Tag Archives: upholstery


Furniture Thrifting Friday- French Loveseat

11th December 2015


Furniture Thrifting Friday- French Loveseat

Because I love finding antique and vintage furniture to makeover, I decided to designate Friday as the day to share my awesome finds.  You know how children get so excited when that receive a new toy?  Well that is how I feel when I find a piece of antique furniture.  

Today I am sharing the little antique french loveseat I found on Craigslist this week for $100.  I have been searching Craigslist for a very long time to find a smaller scale loveseat that I can reupholster to fit our multipurpose office space, for some extra seating.   This will be the first larger scale upholstery project that Mr. Wilson and I will take on, and frankly I am a little frightened!  

french loveseat 2

You can see in the photos that the frame of the loveseat is really in excellent shape and really doesn’t need anything done to it, so we may consider leaving it natural and unpainted.

french loveseat 5

french loveseat 3

The cushions and fabric however, look like someone spilled a pot of coffee on it, or a cat peed on it.  Im hoping its not the latter of the two scenarios!


I have ordered a few fabric samples and will let you know when they come in so you can help me select the perfect fabric.  I really want to do something fun with this piece since it will be in our creative office space.  Maybe something like this Navy Polka Dot Alston Loveseat from PBteen?

polka dot loveseat


Have a great weekend!



Antique Eastlake Chair: To Paint or Not to Paint?

8th November 2015


Antique Eastlake Chair: To Paint or Not to Paint?

I was browsing a local antique store this weekend, and I stumbled upon this little antique chair.  For $15 I couldn’t pass it up, I am a chair hoarder after-all.  


Some of the thrill of finding antique or vintage pieces, is learning about it’s history.  During my research, I learned that this chair is most likely from the Victorian period 1870-1890 and fits into the category of “Eastlake” style named after Charles Lock Eastlake.  It looks like it has been hand-carved out of mahogany, because for a small chair it is quite heavy.  


I have seen Eastlake style chairs all over Craigslist and to be frank, the style is not my cup of tea. However, this chair has more subtle detail and carvings which makes it feel more feminine than some of the other Eastlake furniture I have seen.


My idol Sarah Richardson, painted a similar chair in a creamy white color to match the other furnishings in a girls bedroom she designed. Normally, I would consider painting the chair to give it a fresh new look, however I am afraid some of the detail of the chair may get lost.  Isn’t that polk-a-dot fabric adorable?


Photo Credit: Sarah Richardson Design Photography: Stacey Brandford

I have a thing with black and white striped upholstery, it is so classic and elegant.  Sarah M. Dorsey designs made over a $10 channel-back chair from the Goodwill in a black and white striped fabric, and it turned out fabulous!  


Image Courtesy of Sarah M. Dorsey Designs

I had a left-over sample of fabric from this post so you can get an idea of what the chair might look like decked-out in black and white stripes.  The fabric can be found here.


Here is another fabric option that I think may compliment the dark wood.  It is Fleur Summer by P/Kaufmann found here.  This fabric would look great in our master bedroom because we have watery-blue painted walls (Glass Slipper by Benjamin Moore).


What do you think?  Should I paint the chair or leave it natural wood?  Which fabric choice do you like…black and white striped or the floral option?  I would love your input!

Linking this post up to:

Funky Junk Interiors

Concord Cottage

C’mon Get Crafty

Cedar Hill Farmhouse

Little Miss Celebration 



How to Reupholster a Dining Chair the Easy Way {Tutorial}

30th October 2015


How to Reupholster a Dining Chair- The Easy Way

I little while ago, I purchased a french provincial dining set on Craigslist containing six cane back chairs, a dining table and a hutch.  I plan on sewing cute little slipcovers for each of the chairs alla Miss Mustard Seed which you can read about here, but in the meantime I wanted to show all of my readers how EASY it is to recover/reupholster dining room chairs.  My method allows you to remove the nasty, probably stinky, old fabric WITHOUT wasting all of your precious time removing 1,000 staples (yes, you can thank me now).

This project is particularly good for BEGINNERS at upholstery.


-Dining chairs with seat cushions that are removable

-Upholstery or Home Decor fabric of your choice (I used this Nate Berkus fabric that I got 50% off)

-Heavy duty staple gun or pneumatic staple gun (I use this one)

-Staples (I used Arrow T50 5/16″ 8mm) 

-Low loft batting (I used this)

– Needle nose pliers (to remove staples)


-Flat head screwdriver (to remove staples)

-Philips-head screwdriver or drill

-Ziploc bag for saving screws

**This project is for dining chairs with removable seat cushions.  Typically the seat cushions are attached with four screws underneath the frame.

