 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7. Eric: The process for installing the second inside arm is the same. Let’s move on! Next piece is number three, which is the inside back, and we’re just going to tuck all this back in where it belongs. This is the inside back piece, and I’m going to just cut a big rectangle again, making sure that this flower is situated near the center, and give myself a little bit of room so I can move it around if I need to. And I’m not going to cut the cuts again, here or here, until I get it on the chair and decide where I want that flower to land. Just like with the arms, I’m just going to lay this on here and get the flower where I want it before I cut anything. Eric: Once in position, Cindi steps back to take a look. On this piece I’m going to start stapling at the top back. And again, just a few staples to hold it in place so you can work with the rest of it, and then you can come back later and put more staples in. We have to make the same cuts on this that we made on the inside arm to go around this area and around this area down here- around the wood frame pieces. The piece that I need to go around on this is this frame piece over here. When a piece of the frame on this part is way down here at the bottom, and that’s what I need to cut around for this side. Probably going to have to cut that a little bit more, but I want to cut this side first. This is just a process of going from side to side and corner to corner, until you get it where you want it. Eric: When Cindi is pulling this fabric, right above the arm, a single hem or a fold of fabric is there because that fabric will be exposed. I have most of my cuts made where I want them so I can start to tack this down. I’m going to make a tuck up here so that has a nice finished look. I’m tucking part of it this way to get it out of the way. Then I’m going to tuck the rest of it and make it a nice clean edge there. Now we have the front all in place so we’re going to tack the bottom and the sides down here on the back. I’m going to go ahead and trim some of this off. We don’t really need all of this. It’s all going to be inside when the chair’s finished. Eric: We’ll be tackling the outside arms. That’s coming up next. This piece is the outside arm, which will be right here when we put it on. Once again, we’re going to center the flower, which is actually going to take up most of this piece. I’m just going to cut a big rectangle around this one also. I’m going to move up to this other flower again, give myself an arrow for the top so I don’t forget. Just center the flower. To make this area more stable when you put your fabric on it, we’re going to actually use the old piece, turn it upside down so we don’t see any of the print, and just tack it on here. And it makes a base for your other piece to go on. Then we’re ready to put the outside arm on. Eric: We’re going to use some protective padding on the floor since it’s easier to install the outside arm while the chair’s on the floor. We’ll also be using cardboard tack strip. It’s available from Sailrite to install this portion of the chair. I’m going to lay this upside down here so we can get this straight edge across here. It’s what we’re going to attach first. Make sure you have enough left to pull around to the front over here and around to the back, back here. I’m going to push that tack strip. I’m going to check it before I put too many staples in it. Now I’m going to pull it down to the bottom and staple it; a few staples are down here. Here at the front, we need to clip. And this part gets stapled towards the front. This part we’ll come back and use a metal tack strip to finish this edge off right here. So we’re not going to tack this down yet because we need to be able to fold this. Come around to the back and staple the back down. Cut around the leg. I’m going to staple underneath here with a few more staples in it, and then finish off this back part. Now I need the metal tack strip up here. We need this to be about that long. So we’re going to hold it with pliers and bend it. Then you want to trim off these very sharp corners. You’re not going to get a real smooth edge like that, but you want it to look similar to that. I’m going to kind of make a crease there so I can see where my straight line is. I’m going to put the edge that we cut towards the bottom. You want to use a hammer that’s not going to harm the fabric when you do this because you’re going to be pounding right on top of your fabric when you do this. You set the nails all the way down and just keep going back and forth until you get it all the way. We’re just going to finish stapling the bottom edge here towards the front. Eric: Follow that same procedure for installing the opposite side of the outside arm. Let’s move on! This is the first piece we took off- the last piece to go back on. It’s the outside back, and we’re also going to center it on our big flower. Perfect! I’m going to trim some of this extra fabric out of our way. I’m going to add this back piece back on, just for support, underneath our fabric. Across the top of this, we’re also going to use the cardboard tack strip so I’m cutting it to size. I’m going to lay my fabric up like this, making sure you have enough on both sides to turn it under. It’s going to end up like this so my arrow is actually pointing down right now. But this is the top of the fabric so I want the top of the fabric at the top of the chair. I’m going to start in the center, and I want this edge to be up close to the square edge at the top of the chair. Put a few staples in and pull it around and check it and make sure I’ve got it straight. Straight with the top of the chair is what I’m looking for. It looks pretty good! This piece was on the chair originally, and it makes a nice smooth edge across the top here when we pull this fabric back so I’m going to