Friday, June 1, 2012

Re-Upholstering a Wing Back Chair, Part 2: Putting it Back Together

Happy Friday! It doesn't feel like Friday because of my short week, but I'm sure glad it is! Before we get in to how I finished the wing back lady, here are some reference posts for the whole re-upholstery process.

Choosing Fabric
Before + After
Step 1: Taking it Apart

Now let's put this bad boy back together...

Next up are the legs. Meow. Look at the legs on this lady. They had all the right curves but no pizazz. I used some left over spray paint (from this project) in Rust-oleum Metallic Oil Rubbed Bronze. It actually turned out to be more of a deep dark brown with a little metallic shimmer in the sunlight. I love it!

After the deconstruction, we realized that a lot of the foam was really worn down. So much that you could feel the wood beneath it. Off to Joann's I went and luckily over Memorial Day weekend they were having a 50% off sale on all foam! I got 2 1/2 yards of 1/2 inch thick foam and it was just enough to cover the arms, wings and the front bottom portion (the seat cushion and the back were still in good shape). I didn't cut the foam exact, but enough so I could staple it where I needed to and then cut off the excess. On the bottom front piece, we had to cut the corners and then use the hot glue gun to get the corner piece to stay.

This part took me forever. There are a lot of things to consider before you start cutting. For instance, does your fabric need to be lined up (like stripes)? Do you have enough fabric? Do you want certain parts of the pattern to show? Thankfully, mine didn't completely need to get lined up, but I did want some of the bigger pieces of the pattern to show up on the back and the seat. I wasn't sure at first that I would have enough fabric... so I didn't care if the pattern showed a certain way. But after I rolled it all out I realized I had plenty of fabric (almost a yard left over!) and I was a little more picky with my placement.

The method I used to cut the fabric was very scientific. I measured each edge and angle to get the perfect cut. Well, not exactly. :) I used the original fabric pieces as a guide, then pinned them to the new fabric where I wanted and cut out each piece. I kept the old fabric pinned and labeled to the freshly cut fabric until I was ready to put it back on the chair. We also saved all the other fabric pieces that were sewn to the pretty pieces to reuse (they were for extra reinforcements when stapled back to the chair).

This part I can take no credit for. Absolutely none. My mother is a saint and a bad ass seamstress. She did all the piping and the whole cushion! She's amazing! I definitely couldn't have done this part without her! The piping by itself was really easy - we just cut 1 1/2 inch strips and reused the cord from the chair. But, the cushion was a little more tricky. The piping was factored into the cushion fabric so there was a lot of crazy folding and seams. I won't go in to detail, but it was a tricky little beast. But she did it! And it turned out so good!

After everything was cut and ready to go, we put the lady back together. I looked at my notes, started with the last piece we took off, and went from there. Once we got going, it actually went pretty fast (so fast, I forgot to take a bunch of pictures...). Just a bunch of staples and a little bit of hammering to get them flush to the wood and it worked like a charm. Just pull the fabric, staple, hammer, repeat. It's that easy!

Viola! Done! I think it's pretty obvious that I love how it turned out. It's so much fun and bright and cheery! I love looking at it.

It's amazing seeing it all come together after a lot of hours of hard work! Have you done any bigger projects recently where you feel really satisfied when you are done?


  1. The upholstering information is far better than others and I totally agree with it. Surely it will make the people to easily take into account.


  2. Love the detailed instructions, so simple I really felt my confidence awakening to tackle my lovely old winged armchair, great mum you have there too!

  3. Great step by step! I'm planning on tackling my wing back chair, but I know I will not be able to do the cushion part. I'm not a seamstress and have no access to one. Have you come across any sewing tutorials on how to do that process?

  4. I'm so happy i found your blog. i actually just found the exact same winged back chair while i was thrift store shopping the other day, and I'm looking at tackling the reupholstering my self. i was wondering how much fabric it takes, and also if you have any other advice for me, or anything that was odd or tricky since the chairs are identical. any help would be much appreciated. :)

  5. I purchased the same fabric a few years ago and have been trying to track down the brand information. Do you know the name of this fabric? Thanks!



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