Please don’t be intimidated by the length of this tutorial, I wanted to make sure I provided detail regarding each step so that even a beginner at upholstery can do this project.

  1. Turn your chair over and using a drill or philips-head screwdriver, remove the screws from the underside of the chair.  Place the screws in the ziploc bag for safe-keeping, believe me you don’t want to lose them!  Remove seat cushion from chair frame.

If you are re-painting your chairs, do this step prior to reupholstering your seat.  My chair was sanded down and painted in Annie Sloan’s Old White Chalk Paint.  (You can see why I am ripping off this hideously stained fabric…it’s just NASTY!!)seat-cushion-removed-from-chair

2. Flip your seat cushion over and using your flat head screwdriver and your needle-nose pliers, carefully start removing a few staples in the middle back section of the seat.  Make sure your free hand is not in the crossfire so that if your screwdriver slips, you won’t get cut (I am speaking from experience here).  You are just removing enough staples to get your scissors up underneath the fabric. (I am using a special tool designed for this type of thing, but you can just use a flat head screwdriver)


3. Once you have removed just enough staples to loosen up the fabric, insert your scissors and start cutting the fabric down towards the main section of fabric (the top of the cushion).  Be careful not to cut any of the batting or foam.recovering-a-dining-room-chair

4. Flip your cushion over so that the top is facing up and start cutting down the middle of the cushion, cutting the fabric only.easy-way-to-reupholster-a-dining-chair

5.  Once you have completely cut the fabric down the middle you can peal the fabric off the top of the cushion (although it will still be attached to the bottom of the frame via the 1,000 staples).recovering-a-dining-chair-cushion-the-easy-way

6. At this point, you are going to be cutting all of the fabric off the frame, moving along the base of the seat cushion.  The only fabric that should be left attached, is the part that is stapled to the bottom of the frame.  This way you remove the old, nasty fabric without spending the time to remove 1,000 staples!


7.  So when all of the fabric has been cut off the frame, it should look like this.


8.  You are left with all of the foam/batting intact…ready for some fresh fabric.recovering-dining-chairs-the-easy-way

9.  Next you are going to wrap the seat cushion in some low-loft batting to smooth out the old foam and give the seat a nice shape.  If your foam is in bad condition, you can replace it or add a few extra layers of batting.  Wrap and staple the batting to the bottom of the frame, pulling fairly tightly.  Trim off any excess batting.

Recovering a chair

10.  This is what it should look like when your done.  The batting should be nice and smooth without any wrinkles.


11.  Lay out the new fabric, wrong side facing up.  Place your seat cushion facing down on the fabric.  Cut out the fabric using the shape of the seat frame as a pattern, leaving a generous amount of fabric on all sides for wrapping and stapling the fabric to the frame (a good 6-7 inches depending on the thickness of the foam and batting).recovering-a-dining-chair

12. Make sure you fabric pattern is lined up and straight, then pull the fabric tightly and staple it to the frame. A tip that I learned from watching upholstery videos on Youtube, is to make sure to grip the fabric like this so that there is nice even tension and you don’t get puckering in the fabric.how-to-staple-fabric-to-a-frame

13.  First I put six or so staples in the front center of the frame, then I put some staples in the back center.  Next I put a few staples in each side of the frame.  I leave the corners free because those will be stapled last.how-to-staple-fabric-in-upholstery

14.  This is what your corners should look before you finish them.how-to-staple-corners-chair

15.  To get a nice neat corner, you are going to pull the middle of the fabric tight and staple it to the frame.


16.  Next you are going staple the excess fabric on the right to the frame, pulling it over the middle section on a diagonal.


17. Then staple the left side in the same manner.

diningchairs lef side staple

18. This is what your finished corner should look like.


19.  Once all the fabric has been stapled and secured, trim off any extra fabric.  Re-attach the seat cushion to the chair using the screws that you saved in your Ziploc bag.  And you are done! Give yourself a big pat on the back because you just finished your first upholstery project!






I am linking this post up to these amazing blogs:

58 Water Street

AKA Design

Chic on a Shoestring

Funky Junk Interiors

Sweet Pea

Cedar Hill Farmhouse

The Curator’s Collection

Pieced Pastimes


Cupcakes and Crinoline

Live Randomly Simple

DIY Show Off

The Turquoise Home

Liz On Call

Elizabeth & Co.

