The [Not So] Intimidating Chair

I’ve been looking forward to this post. 
Because it should mean that the Intimidating Chair has been conquered and I can cross anything to do with it off of my to-do list. 
But, sadly, it’s not. 
We are -this close- to having it complete.

I got home from work at 10:45 tonight planning to plow through the last of it…
the cushion cover. 
It is now 1:30 in the morning, and I’ve broken two needles on my sewing machine trying to get it done. 
I’m tempted to run to the 24 hour Walmart to get more,
but I think I’m going to bow out humbly on this one. 
I’ve gotten most of it done, but can’t finish it without that darn needle. 
So, I’m going to just suck it up and present to you the chair at it’s current state.

[Buckle up, 'cause this is going to be a long one!]

I had no idea how these types of chairs were put together!  The nice lady at the upholstery shop that I told you about before, showed me…

You actually have to pry it off with a screw driver.  It’s held on there with something called Curve Ease or Tacking Strips.  It’s really pretty interesting.

[Kinda looks like it should be on the walls around a prison.]

You staple it around the edge of the wings like this:


Hammer it down really flat once you know it’s where you want it and then stretch and staple the other sides.

And there you have it:

Using the tacking strip takes a lot of patience.  You also have to be careful with it… I cut myself with it without even realizing it and got blood on the fabric.  We used the tacking strip along the back as well because of the curves the chair has. 

Here she is!

We are really happy with it!  It certainly is a lot better than what we had.  LOL
It’s really difficult to give a good run-down of how we did it, because this chair was very unique and I’m sure had challenges that other chairs wouldn’t have, or vice versa. 

But here are a few things that we did learn that may be helpful if you choose to take on an upholstery project of your own:
1)  Don’t leave a Sharpie marker anywhere that your 2 year old can get to it and draw on your fabric.
[Yes, we did learn this first hand.]
2)  Choose a strong fabric.  The fabric I chose is upholstery, but I think I would go for a thicker one if I did this again.  It needs to be strong enough to be stretched and hold up over time. 
3)  PAY ATTENTION to how the chair was put together as you take it apart.  We took TONS of pictures as we dis-assembled it so that we could reference them if necessary.  We also took notes as to the order that it was put on (i.e. the bottom of the seat was the first thing to be put on, and then the inside of the arms, etc, etc.)
4)  Save the pieces of fabric that you take off to use as patterns for the new fabric.  We accidentally tore a couple of the pieces while taking the chair apart, but I was sure to mark it that is was a tear, and not a cut for when we cut out the new pieces. 
5)  LABEL each piece well.  I used masking tape to label each piece and which direction it went… this will save you a ton of time. 
6)  It takes a LOT of time.  I tried to keep track of how much time we spent, but I lost track… I would estimate it took us about 25 hours.  (My husband was a HUGE help with this project.  He actually really enjoyed it and wanted to help!) 
7)  Try to reuse as much as you can of the old chair.  Not only does it save money, it makes sense.  We added some new batting to freshen up the chair a little bit, but kept the old as well.  I took the piping cord apart and reused it (with the exception of the cushion – it was impossible to salvage).  Removing the zipper was easy:

8)  Do it WITH someone.  Some parts got pretty frustrating, and it helped to try to figure out a solution with someone else.  I was so thankful to have my husband help me out — actually, the work was probably split pretty evenly between us.  With how tired I’ve been lately, there’s no way I could’ve gotten it done this quickly.  I can’t believe we got it done in two weeks!  (with the exception of the rest of the cushion) 
So, thanks babe!

And thank you, Karis and Simon, for hanging in there and entertaining us while we did it!

We would do it again.  In fact, we’ve got two other chairs that I’d love to recover. 
But.  I think I’ll take a break for a while.  They’re not as ugly as this one was!  :)

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10 Responses to “The [Not So] Intimidating Chair”

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  1. debi says:

    wow…fabulous job, Sarah….now I’m really wishing you lived here….to show in IRL how to do it! It looks so good. Are you still loving the fabric?

    • Sarah says:

      I didn’t realize I had published it already! LOL I was working on it and I guess I hit ‘publish’ instead of ‘update’. Oh well, it’s done now! :) Yes… still loving the fabric! It’s beautiful. Thanks for finding it for me! ;)

  2. Sarah's Mom says:

    Well done! I’m very proud of you! Now, if you’re looking for another project…..

  3. Faye Morgan says:

    just gorgeous!

  4. Jonny says:

    No more projects for a little while. School starts on Monday!

  5. Jenna says:

    FANTASTIC!!!!! It looks so lovely! I cannot believe how professional it looks. Great job!

  6. Terri Schultz says:

    What a great job you did. I’ve done some reupholstering, so know it is a lot of work (and takes some experimenting!) I used a pink and white check once and really regretted it, since it stained so easily, and wasn’t tough enough fabric.

    BTW, there is a product out that takes Sharpie out of almost anything, called Sol-U-Mel. It’s made by Melalueca. If you ask around, you can usually find someone who knows someone who buys it. (It’s like Amway, and you have to buy it through a dealer. I still wouldn’t be without it! It is the best stain remover I’ve ever found.)

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