reuse it. It just takes a few staples to hold that in place. We also had a piece like that down here at the bottom that I need to add back in, and it takes the edge off of this just a little bit. Eric: These polyester strips at the top and bottom edge here add a little bit of a touch of class. They are not required. Now I’m just going to put a few staples at the bottom until we get these sides turned in and then I will finish the bottom. This is where the metal tack strip will go. I’m just pressing a crease into it with my fingers so I can see where I need to put the tack strip. This one’ll have to be cut again; it’s just a little bit too long. I’m going to lay that along the line that I just pressed in with my fingers and carefully push the fabric through the nails. At the top, it’ll help to trim off a little bit of this extra fabric so you can get it tucked underneath there. You’re going to make a square corner up there, as square as you can get it. If you don’t have the tack strip all the way up to the top, and you have a little bit of fabric there, you can always hand stitch that with a curved needle to finish that off. Now again, I’m going to tap it lightly all the way down. Before I put that one all the way down, I’m going to go over and put the other one in. We don’t want this to stick out after we put our fabric down so I’m going to trim it off a little bit closer to my staples. You want to pull this snug. Eric: Cindi’s lining up the outside edge of the tack strip along the crease she just created in the fabric. This looks like it’s where I want it, so I’m going to start tapping it down also. Then I’m going to go back and tighten the other side down and make sure everything is snug. Now I’m ready to cut around the legs and pull it snug this way to the bottom. I’m going to snip right up to the leg again and get rid of some of that extra. Eric: Coming up next we’ll cover the front arm panels. The next step is to cover the stump panels that go on the front of the chair. These have these nails in them, which are sometimes possible to use again- hard to use again- so we usually don’t use them again. I’m going to take the cording off. The other thing we’re going to do is make the cording wrap around the bottom of this so it doesn’t have to go down the side of the chair, which makes the process easier. I have to take this off to get to these to take them out. That’s why you don’t want to use them again. Eric: Could they be straightened? We’ve tried all that. Eric: Oh…okay! When you apply these back on the chair, we’re going to nail right through the front of these so you don’t have to put anything back in there. On this I want to use narrower staples so my staples don’t come through the front from the back. I’m going to change to a ¼ inch staple. This piece isn’t big enough to center our big flower on so I’m going to look for something else in the fabric to center on this area of this piece so it looks pleasing. I’m going to try this one right here. The way I try that is just by pulling it around and see what it looks like after I’m going to staple it, and I think that works because we have this one centered at the top and this one falls in the center down here. So I want to find another one of these flowers for the other side and do a mirror image of it. Make sure it’s in approximately the same place and, even though I’m a little short there, that should be big enough because I allowed quite a bit around the sides when I cut the first one. Since this piece was a little bit narrower than this one, I’m going to put this one on first and then I can place this one wherever this one lands over here so I don’t run out of fabric on either side. And again, I’m just going to put in a few staples and turn it over and see what it looks like before I completely staple it down. You will have to make a cut to go around this corner. Snip it a little bit and see if you like it, and snip it more if you need to. That’s going to need to be snipped more to get rid of that little bubble right there. So when I pull that the other direction, it’ll pull out the rest of that little spot. Make it nice and smooth. You want to also look at the weave of your fabric and make sure that the weave is going straight up and down on this piece and doesn’t go off to the side. Check to make sure you’re staples aren’t going through the front of your piece. I’m just pulling these out because they didn’t go in all the way. So I’m going to take them out and put another one in there. On this piece I’m trying to make sure that I’m the same distance from here to here with this little point of the flower. It doesn’t have to be measured; it’s a visual. I’m going to finish off the bottom of this just by folding this edge up and stapling it. Eric: Next we’ll be installing piping around the stump panel. Before we do that, we need to make piping. That’s coming up next. We’re ready to cut the cording that goes around this piece. We want to cover it with the same fabric so we’re going to cut some bias strips of our fabric, and bias we’ll put it at a 45 degree angle. This cutter really makes this easy to do. Make sure you use a cutting mat underneath. Eric: The first cut of fabric will be discarded. I cut these strips at 1 ¾. Eric: We’ll need to cut enough length of piping to go not only around the front arm panels, but also around the entire perimeter of the bottom of the chair. I’m going to fold this back on itself, only so it fits on this cutting board. Eric: Simply keep cutting out strips until you have the length you need to accomplish your project. The clear acrylic ruler is perfect for making accurate cuts as you can see through it nicely. I’m cutting this on the bias because it’ll go around this curve nicer and smoother, and it also makes the fabric so the edges do not ravel when it’s cut on the bias. When I seam this together, I want two bias cuts. I’m going