Home Stories A to Z

French Provincial Cane Back Dining Chairs-Before

23rd October 2015


French Provincial Cane Back Dining Chairs-Before

With the holidays quickly approaching I was in the market for a new dining room set that would accommodate my family of five, plus our extended family. I had been searching Craigslist for a while now but came up empty-handed until I stumbled upon this set.  It included 6 cane back french provincial chairs, a french provincial dining table with 3 leaves and a hutch.  For a price of $250, I couldn’t pass it up. 


Mr. Wilson was once again pretty skeptical about this purchase, given the condition of the chairs and fabric.  You can see the nasty stains on the chair fabric in the picture above.  But I could see beyond the stains and the dirt…… I had visions of Miss Mustard Seeds beautiful cane-back dining chairs dancing in my head.  She has such amazing taste and has transformed many dining chairs with some paint and drop-cloths.  Yes, you heard me right…DROP-CLOTHS!!!


Image Curtesy of Miss Mustard Seed

Although my sewing skills have progressed, making slipcovers for 6 chairs will prove a challenge for me.  Thank goodness Miss Mustard Seed has an excellent tutorial on how to make dining chair slipcovers and it looks pretty straight-forward…haha, famous last words.  I plan on using this chair as my guinea pig and so far I have removed the seat cushion and lightly sanded it.  Next, it will get a coat of Annie Sloan’s Chalk Paint in “Old White,” a creamy off-white color.  Then I plan on getting started with the drop-cloth slipcovers.


Do you think I can pull it off?  I guess we will see!

You probably noticed I do not have a picture of the table and the hutch.  That is because the table was disassembled for transport to my house.  I will write a later post on the table. 


French Settee Makeover With Chalk Paint and New Fabric

14th October 2015



French Settee Makeover with Chalk Paint and New Fabric

I found a sweet little bench on Craigslist for $75 and I new it had potential.  Unlike other chairs I’ve made-over, I knew that this bench would be a breeze to reupholster/recover with new fabric.  I really wanted to keep the natural wood, but I was not fond of the dark stain and it was just too dark for my living room.  I considered sanding or stripping it down to natural wood but I knew it would be too much work with all of the nooks and crannies.


Here is the before photo from the original Craigslist ad.


For paint, I decided to use Country Chic’s chalk paint in lazy linen, which is a nice light gray color with a blue under-tone.  This was my first time using this brand of paint, and I have to say I am thrilled with it.  It goes on so smooth and the finish is beautiful.  I purchased it locally at Vintage Prairie Home which is a cute little shop in my town.


I used just about three coats of paint to cover the dark wood and then finished it up with some clear wax.


The fabric is Dwell Studio Boteh in Jade which I purchased for $10 a yard on Ebay, not too shabby!  





The pillow was an Ikea pillow that I jazzed up with my mad crochet skills.  It was inspired by this pillow by West Elm.



I am pleased with how it turned out and I am really excited to have some additional seating in my living room.  If you missed my post on my living room re-design you can read about it here.


I am linking this post up to:

Virginia Sweet Pea

Live Randomly Simple

Elizabeth & Co.

Pieced Pastimes

Liz on Call

The Curator’s Collection

58 Water Street

The Cottage Market

I Should Be Mopping The Floor



Reupholstering Cane Barrel Chairs-Phase 4 Tufting and Upholstering

18th September 2015

Cane Chair Reveal

Reupholstering Cane Barrel Chairs

Remember these cane barrel chairs that I scored on Craigslist for $40, they are finally finished….yeaaahhhh!!!  The process was labor intensive but fairly straightforward and I learned some valuable lessons about upholstery that I will share with you in this post, along with step by step instructions on how I did it.


If you missed phase 1phase 2, or phase 3 check them out to see how I got to this point in the process.  I purchased 3 yards of Dwell Studio Leda Peony Fabric in Aquatint which was enough to cover both of my chairs, however if you are using a different print, or this is your first attempt at upholstery, you may want to purchase extra just in case.

I would highly recommend this fabric because the print is very easy to work with and you can utilize every inch of fabric, unlike other prints with one large repeat that you need to center on your chair, wasting fabric in the process.  So lesson #1 make sure you evaluate the print first before purchasing the fabric, prints with large repeats or stripes can be more difficult to work with and you may need to purchase more fabric to cover your chair which equals $$$$.

