Even the simplest of changes like swapping an armchair can make all the difference in a room. If, like me, you have acquired an old armchair with a worn or dated cover and keep a throw over it in an effort to a conceal shabby chair, which constantly ruckles with use, spoiling the rest of the room, it is time to take action. I debated with the idea of buying a brand new chair, or or recovering my existing chair, which was very comfortable and sound. I found a superb new chair which would have been perfect, but the £995.00 price tag wasn’t so perfect, so decided to up-cycle my existing chair. I received a few quotes, which were fair, but with Christmas coming and wanting the chair by Christmas I opted to recover the chair myself. Well it can’t be that difficult can it? Mmmm….
I have basic sewing skills and a sewing machine, I also had a lot of fabric salvaged from my dining room curtains when I moved house I could re-use. I borrowed a book from the library, followed the basic instructions. First though, I unpicked the existing cover to use as a template for cutting my fabric. It is extremely advisable to take photo’s whilst stripping, (Ooh!) to refer to when putting on your fabric, as believe me, you will forget! I also made notes on the order the pieces had to be put on, otherwise you may well end up having to remove pieces already fixed in place.
Armed with my book from the Library of instructions and basic tools – a staple gun, staples, magnetic tack hammer and curved needles ( all available online) and lots of muscle, I began on the chair. Of course professional upholsterers can do the job in double quick time , that’s their job, and will charge accordingly, but with basic tools you can do it yourself. Make sure the fabric is suitable for the intended job, it has to be strong and durable e.g cotton, linen, wool and velvet etc. The fabric should also be appropriate to the style an character of the chair. Consider the scale of the pattern, is it appropriate to the size of the room and blend in with existing furnishings. There is a trend at present whereby one chair has lots of different fabrics on it, creating a ‘patchwork’ effect. This is great fun, and way of using up odds and ends of fabric, but do ensure that these fabrics mix together in some way, like a key colour. Also remember the nap of the fabric, otherwise if using a fabric like velvet, you could end up with one arm appearing darker or lighter than the rest of the chair. If this happened on both arms, well it would look like you intended this effect!
The hardest parts are pulling the fabric tight enough whilst securing the fabric to the wooden frame and the hand sewing of the cording if you use this. The finished result is a totally ‘new’ chair, and looks amazing and you did it yourself!