We’ve entered a new realm: upholstering chairs. In the last few months we’ve acquired several chairs and purchased upholstering equipment to make the process easier.

I recommend watching Marian Parson’s (aka Miss Mustard Seed) 6-part video series on upholstering chairs. She offers clear explanations and shows you exactly how to do things.

We thought this 1920s cane side chair would be perfect with our writing desk that is sitting at Avonlea Antique Mall. And a good beginner’s project.

Cane Side Chair with needlepoint

Lady's Writing Desk

We planned to use the original needlepoint seat but after David pulled out all the tacks around the seat cover, we saw that it had dry rot. The textile had been weakened by  environments with poor temperature and moisture control.

We lifted off the needlepoint along with the batting and foam. In her early life this chair had a cane seat that matched her back. On her journey, though, someone cut out the cane seat and inserted a piece of retaining wood as a base to build upon.

We painted her Annie Sloan Chalk Paint Burgundy to match the writing desk. Clear and Dark Wax went on next.

You can see how we layered the base, building from the retaining wood, to the new foam cut with an electric knife, to the original batting, to the new batting.

Retaining Seat
Retaining Seat

Foam Insert
Foam Insert

Original Batting
Original Batting

New Batting
New Batting

We’ve been acquiring the necessary equipment:

I visited JoAnn’s a couple times to collect fabric swatches. Originally I tried to match the fabric with the aubusson blue, burgundy and gold of the desk. I gave up on that idea. A Waverley toile won. We practiced on scrap fabric and then plunged in. Along the way, we dealt with some issues.

If I cut the cushion cover using the old needlepoint fabric as my template, it wouldn’t be large enough because the new foam was a tad thicker and the new batting fluffier. We decided to cut the material larger than we needed and then we’d trim.

Cane Side Chair Cushion Stapled We trimmed and trimmed. In this next picture, you can see we still have more trimming to do.  I’m pleased, however, with how the fabric centered up to show a gentle pastoral scene, complete with a sheep in the lower right corner.

Reupholstering Cane Side Chair

Our search for burgundy gimp led us on a merry chase. We already had burgundy pillow cord (not gimp), but I continued to look everywhere locally for gimp. One saleslady explained that  gimp is going out of fashion: double welt is the new trend. Ahhhhh.

I took a deep breath and painstakingly cut the round cord from its fabric strip. David and I hot glued the cord around the fabric. The puffed cushion actually sits higher than the cord.

We moved the chair into Avonlea to accompany the desk. What a nice set — but they can be purchased individually. Here are our photos from this afternoon’s shoot:

Annie Sloan Burgundy Lady's Writing Desk and Upholstered Cane Chair

Annie Sloan Burgundy Lady's Writing Desk and Upholstered Cane Chair

 

Annie Sloan Burgundy Lady's Writing Desk and Upholstered Cane Chair

Thanks for visiting. We’ll see you next week.

Ann Marie and David

 

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3 Comments on A New Realm: Upholstering Chairs

  1. Gigi Harlan
    April 4, 2015 at 1:35 pm (5 years ago)

    What a beautiful set! You did a wonderful job!

    Reply
  2. alda ellis
    April 10, 2015 at 6:33 pm (5 years ago)

    Being the Southerner I am, just wondered what you did with the piece of handwork…the needlepoint. Our generation does not do much of that anymore, and it in itself is such a treasure. I would be interested to see how you repurpose the needlepoint.

    Reply
    • irisabbey
      April 15, 2015 at 8:35 pm (5 years ago)

      Alda, it appears that the inner portion, including the rose, of the needlepoint is all right. I plan to cut back the damaged fabric and see if I can put some kind of border around it, perhaps ribbon. I want to save it, if possible.

      Reply

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