Step 1: Reupholstering the Seat Cushion

If the foam on your seat cushion is in good condition, re-use it. Unfortunately the foam on my chairs was in pretty bad condition and unusable so I had to purchase new 2 inch foam and batting. 

Lesson # 2 pre-measure your seat cushion, so you exactly how much foam you will need cut at Joanne’s.  Foam is VERY expensive, so you only want to purchase EXACTLY how much you will need for your chair.

Using the old seat foam as a template, trace and cut out the new foam.


This foam was added on top of the seat frame along with a layer of low loft batting.


Using the previous fabric that you saved from this step as a template, cut out the fabric for your seat cushion.  Add a few extra inches to the outside of the template just to make sure you have enough fabric to pull and staple on the frame.  Lesson #3 press all of your fabric with an iron prior to stapling it to your chair.  I had to use steam to get out all the wrinkles in the fabric…take my word for it, DO NOT SKIP THIS STEP!


Center your fabric on top of you seat cushion and then turn it over, making sure that the fabric stays centered and straight before stapling it to the frame.  When stapling, you want to pull your fabric and batting tight, but not too tight, making sure to be consistent with your tension when pulling the fabric.   Lesson #3 turn over your cushion every few staples and make sure that you don’t have any ripples and the fabric looks smooth and neat.  


Pull and staple the fabric leaving the front corners unstapled for tucking.


When you get to the front corners of the seat, tuck the extra flap of the material that was left unstapled underneath the side piece of fabric, concealing it and creating a clean line on the front of the seat.  


Then create a neat fold/pleat out of the remaining material and pull it down and staple it under the chair.  This is called a “tailored pleat” and you can watch how to do it here.


After you are finished stapling all the fabric, trim off the excess fabric and batting.


2. Front of Chair- Button Tufting and Stapling

First you are going to recover the buttons you saved in this step in your new fabric (I used scraps of left-over fabric from the seat).  

Cut a circle a little larger than the diameter of the button.  Using a hot glue gun, apply glue directly onto the face of your button and stick the fabric on.  Then apply glue around the sides and bottom part of button (the side where the prongs attach) and working in small sections, secure your fabric around the sides and bottom part of button.  Make sure the fabric is tight to the button and is securely glued on. Trim the excess fabric.



buttons-covered-with fabric

Using your needle-nose pliers, make sure to clamp the prongs of the button back together to make it easier for re-inserting into the chair.


Cut out the fabric for the back panel of the chair using the template you saved.  Make sure to add a few extra inches of fabric to all sides for good measure.  Iron the fabric to smooth out any wrinkles.


I applied two layers of low-loft batting to the back of the chair and laid the fabric on top of the batting, making sure the fabric is even and centered (I don’t have a photo of this).

Reupholstering-cane-chair-button-tuftingThe tufting was sewn into the back of these chairs, so I used the natural indentations/tufts and previous holes as a guide for placing the new buttons.  Starting at the top of the chair (in rows) and working down, I used my fingers to feel where the holes were made in the back of the chair, and I inserted the button into that exact spot from the front.

Lesson #4 you may need to help the fabric along to achieve the nice folds that create the “diamond” pattern between the tufts.  This video may help to clarify what I mean.

Once all the buttons have been added and tufting is complete, you are going to staple the fabric to the chair frame.

The picture below, shows numbers which represents the order in which I stapled the fabric to the frame, I don’t know if this is the correct order, this is just the way I did it. The fabric on the top of the chair was stapled to the top back part of the frame.


Make sure you are stapling the fabric into the channels along the sides, where you removed the staples during the stripping process.  


Once all the fabric is secured to the frame, carefully trim off the excess fabric.  I pulled the extra fabric taunt, which made it easier to trim.


3. Back of Chair-Tacking Strip and Welt Cording

Once the fabric is stapled to the front of the chair, you are going to apply single welt cord to the top-back of the chair.  You can see how to make this by watching this video, I used my zipper foot for this which came with my sewing machine. Glue it to the top back of your chair using a hot glue gun.  Lesson #5 do not use too much hot glue, use a thin even line otherwise it may glob out and be visible on your fabric.


Cut your back panel of fabric using the template you saved when you stripped your chair.  This panel of fabric is going to be applied just under the single welt cording using tacking strip so that the staples are not visible.  You will do this by draping your back panel of fabric over the top -front of your chair with the wrong side facing up.


