My upholstery skills were learned by necessity. I figured if someone else can do it, then I could too. I like the challenge; even though I carry a knot in my stomach, hoping I don’t mess up and make a mistake. Here is a picture tutorial of the upholstery process of a Queen Anne inspired Channel Back chair. My sister Karri and her husband Bill assisted with this project. Tear down is a messy and dirty process. We have two chairs to recover. We tore down one chair at a time and we took lots of pictures so we could see how the upholstery goes back together. This is what we saw when we pulled the channel back off of the chair. I’d never upholstered a channel back, so the knot in my stomach was talking to me! Oh, my gosh. What did I get us into? We laid the channel back down and made a chart, just in case each roll of padding needed to be put back in the same place it came out of. This is what we were left with. Next we carefully tore the old upholstery apart so we could use it for a pattern. We found out that each channel is the same size except the two on the outside edges. On the left of this picture, you’ll see that we lined this chair. The maroon brocade fabric we chose came from the home dec department of our fabric store is light weight, not upholstery fabric. This chair won’t see a lot of heavy use and it will be great in it’s new home! We wanted a bit more padding in the back of the chair and decided to wrap each channel in some cotton quilt batting, then used some heavy black upholstery thread and zigzagged our way, from seam to seam and from top to bottom. We repeated the process until all the batting was attached to the new channels. We had a wonderful space to work! You can see that we are fitting the channel back to the chair. Notice the second chair waiting in the background. It’s very important to label each of the old pieces as you remove them. Sometimes I get a black felt pen and mark the pieces up with direction arrows and words or letters – A, B, C, ect. …anything that helps me put the new piece back on the chair the way the old piece came off. The chair is coming along nicely! The seat is tacked down and the inside arms are laid in. Now Karri and I, using a pair of needle-nose pliers and a big box of decorative tacks and a small tack hammer, will start tacking the front of the arms and the front of the seat, just above the legs. This part was a two person job. One person folds under the raw cut edge and smooths wrinkles and shapes the fabric to the chair, while the other person holds the tack with the pliers in one hand and tacks it down with the hammer in the other hand. You get the hang of it after tacking oh…300 or so tacks!
I forgot to take pictures of the seat. Basically the seat has a set of springs in it and they are wrapped with batting and inside a white fitted case. The maroon brocade seat cover is sewn with piping in the seams. The white case is slipped into the seat cover and hand sewn closed. The hand sewn seams are in the back of the chair.
Brads were tacked across the front back of the chair, the top of the front legs, the front of the arms, and the top of the back of the chair. As we placed the brads we wanted each to touch or almost touch the last brad we put in. We bent a few and had to pull them out. That’s the way it goes. It’s slow work. Adding the brads probably took us six hours. That’s ok. We were in a warm shop with some good music playing and we had fun visiting. Upholstery is hard work!
The white couch, Karri and I upholstered a few years ago.
Wow! I’ve been featured on the blog “Threading My Way” Thanks Pam.