What you will need:
- Needle-nose pliers
- Camera or Note Paper/Pencil
- Marking Pen
- Straight Pins
- 1/2 - inch Batting
- Staple Gun with 3/8 or 5/16 - inch Staples
- Upholstery Fabric (5 yards will typically cover 1 chair)
- 5/32 - inch Welt Cord
- Nailhead Trim or Upholstery Tacks (optional)
- Tack Strips
- Fabric Glue
- Black Breathable Fabric (for bottom/underside of chair)
- Upholstery Weight Thread
- Sewing Machine
Step #1 Remove Current Upholstery
Start by removing the current fabric and bottom/underside black cloth from the chair you are desiring to reupholster. Carefully loosen one tack or staple at a time with pliers. It is important to remember to either take detailed notes or photographs of your chairs current condition as you disassemble it to keep a record of the upholstery positions for reassembly. Mark each staple or tack placement as well with indicators of top and bottom portions as they are removed. Try to save pieces of the old tack strips and welting to use as measuring guides for the new pieces. It is best to avoid ripping any fabric at all, as these pieces will work as great guides for your next pattern. Utilize your scissors to separate fabric at the seams.
Step #2 Replace the Batting
If worn or stained it is best to remove any old batting from the chair seat and back. Be sure to check the webbing and springs as well. Repair each section (if necessary). This would also be the time to sand, prime, and paint each chair frame (if needed). Then let the chair frame dry as you complete the rest of your cushion upholstery. Now it is time to cut pieces of batting to cover the chair seat and back. Then staple or tack each piece into place and do not forget to fold the batting neat/tight around the corners.
Step #3 Create a New Pattern
Begin by laying the original upholstery, bottom side up, on top of the bottom side of your new choice upholstery fabric. Watch out for the grain, direction of the pattern, and the placement of motifs. Pin the two pieces together and cut about 2-3 inches around the pattern. It is best to leave some excess fabric beyond the stapled edges of your original pieces, which were also trimmed post assembly. Additionally, the excess fabric gives you something to grasp onto while stapling which is extremely helpful. Transfer each marking, direction, and placement notations onto your freshly cut pieces as well.
Step #4 Staple Base Fabric
Place your base fabric on the seat and frame of the chair. It is extremely vital that you pull your fabric taut as you staple it in place on the apron of your chair seat and the reverse side of your chair back. You may use as many staples as you deem necessary to secure the base fabric in place to keep it smooth. Just make sure to place your staples where they will be covered by the back panel. Now is the time to trim any excess base fabric post stapling.
Step #5 Create Welting
Utilizing the old pieces as your guide, now is the time to determine the width and length of your finished welting needed to go around the the seat apron from top to bottom. Make sure to cut enough bias strips at the appropriate width equal to that specific length with a few extra inches to play with. Now, join the strips to the diagonal seams. Follow up by trimming the seam allowance to half an inch. Then fold the bias strip around the cord and use a zipper foot to sew the cord closed.
Step #6 Sew Welting
Once the welting is created, pin the side panel to the new seat fabric. Make any needed adjustments to the fit or pattern during placement. Mark the correct positioning for the bottom welting. Now remove the side fabric from the chair and attach the welting to the right side, top, and marked bottom of the panel beginning and ending at the back.
Step #7 Attach Sides
It is now time to attach the panel to the actual seat by holding the right side of the panel up against the seat and stapling the top welting in place. Add a tack strip to the top part of the panel against the welting and begin to staple it into place. Then fold the side panel down covering the take strip tightly, and staple it into the underside of the chair. Cut notches in the fabric underneath the seat around the corners smoothing out the fabric. If you get lost watch youtube video 'Secrets to Reupholstering Success'.
Step #8 Attach Back Panel
Position the back panel firmly into place and fold the right side of the upholstery over the top of the chair back. Make sure to apply a tack strip to the top of the back panel and staple it securely into place. Fold the panel back over the strip and pull taut toward the bottom of the chair back. Fold the excess bottom edge under and staple it into place along the underside of the chair back. A tip is to use fabric glue to secure excess fabric to the chair back.
Step #9 Finish The Chair Bottom
Use the old piece of black breathable fabric as your guide for the new piece you will be placing on the underside your chair. Now flip your chair upside down and staple this new black fabric into place on the underside to conceal any webbing or springs. This underside fabric also acts as a dust cover. All there is left is to turn your chair right side up and enjoy your newly upholstered masterpiece.