Monday, 29 August 2011

my re-upholstered dining chair - with how to pictures

How I transformed this chair.....

Almost 2 years ago I started an upholstery class, run by the council, here in Birmingham. I used to go every tuesday after work and no matter how rubbish my day at work had been i could totally forget about it once I got to the class and started using may hands, and my brain, to creative something. 

This class was really the first real 'creative' thing I had done for a really long time. Up until that point it had all been about physio - all day at work and then at home too while I studied for extra qualifications.

I guess this was the first time I decided enough was enough and it was time to do something creative again. 

Here are some pictures from an earlier project I finished.....this little low seat which I thought was so cute and reminded me of 2 little chairs that are in my mum and dads a bit of nostalgia!

I was a complete beginner with no previous skills in upholstery but my teacher was great and really patient with me. Here is a previous blog post about my first projects of a little piano stool and box. 

My blog post from April had the story so far with my dining chairs. I rescued a set of four free when the old folks home my Mum was working in was closed down and they were chucking out a tun of really amazing stuff. So the last post left that chair looking a little like this.....
with loops ready to put the next layer of horse hair in

so handfuls of horse hair are stuffed under these loops and once the entire chair is covered it is teased out to make it look even both sides and to check there are no major holes or gaps anywhere

next two layers of this cotton fleece is placed over the top to that your bum doesn't get pricked from horse hair. I also realised later down the line that it needed to go around the sides too.

This next bit got complicated.. i had to inset the fire retardant calio and top fabric at the same time as a small strip of wood needed to be inserted and screwed in to secure the fabric to the back panel of the chair. I figured out that if I cut these sort of 'V' shapes in the fabric then it would all work out (this took ages and a lot of trying to visualise things in my head) 

So you can kind of see the strip of wood tucked in there

This this is what it looks like from the top, it means you get a nice crisp clean edge at the base of the chair.

I then had to fold and pin the top fabric out the way while I tensioned the calico

so this is the side of the chair and my trying to get the calico to sit right

temporary tacked with edge folded under

 I went round and temporary tacked the calico down all the way round the chair

The next bit takes ages.....tensioning the calico. There is really no quick way to do this. You just have to got round each edge of the chair pulling the calico tighter, removing the temporary tacks and then re-tacking to hold the new tension. My teacher always used to say if you can pinch an inch in the calico then it is still too slack. It is worth spending time on this. Get this right and your top fabric will sit nice and smoothly on top. get it wrong and you have to just look a saggy-ness forever - not good!
so this is it temporary tacked all the way round, still corners to fold in though

then this is the tacked hammered in to secure it.

this is the little back section

using a craft knife I cut off the skirt bit.
then unfolded the top fabric and got it lined up.

Using gimp pins which have a smaller head and are more subtle I tensioned the top fabric which is really easy as all the work has already been done with the calico

then just trimmed this with my craft knife

and added this beading on the top to hind the gimp pins. It comes in handy strips so you don't need to hammer in lots of individual beads.

ta-da my finished chair! 
I'm really pleased with it! Just got 3 more to go now. I have one that just need the calico tensioning and top fabric and two that are still in their original dirty dusty state. Defiantly an outside job to strip them down!

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