A few weeks ago I shared how I found a 1959 wingback chair on the street and what inspired me to have a go at upholstery. The chair is now ready, and in fact, I’m sitting on it writing this post. It is comfy, I’m rather pleased with the outcome and I’ve learned so much making it. Here are the 3 most important lessons I’m taking with me from this project:
- Never choose a fabric with a pattern that runs in lines. I had 6 meters of fabric and almost ran out of it, as I had to match the patterns everywhere on the chair. It really was a nightmare, but looking at it now, the hard work paid off.
- If you don’t have a high pressure stapler gun I suggest you use a good old hammer and upholstery tacks. I did it this way, because this is how it was originally done
and I couldn’t find my stapler.Although at some places it was hard to reach the nails with the hammer, they held the fabric in place much stronger than the staples could have.
- Upholstery is probably more time consuming than would imagine, but it isn’t as difficult as it seems to be. You need common sense and tons of patience. I threw away the old cover without tracing it for the new pattern (I didn’t feel like touching it ever again, as it was wet and smelly when I found the chair), and still managed to pin together the new cover on the chair.
Luckily I did not have to buy new foam for the seat cushion, as we had one lying around at home, the fabric was only £10, I also bought some piping for about £2 and then some rope in a similar width. I did not buy any buttons, but covered two regular ones with the same fabric myself, so while a similar, one-off, handmade chair usually costs anything between £300 to £1500 on eBay, Etsy or Anthropology, costed me no more than £20. Yeey! Take a look at the before and after!
…by the way, that beautiful painting was a parting gift from an old colleague/new friend of mine, Regina, when I moved to London. She used to paint when she was younger, and apparently picked it up again, as one day I showed her a picture on Apartment Therapy of a portrait on the wall in somebody’s living room, and told her that it was the kind of painting I would love to own, so she painted an exact similar one secretly and gave it to me as a parting gift when I left the company where we worked together. It is still one of the most cherished things I am lucky to own.