How to Reupholster a Dining Chair Seat and Back
(Buffalo Check greatness optional)
I’ve got problems.
For some furniture is very much “what you see is what you get”. For others… we can’t seem to keep anything the way it was intended. The buffalo check chair is only one example of too many in my home:
Really, it wasn’t a bad chair. The fabric was okay-ish… but okay-ish is an easy target in this house. Okay-ish means it can be better-ish.
I had pretty fabric- and the chair is the first thing I saw. Sorry buddy, you will never be the same.
I’m not an incredibly experienced sew-ist. I can thread a machine, and have made a quilt here and there; but the world of upholstery is far far out of my travels. I imagine there is a fancy way to measure out the form of the chair and sew it up, but that sounded far beyond my scope- and in my mind there were too many bits that could go wrong.
Instead, feel free to try out my approach:
Start with the best part of them all: find the perfect fabric. I’m a fan of Hobby Lobby’s duck cloth canvas. It’s thick and durable; has a teeny bit of stretch, and is so ridiculously cheap you don’t need to feel bad about recovering everything possible.
- Let’s not go wasting the good fabric. Instead of using too much of your pretty upholstery or duck cloth fabric, find an old sheet and go nuts. Basically you want to see what you will be cutting, and how you will be sewing. Pin fabric along the current stitch lines on the chair- odds are good that’s where you’ll want to be stitching too
- Once your template is made, do a quick baste stitch along all the pins. This is just a trial, so don’t stress about the details. You are after a few things: we want to be sure you have enough fabric to cover your chair, and we want to see if there’s any spots you need to be extra cautious for when sewing.
- Once you have your ducks in a row, cut your fabric pieces. I did mine in 3 large sections: one for the back rest, one for the rear of the back rest, and a piece for the seat.
- Place fabric right side IN, and pin where you will be sewing. Remember to check out the stitch lines on the current cover if you are feeling lost and confused
- Double check that your plaid lines are lined up neatly… plaid doesn’t look so hot on a diagonal or mismatched.
- Sew along your pinned lines… this time carefully. Try using a bit of a longer stitch length- it’s easier to remove if there’s an area that’s a bit sloppy.
- Turn right side out, and double check. Does your plaid match? Are your corners neat? If you baste stitched to start, be sure to strengthen your stitches.
- The bottom requires a staple gun. Stretching fabric tight across the frame, staple down into place. Generosity is a respectable thing— don’t skimp on the staples.
- Reassemble your masterpiece!
Remember the little part about matching up the plaid? Learn from what we see haha. Keep the dark lines with the dark lines…
One more… here she is tucked away in her little corner. I see a matching dining set in the future…
What do you think?
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Love this chair!!!
Lori Breukelman says
thank you 🙂
I love this!! I have a bad habit of painting any furniture I spot looking drab, and even did serious research into painting a fabric chair from my Grandma, but google convinced me it might to be the best idea. Recovering furniture totally intimidates me, but then I also never knew about this affordable fabric option…hmmm 🙂
Lori Breukelman says
my personal experience can assure you that painting is not the best idea 😉 The chair I tried painting had a bit of a texture to the fabric- it was a big mistake!
Hobby lobby is so close by now that I’m tempted (and have) recovered almost all the furniture in our home 🙂