Novice Upholsterer {she trusted me with her chairs} | The Interior Frugalista: Novice Upholsterer {she trusted me with her chairs}
Novice Upholsterer {she trusted me with her chairs} | The Interior Frugalista

September 4, 2014

Novice Upholsterer {she trusted me with her chairs}

I would not call myself an upholsterer by any stretch of the imagination. Thanks to trial and error and a few good books Mr. Frugalista and I have reupholstered a handful of projects for our home like our Antique Balloon Back Chair.  So when a client asked if I'd not only give the frames of her vintage high back arm chairs a makeover but reupholster them too, I nearly broke out in hives.

Now I like a challenge and wouldn't think twice about tackling them for my own home *insert stutter here* buubuuubuuut for a client?  To make matters even more nerve wracking she was providing the fabric - her late Mother's fabric!

Disclosure: Depends Undergarments were worn in the making of this project.

High Back Throne Arm Chairs Before and After

So I laid out my terms hoping in the back of my mind that she'd decide to take the upholstery elsewhere:
  • No Tufting
  • No Deep Buttoning
  • No Vandykinging (is that a word)
  • Nor anything that required a needle
  • No Piping
  • No Double Welting
  • No anything that required a sewing machine
Not only did she accept my terms but she said, "I trust you".

Warning: This post has poor quality images.  Either my brain was in overload, my hands were trembling, or I ran out of light.  Taking good photos was the last thing on my cluttered mind so I apologize.

This is what the chairs looked like before.  You can see it's missing a finial on the top right.  I would have liked to keep them but couldn't find a replacement.  Literally the very next day after lopping them off and filling in the holes my client found the missing one.

Vintage High Back Throne Arm Chair makeover Before

After removing thousands hundreds of staples (it felt like thousands because it took several hours to remove them from each chair) I gave them a few minor repairs.  I refreshed them with Old White chalk paint and a light distressing.  Then they started taking on a new personality and I wished they were mine.  

Vintage High Back Throne Arm Chair Makeover with wood frame painted in Old White chalk paint.

By the looks of it these chairs had been reupholstered once before.  Now again I'm a novice but I'm pretty sure the springs should have been covered with burlap before adding the foam.

Vintage High Back Throne Arm Chair deconstructing

So Mr. Frugalista and I took the necessary steps to replace the old foam and batting along with adding fabric over the springs and some fibre fill on top of the foam to add extra cushioning.

Vintage High Back Throne Arm Chair reconstruction

Next up adding the beautiful and sentimental Faux Bois fabric - isn't it stunning! We made sure the pattern repeat lined up exactly the same on each chair because they would be sitting side-by-side in my client's front window.

Vintage High Back Throne Arm Chair attaching new fabric

Just like this...

Vintage High Back Throne Arm Chairs After

The obvious choice for braided gimp would have been a champagne color but with the wood being white and all the furniture in her living room white, she and I decided to use white gimp for a contrast.

Vintage High Back Throne Arm Chair makeover close up of fabric and braid gimp

Chair back front...

Vintage High Back Throne Arm Chair close up of chair back front

Chair back rear...

Vintage High Back Throne Arm Chair makeover rear facing

In the photo below you get a better shot of the light distressing on the wood frame.

Vintage High Back Throne Arm Chair close up of distressed painted frame

Not bad for a couple of amateurs if I do say so myself!

Vintage High Back Throne Arm Chairs After makeover

Vintage High Back Throne Arm Chair makeover after close up

I really hated to see these go because they looked so good in my living room.  Will I take on another upholstery job similar to this for a client...capital N capital O!  Way too stressful but I will keep practicing on furniture for my own home.

Next up, sewing a custom roman shade for our new kitchen bay window. Scratch scratch...is that hives I feel coming on?  I think I can. I think I can. Choo choo!
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