Good Questions: A Cushy Question

Los Angeles

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Lisa writes in with a detailed questions about bringing her recent vintage purchase back to life:
Hi, I just purchased this set of mid-century chairs from This Is Not Ikea. The cushions are over-sized and there is some cracking in the wood from having been used as outdoor chairs. I took them to a furniture reupholsterer where they quoted me a little too much to redo them so I've decided to try and redo the chairs myself. I've ordered new cushions online and got a great deal on a nice yellow upholstery fabric. I've purchased all the tools to redo the wood (stripper, sand paper, gel stain, varnish) and am all set to start this project. However, I am stumped in a few areas...

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  1. Where can I get cushion covers remade for an affordable price? What's the typical price to have covers made?
  2. The weaving on the seat bottoms was extremely brittle and old so I removed it and I want to try and re-weave it myself, as the strips were only attached with staples. Where can I buy the weaving? Should this be left to professionals?
  3. After removing the weaving, I found the original order for the chairs stuck to the bottom. They were ordered from Baumritter Furniture in NY, which became Ethan Allen in 1965, so I know they are at least authentic mid-century and now I am scared that by my doing all the work myself, I am degrading the value of these chairs. Should I even redo them?

Sorry for all the questions, this is my first attempt and furniture refinishing and I am extremely nervous. Plus, I love the look and shape of these chairs and don't want to ruin them by doing something stupid, like using the wrong stripping agent or doing the weaving wrong. Please help! I'd love to hear from people with reupholstering tips and recommendations!

Hi Lisa, congrats on your outdoor chair purchase and we're impressed with your DIY spirit. As Maxwell once noted from a similar question about reupholstering furniture projects, the pros and cons of tackling this project are worth considering before tackling it for best results. Refinishing the wood should well be within a beginners skill level with careful and patient procedures. But we do recommend you either take a reupholstering how-to class which will give you access to professional tools and expert guidance on your first project. Or you can always research via videos/books. We also recommend checking the advice of the experts at This Old House, one of the first places we look for guidance for more hands-on projects.

Anyone out there recently graduate from reupholstering newbie to seasoned veteran with advice for Lisa?