Success! A first foray into upholstery

I have hand-me-down furniture. A chair from a former roommate’s grandma, a dirty (but extremely comfortable) little arm chair from an old friend, and – I’m not going to lie – a couch that was found in a dumpster (or at least next to a dumpster, on its way to the dump with the rest of the stuff in the dumpster). The good thing about these great pieces is that they are in great shape, structurally-speaking.

But oh, the upholstery. Aside from a sweet ‘old lady charm’ of mismatched greeny-gold, pastels, and florals (the same charm that accurately describes my little blue house, though I’d like to lean farther towards the “kitschy” and farther from the “oh dear” end of that. i only have one cat, after all. Actually, when I say “old lady charm, I want you to think of this and not this.  but I digress.), it’s faded, threadbare and just plain falling apart. Well, except for the dirty chair, but that’s another post, and I’m pretty sure you can figure out the main problem with that one.

When I moved into my house two years ago, I had big plans to eventually replace the furniture with something less worn or at least something that was slip-coverable.

And then I found this wonderful introduction to reupholstery. After reading the whole 5-part series on how she so BEAUTIFULLY reupholstered a very stained cream-colored settee, I (of course) said to myself “Oh, i can do that.”

So I started with this beauty.

the yellow chair, before

sorry that I don’t have a full picture of the ‘before’ chair alone, but you get the idea of what I was working with here! The woodwork is in great condition, but, as you can see in the picture on the top right, the upholstery is quite faded and threadbare.

In any case, here’s the good news!

chair, after

Success! and even the stripes are matched!

I’m so proud of this! you’ll notice that there is no tufting on the back (tufting, for those of you who might not know, is what that buttony-business is called on the seat back of the original chair. there is none of that nonsense on this one here….) and I’m pleased with the new look. I didn’t re-build the whole back cushion, though I did use many many many small bits of old quilt batting to fill the holes and smooth everything over. In addition, this is some pretty heavy-duty upholstery fabric, so that helps with the smoothing.

I did replace the seat cushion. Best idea ever! I went from a 3″ cushion to a 4″ cushion – not only does the chair look LEAPS AND BOUNDS better, it’s also incredibly comfortable, which may move it out of the far corner of the living room and back into regular seating rotation.


Itteh Bitteh Kitteh approves. I think she’s made it her new throne.


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