How To: The Lazy Upholsterer's MidC Dining Chair Re-do

How To: The Lazy Upholsterer's MidC Dining Chair Re-do

Nov 24, 2008

Project: Mid Century Dining Chair Reupholstery
Time: Two and 1/2 hours
Cost: 2 1/2 yards @ $17.95 per yard (on sale)

If you're tempted to pass up a set of Mid Century dining chairs due to ugly, stained or torn upholstery, DON'T do it! There are, in fact, shortcuts to reupholstery that eliminate tedious, time consuming steps. My spouse bet me that he could re-cover three dining chairs in half the time it took me to do the same. The two arm chairs had some tricky notches but he showed me his lazy upholsterer's method. I'm not even sure a pro would see any difference unless he took the seats off to examine them...

Tools and Materials:

  • fabric
  • 1 yard of polyester dacron or cotton batting
  • scissors
  • staple gun
  • flathead screwdriver for staple removal (if necessary)

Step by Step:

  1. Remove chair seats and put screws in a safe place
  2. Place armed chair seats on top of wrong side of fabric
  3. Chalk an outline around the chair seat approximately 4" larger than the seat
  4. Repeat steps 2 and 3 for smaller chair seats
  5. Cut out 12" x 12" squares of batting, bevel the sharp edge all the way the top
  6. Place batting square, bevel side up, in the center of the chair seat
  7. Place the new fabric piece on top of the batting and chair seat, with even amounts of fabric overhang
  8. Straighten pattern, if necessary
  9. Begin attaching fabric by placing 3-4 staples at the center front of the seat, repeat for the back of the seat
  10. Move from the center outwards, pulling slightly and firmly to get a snug, but not tight, pull on the fabric and attach staples stopping 2" from the corners
  11. To work the fabric into the notched area, chalk a "v" towards the center of the notch, being careful not to cut so deeply that the you don't have enough fabric to pull up and attach to the chair bottom
  12. Staple the "point" of the fabric which was left by cutting a "v"
  13. Fold and attach the fabric to the right and left of the notches
  14. Move outward towards the corners from the notches, folding and stapling fabric neatly at the corners
  15. After completing the notched arm chairs, the other seats are easy.
  16. Re-attach newly covered seats to chair frames

In order to cut the upholstery time in half, he left the old fabric on the chair seats. It wasn't that thick, so it worked. He only added squares of batting in the center of the seats and didn't attach them or glue them on, and he eliminated sewing a small pull tab of fabric onto the seat fabric at the notch for attaching.
Finally, he skipped adding a dust cover on the bottom of the seats.
We'll see how these hold up.

Another Good How-To Project:

Reupholstering an Open Arm Side Chair

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