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Ten-step Plan to Reupholstering a Chair

Posted by Rachel Jones


I bought this 1960's Cocktail Chair as one of a pair and, as you can see, they were covered in a brown vinyl. The chair was completely stripped back to the frame, the original materials and springs were not in good condition and could not be re-used so it was a case of starting from scratch.

1960 brown leather cocktail chairs

How to Upholster a Chair

Step One: The first job was to add webbing to the bottom of the seat to provide a base for the new springs.





add hessianStep Two: Once the springs were attached and tied down they were covered in hessian and 2 layers of coir and hessian added to build up a comfortable seat.





Step Three: The seat was then stitched to form an edge that would keep its shape.








add hessian to back of chairStep Four: A similar process was done to the back of the chair; webbing, Hessian and coir. The back and seat of the chair was then covered in calico ready for the top cloth.




Step Five: The calico was topped with a layer of polyester wadding and then the top fabric was added.







Step Six: Due to the curved shape of the back, buttons were put in to ensure the fabric sits nicely against the curve.





Step Seven: A piping was then made which was tacked and sewn to the back edge of the chair.





Step Eight: The rear of the chair was then covered in calico, polyester wadding and the top fabric was sewn on.





Step Nine: A bottom cloth was tacked on to the underneath of the chair to hide the webbing, the legs were cleaned and polished and finally the chair was finished.







Step Ten: The chair was re-upholstered using traditional methods with not a staple in sight.

Rachel's Best Buys on Preloved

A great selection of small chairs and stools, just perfect for a much-needed makeover

A Victorian-style nursing tub chair

Lloyd Loom-style chair, including very handy storage

Unusual 1960's child's chair for a little one to kick back in, get comfortable and read a few chapters

A handsome elm dining chair, crying out for a new lease of life


Related Subjects

Hints and Tips, Home Improvements, Vintage



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My name is Rachel Jones and I run Vintage Actually, an on-line shop which specialises in vintage, retro, refurbished and recycled furniture and homeware.

This love of vintage furniture began a few years ago when I decided to purge my house of modern flatpack furniture and started to buy pieces from junk shops and car boot sales to repair, restore and recycle. I wanted to move away from the disposable nature that a lot of mass-produced furniture has and use well-made pieces that could be individualised.

The best thing about re-using furniture from the past is that it is made to last, it is usually solid, good quality and has character, the odd knock, scuff and scratch is nothing to worry about, it is after all, part of that items history.

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