Recovering Dining Room Chairs
February 21, 2015
We recently bought a new-used dining room table and china cabinet from a really great consignment store in Plano, Texas – B & B Furniture Consignment. The table and china cabinet were in good shape for their age but the chairs were another story. The wood on the chairs was fine but the seat covers not so good. They were pretty dirty and worn on the edges. The price on the whole set was less than $1200.00 so we decided to get it and I decided to learn to upholster chairs!
Below is a photo of one of the chairs before I recovered it and after I cleaned them twice. They were worse and I forgot to take a before photo of that.
The first thing I did was clean all six chairs twice – once by hand and second time with my Bissell using the furniture attachment and some Young Living Purification oil, blue dawn and vinegar in the machine. They were so bad I didn’t want them in the house without cleaning them – plus I knew I would have to work with them when I went to recover them.
The next thing I did was research pinerest to see how to recover dining room chairs. I found lots of great info on various blogs and websites and decided I could do this.
The next thing I did, the day after buying the set, was go to the fabric store and get some home dec fabric. I had to remove one of the seat covers and take it with me to find something to coordinate since two of the chairs have a fabric back and I did not want to try to tackle recovering that part – it looks kind of difficult.
Removing the old seat was really easy – you just find the four screws on the bottom that hold the seat on and remove them.
After finding the fabric I used the seat cover I had removed to make a template-pattern. I then measured the side gussets and calculated how to cut those. For my template I added 1/2 inch seam allowance and then cut the gusset strips 4 1/2 inches wide by the width of the fabric which was 54 inches. You need to sew two strips together to make the strip long enough to go around the seat part and cut some of the excess off. The existing gussets were less than 4 1/2 inches but I decided to make mine wider to wrap around to the bottom to have more of an edge to staple on. Also, I decided to line the top seat part with muslin so I cut muslin templates as well. The foam on the chairs was in good shape other than the discoloration so I didn’t have to replace that.
Sewing the covers was super easy and fast – probably took me about an hour. Removing all the old seat covers was another story – that took about an hour per chair. For that part I used a flat head screw driver, to pry the staples up, and some pliers, to pull the staples out. Basically I worked on one chair at a time so it took me about five days to do all six chairs – in between cooking, cleaning, laundry, carpool, band events in the evening and general life!
After removing all the old staples you can slide the old cover off. Then slip on the new sewn cover and get it fitted onto the the chair pad and then begin to staple with the staple gun. My one son even did a few staples on one chair – he thought it looked like fun for a few minutes. Actually stapling the new cover back on was a lot more fun and easier than getting that old one off. I did this on the floor with an old towel laid down – I also did a couple of them on my sewing table – basically you need a hard firm surface to be behind the chair pad as you drive the new staples in. As you can see on the corners you have to fold the fabric in to get it to be smooth on the sides and the top front piece.
Overall I am pleased with how they turned out and how our dining room now looks. The other table we had was over 20 years old. We bought it when we first got married and it was more of a kitchen type table not really for a formal dining room.
So, now that I have accomplished recovering dining room chairs I am contemplating reupholstering a chair and ottoman we have in our living room. If I decide to conquer it I will share it here on the blog so be sure to check back or follow me.
Have a great day!