Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Reupholstering for the First Time

Over 16 years ago, Steve and I bought our first brand new couch, love seat, and chair. Before that we had always had used furniture. After raising two kids and a dog, the upholstery on our furniture has definitely seen better days.  We thought about buying new furniture, but both the chair and love seat (we got rid of the couch a few years back) are in great structural shape despite all of the years of  kids and a dog jumping on them.  For the last few years I have been covering the chair with a sheet.  It is pretty much "Izzy's chair" anyhow.  She sits on the arm of the chair and keeps a close eye on the neighborhood.  However, both the furniture fabric and the sheet on the chair are an embarrassing eyesore.

So many stories and snuggles have been shared in this chair over the years.
I have tried talking myself into reupholstering the chair many times, but wasn't sure I could do it.  Then I read this article from Mother Earth News on how to reupholster furniture.  I liked how the author referred to her chair as her "teacher".  For some reason that made sense to me- learn from the furniture. 

After reading the article, I was pretty certain I wanted to give this a try and everything else seemed perfect -  JoAnn's Fabric was having a 50% off sale on their upholstery fabric and I wasn't teaching a full load yet so I had extra time for a project.  The only thing I needed was a partner.  Alexander was the chosen one.  I knew the chair would be like a puzzle as we took it apart and he would remember how the puzzle went back together.

I love the way he studies things to memory.

We started out by measuring the chair and figured out how much fabric "we thought" we would need.  I found the colors I liked and we were ready to go.

A few things we learned along the way are that it takes a lot more time to reupholster a chair than you might imagine and when the article you are reading says to buy more fabric than you think you will need - do it!  We realized along the way we were short on fabric and after going to two different stores, we were not able to find the same fabric. I picked out a fabric one night after work that Alexander didn't approve of and after I got in the car to come home, felt was wrong too.  Luckily you can return cut fabric.  Alexander went with me the next day and helped me pick out a complementary fabric. He is actually happy with how this mistake turned out because he likes the contrast of the two fabrics and feels it looks like we planned it from the beginning.

We overstuffed the arm cushions a bit, but I doubt it will take Izzy long to smoosh them down.

Working side by side with Alexander was fun.  I think we were both fascinated with how the chair came apart and how we could put it back together.  Although we followed the directions of the article at the beginning, we did find out that the chair was our "teacher" and we took directions from it soon after getting started.  After seeing the results of our hard work, we are both excited to tackle the love seat on my next extended break from work.  Luckily I never planned to have it match the chair exactly since we obviously won't have fabric for it.