Upholstery 101

I will come back to the verdigris…it is waiting for me.  In the meantime I have started on two chairs that are in dire need of a re do….

I am trying to hone my upholstery skills- meaning I have bought a number of books and have watched hours of youtube videos.

I have also been buying proper tools and materials to make the job easier.

I bought two of these chairs:

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It is difficult to see in this photo but the wood is really nice.  I think it is a nut wood of some sort- I am definitely not painting them!

So with my new tools…

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…..I got to work taking off the fabric.

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This was a nightmare.  There were three layers of fabric.  Instead of removing the fabric and then adding new, the previous owners just added one on top of the other….and stapled or nailed one on top of the other.

Plus the beige lining layer that you can see here.  So once I finally ripped all fabric off and the lining- this was what was hidden.

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Yes this is straw!  And it is amazing.  It has been sewn into shape, complete with an edge roll.  I just tossed the top layer of felt and straw but kept the seat base.img_2930

Notice the layers of fabric and nails and staples?  This was a nightmare.  It took me about four days to remove all of them to get to the frame.  Awful.img_2925

And then under the straw seat pad was burlap- which disintegrated.  The springs look to be copper- they were in great shape so I reused them.  This photo is actually the underside- the strapping that the springs were attached to just dissolved to the touch….so I was really starting from scratch!

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Four days it took!  Finally I removed all that mess and got started.

img_3024This is a great tool and very necessary.  It is a  webbing stretcher (obviously).  Staple one end down, stretch, then staple the second end down.  I am not using nails here–for a reason.  I didn’t want to put any more holes in the wood that could weaken the frame- this poor chair had enough holes in it!

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The webbing runs horizontal and vertical and is woven.

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Then I sewed the springs in place with twine.

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Unfortunately I forgot to take the photos of tying down the springs….but I learned a trick from watching youtube videos to make the process easier.  Basically you staple down a row of string at the height you want the springs to be, keeping them steady and level, then tie a second string on the springs, then horizontal and diagonal….hope that makes sense?img_3029

The next step is a layer of burlap on the springs.img_3030

Then I replaced the straw seating.  This is the edge roll.  This is really old school- and quite amazing that it has managed to stay into place after so many years!

The white cotton on the top is a wool/cotton mix that I had to order from England- I hunted high and low for it in Poland but it isn’t anywhere- which is strange because Poland produces 60% of the furniture sold in Europe!  However, this material is not modern, which is what I wanted.  In my opinion, adding a synthetic layer to this chair would be a bad move- I really wanted to keep the integrity of this chair.

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My eyes are still itching from this part of the process!  But it is really nice to work with.  It tears easily and you can fill any spaces that need it.

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Next step was the lining and then finally I added the material…..which of course I forgot to take photos of the process- but, I have the almost final result!

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I haven’t applied the trim to hide the staples nor have I attached the dust cover over the webbing on the bottom but I am almost at the finish line and I think that even with the visible staples it is still quite nice…..if I do say so myself 😉img_3035

This fabric is a heavyweight cotton, perfect for small upholstery jobs.  I found it on http://www.fabric.com.  I want to sew a double corded piping with it but I tried  before with a different fabric and didn’t have great success…..so I will take a few days to think about it and maybe sew a sample of the piping.img_3036

I have to say I am so thrilled with this.  A lady was in my shop today and asked if I taught upholstery!  Which made me giggle- I did tell her I am learning myself!  I will give the wood a bit of a polish as well but I have to say I am so thrilled with this–except for the fact I have another one to do!!

http___signatures.mylivesignature.com_54494_104_F782A1BE5FF64A85603F554A8FE2AA63

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