to lay one on top of the other, right sides up, and cut another 45 degree angle here. I’m going to remove the ruler and flip them over like that. I’m only going to put this pin in to show you where I’m going to stitch. I’m going to take it out and turn it the other way. I’m going to stitch from where these angles meet to right here where those angles meet. But I want my pins to be this way. So I’m going to do the same thing to seam the whole thing together- a right side up and a right side up and a 45 degree angle. Take the top one and flip it over so you have right sides together. Now I’m going to stitch this together from this angle to this angle. I’m going to use a fairly small stitch on this. We’re going to use this cotton cording, and all I need to do is lay it in the center and fold it over, no pins. There is a cording tunnel in this foot that’s going to carry this cording through. Let the machine do the work on this; it will make a very nice corded edge for you. All I have to do is fold the fabric in half and the foot does the rest of the work. When you get to a seam, just take your fingers and press it open. That eliminates the bulk at that seam. Eric: You may not know this, but Cindi adjusted the stitch length so it is sewing a 5mm to 6mm length for this step. Coming up next, we’ll install this cording, or welting, to the stump panel and also to the bottom of the chair. I’m ready to apply the cording to this piece. When we’re finished, it’s going to be right up against the edge, so it looks like that. We are going to work from the back, and we want to lay it off the edge just a little bit from the back side. Leave a little bit of a tail down here so we can bring that around and finish it at the bottom. Just take time to turn it over occasionally and see if it’s where you want it to be. Fold the corner there and tack it down. Corner on the other side, and just a couple staples at the corner so that we can finish this off. To do that, I’m going to open up our stitching and pull this back so I can trim out this extra cording. I fold the finished edge here and tuck the cording’s in together so it looks like that on the back and that on the front. Before I made my cording, I just pulled the piece of cording around the chair half way, doubled it up, and then put a pin in the cording so I would know about how much cording to make so I didn’t make way too much or too little. I’m going to start at the back to put the cording on, and use the cardboard tack strip because it’ll give a nice firm edge on the cording. Start a little bit back from the end of it so that you can finish this end off when you come back around. I’m going to cut a snip in the cording right up to the stitching- don’t cut the stitching- so that I can go around this corner without cutting the cording completely. Pull it around and snip it over here, right up to the stitching, and tuck that down underneath with a screwdriver. If you don’t feel like that’s secure enough, you can take a few hand stitches in there, or put a little finishing nail through there to hold that fabric in place. Start the cardboard tack strip again at the edge of the leg. I’m going to trim this off about 4 inches longer so I can overlap it just to get it out of my way right now. When I get to the end, where the ends meet, I’m going to open up one side of my stitching so I can pull it back away from the cording, and then I’m going to snip the cording off even with the other cording right here. I’m going to fold that back and nest one inside the other so that you have a nice clean edge. Eric: Only a few more steps are left. Next…the dust cover. I’m ready to put the dust cover on the bottom, and that is this black fabric. So I’m going to measure my chair, which is about 30” x 32”, so I’m going to cut my piece 34” x 36”. I’m just going to center this on here and turn the edges under so it’s a nice finished edge. Put it right up next to the cording, cover up the majority of your tack strip, and staple it. Before I cut corners on this, I’m going to secure it on all four sides. Eric: Secure all four sides as Cindi said, except keep about six inches away from each leg. Do the front then the back and then the two sides. I’m pulling this all up towards the leg, and I’m going to cut actually right down the line of this leg, and then fold all this under and finishing stapling. Eric: All that’s left to do is apply the stump panels to the arms. The next step is to put these front stump panels on. To do that, we’re going to use some small finishing nails. I have two sizes here because I’m not sure exactly which size is going to work. I’m hoping the small size is going to work. I’m going to push that down in place and put the finishing nail kind of twist it right through the weave of the fabric, and tap it in with the hammer. I’m going to take a pin and pull the fabric out away from the head of the nail. If you can find a spot in the fabric where it’s a little less conspicuous then right there, it’s a good idea to do that; maybe this grey area. It may take four or five of these to hold one on. Eric: The armchair is now reupholstered. Coming up next is a material’s list and tools we used to reupholster this chair. You’ll find hundreds of great indoor decorative fabrics at Sailrite that work great for jobs like this. You can also find the tools at Sailrite that will make this job a great success. A second blog showing how to make the seat bottom and back rest cushion is coming soon. Be sure to read for that blog on the Sailrite website or the Sailrite YouTube channel. For more free blogs like this, be sure to check out the Sailrite website or comment to the Sailrite YouTube channel. It’s your loyal patronage to Sailrite that makes these free blogs available. Thanks for your loyal support. Feels pretty cozy!! Eric: I’m Eric Grant, and from all of us here at Sailrite, thanks for reading. .