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Rescue Reupholstery Project

I am so excited! I have a guest post today! My friend Chelsea and I have been talking about this chair for a while now. After a couple of times scheduling time and rescheduling time, we finally started (and completed!) this awesome find.

Welcome Chelsea Stover to the blog!

Rescue Reupholstery Project

by Chelsea Stover

I’ve known Robin for a long time and have been on the receiving end of her crafty ways more than once. So, when she said she’d help me with a reupholstering project, I jumped at the chance.

I rescued this Lawson style chair out of the trash on Wawasee Lake several years ago. The dazzling 70s fabric and boxy shape caught my eye and I coaxed my middle school boy into helping me load it into the van. Incidentally, he scored a vintage Nintendo and a bag full of games so he didn’t mind all that much.

For a long time, it sat in my living room with a slipcover, and became a favorite of the boy and the dog. I finally found the right fabric and the time (thanks quarantine!) to tackle this project.

We began by stripping off the old upholstery piece by piece, being careful to mark each one to create a pattern for the new fabric.

I was so happy to see how solid and clean everything was underneath...good bones! Even the padding was worth saving. We swept out the inside with a small broom and got to work cutting out the new pieces.

We started with the biggest pieces on the bottom and back – pulling, stretching, straightening and stapling until everything was smooth and taught.

Robin suggested adding a big covered button to update the whole look. We were able to pull it tight and tie it off because the back of the chair was open at this point. I absolutely love how it turned out!

Next, we stapled on the arm fabric, making sure the pattern was straight and even on both sides, tucking it in the back and stapling to the wood.

No one would ever know once the back panel was put on! After some quick chalk paint to update the legs, Day 1 was complete.

While I was at home, I sewed a brand new 24”x24” seat cushion that I purchased at Walmart. It was a lot of guesswork trying to line up the pattern since I didn’t actually have the chair, but I think it turned out fine.

On project Day 2, I brought a small helper, but I think she had more fun playing with some plastic farm animals she found in all the fun stuff that Robin has. 😊

We got right to work, putting on the bottom front panel and the inside panels that wrapped around the front of the arms. Robin showed me how to staple on cardboard tack strip and fold the fabric over the top for nice crisp lines. It really gives a finished, professional look!

We did the outside panels the same way, taking care to make sure the pattern was straight and pulled tight at the back with staples.

Before we closed up the back, we stapled everything down with extra reinforcements.

Robin gave me two options for the back panel – either using decorative upholstery tacks or flexible metal tack strip that would be hidden. I opted for the tack strip so I could learn how to use it!

We used the tack strip that comes in a roll. One side got nailed to the chair and the other side, with claws, gripped the fabric as it was folded over, pulling the fabric tight and smooth. We went around it with a rubber mallet making sure it was hammered in place. I was so excited to watch it all unfold, I forgot to take pictures of the process. 🙁

The last piece was a muslin dust cover on the bottom that we just pulled and stapled for a completely finished new chair. I’m so happy with how it turned out.

What a fun project to do with a good friend, and I’m grateful for the new techniques I learned.

Isn’t it lovely??

Thanks to Chelsea for writing this post. I agree, it is soooo lovely! It was so much fun hanging out with her for a couple days. It's been too long! She sent me a photo of the chair in her home. The fabric choice was spot on. Look at how well it goes with her rug.

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