This part is confusing, but basically you are stapling the wrong side of the fabric under the tacking strip so that when the fabric is then flipped back over, the right side of the fabric will be hanging down the back and no staples will be visible.  The tacking strip should be stapled just under the welt cord.  This video may help if you are confused about this part.


Flip the fabric over so that it is hanging down the back side of your chair.  You can see how clean the line looks with the tacking strip!


Pull the fabric taunt and staple the fabric to the bottom underside of the chair, working your way around the sides of the chair.  Once fabric is secure, trim the excess fabric.


Make two long strips of double welt cord using the old double welt cord as a template to determine the length you need.  I purchased this double welt cord foot which made sewing a lot easier, just make sure that the foot you purchase will fit your sewing machine.   I followed this tutorial on how to make it.

If you can thread a sewing machine and you can sew a straight line, then you can sew welt cording it is really not that difficult so don’t be intimidated.  If I can do it, you can do it too!

Glue the welt cord along the side channels of the chair with a hot glue gun, making sure to work slow and steady, only applying just enough glue to secure the cording.


Lastly, re-attach the seat to the chair using the screws you saved and staple a new dust cover to the bottom of the chair frame to keep the dust bunnies out.

I am thrilled with the finished product!  Not bad for my second upholstery project…but I couldn’t have done it without the help of Mr. Wilson!






Let me know what you think!

This post was featured on:


I am linking this up to:

I party with Remodelaholic


Must Love Home


Flamingo Toes


Aka Design

Sweet Pea

Chic on a Shoestring

Skip to My Lou



Posed Perfection

Concord Cottage

Dagmar's Home Thrifty and Vintage link party featured
Live Randomly Simple


Reupholstering Cane Barrel Chairs-Phase 3 Sanding, Priming and Painting

29th August 2015


Mr. Wilson and me are in the process of reupholstering cane barrel chairs that we found on Craigslist.   So far we stripped the chairs of all the fabric, batting and staples.   Now the chairs are ready for a fresh coat of paint!  So this post will describe phase three-sanding, priming and painting the chairs.

If you missed any posts in this series here they are: phase-1 fabric choice, phase 2-stripping the chairs, and phase 4-tufting and reupholstering the chairs.


Before painting, it is important to sand the chairs to remove the previous varnish and stain.  Sanding will also allow the paint to adhere better to the chairs.  We started with 100 grit sand paper to remove most of the finish, then used the 220 grit to smooth the wood so that there are no scratches from the the 100 grit.

reupholstering-cane-barrel-chairs-sandingThere is no need to sand the caning, because it is too delicate and you do not want to risk breaking it.  You can see most of the prior finish has been removed after a good sanding.


Once sanding has been completed, you need to wipe down the chair with a damp cloth and let it dry before priming.  Mr. Wilson selected Ultra Cover flat White Primer which is a spray primer that he purchased at Home Depot.  We chose spray paint instead of hand painting, because we wanted more of a factory/professional looking finish.  


If you are going to spray paint anything, I would highly recommend purchasing a respirator mask so that you are not inhaling any of the noxious fumes.  Mr. Wilson primed the chairs with two coats of primer, lightly sanding with a 600 (super-fine) grit sand paper in between coats to smooth out the primed finish and remove any drip spots.  We also used trash bags to protect the seat material that we left intact.


Mr. Wilson is MUCH better at spray painting than I am, I am not patient enough for spray painting and I ALWAYS end up with drips.


Because I wanted a lacquered/shiny finish on these chairs, we chose Rust-Oleum Gloss Protective Enamel Paint in white.  I wanted to go with a bright white paint color because I thought it would freshen-up and modernize the chairs.  We also purchased this spray paint at Home Depot, since it is like 3 minutes away from out house.rust-oleum-spray-paint-reupholstery

After sanding, two coats of primer, and three coats of white spray paint here is the freshly painted chair all ready for a beautiful fabric.


 After a Facebook poll, the overwhelming majority of people liked the floral print fabric, which is Dwell Studio Aquatint Leda Peony Fabric.  

leda-peony-aquatint-dwell-studio-fabricThis post described reupholstering cane barrel chairs phase 3- sanding, priming and painting. 

If you missed Phase 1 and Phase 2 here they are:

Phase 1-Fabric Choice

Phase 2-Stripping the Chairs

Stay tuned for my final post which will be a detailed tutorial on how to reupholster these chairs in the new fabric, including my first attempt at button tufting…woohoo!

I am linking up to:

Elizabeth & Co.
58 Water Street: Friday’s Furniture Fix #7