DIY Upholstery: Ikat Slipper Chair

DIY Upholstery: Ikat Slipper Chair

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One of the nice things about having a house is having a place to store all my current and future "projects."  Usually these projects are a piece of furniture or accessory that I have found that I love but that needs a little TLC.  Between my day job and a baby, I can't get all the projects done at once.  So I have an attic full of projects, just waiting for me to have the time to fix them up.   





These projects are my favorite hobby.  For some people they would seem like a chore, but I absolutely love taking a piece with unrealized potential and making it into something I love.  This red slipper chair was one of those projects in need of some TLC.







It is a freebie from my sister.  It had ended up in her first post-college apartment, and after a few years, her tastes evolved and she was ready to donate it.  Of course I can hardly stand to throw furniture away, so I stashed it away, hoping one day I could fix it up.  







I recently set up a sewing area in our downstairs den.  While it's not a room that everyone sees when they come over, I still want it to look cute.  The red chintz wasn't cutting it, so I looked into my fabric closet (another benefit of a house!) and found some navy ikat fabric that was left over from some curtains I made.  Covering the slipper chair would take only 2 yards tops, so I was ready to go!




I was a little nervous about doing an upholstery job like this, as it was a little more complicated than the typical dining room chair seat recovering I was used to.  But since the chair was free and the fabric was a remnant, I decided to go for it.





First, I stripped off all the red chintz fabric on the seat, the upper part of the chair, and the skirt.  This involved removing a TON of staples.  For me, the most important part of this step is to take pictures of how the fabric is affixed to the chair.  Which seams come first or last, where the fabric is attached to the chair, where it is gathered, where staples are hidden, etc.  You think you will remember, but it is just so helpful to take pictures as you go, just to be safe.





After removing the red chintz, I covered the seat with the blue ikat fabric.  This part was easy.  This chair was relatively new, so I didn't have to add any new foam or batting to the seat.  Make sure you center the fabric on the chair, fold the corners under neatly, and staple it tightly.  That's all there is to it!





The seat is complete!  I decided to leave the legs exposed.  The skirt was just too busy, especially with the ikat fabric.





Next, I stripped the red chintz off the upper part of the chair.  I then added the new fabric, tucking it tightly into the front of the seat and draping it over the back of the chair.







I then wrapped the fabric over the scrolled top of the chair.  I stapled it tightly at the base of the scroll at the top of the back of the chair.  The staples would be covered up by the back panel, so I wasn't worried about how they looked.







Finally, the tricky part...  the back panel of fabric.  As we all know, it's the details that make or break a room.  A sloppy upholstery job can ruin an entire room.  So far, it was easy to do the chair neatly, but I knew that one last panel would always be a challenge.





  I started with the top of the back panel, stapling the fabric flipped upside down at the base of the scroll of the top of the chair.  Doing it this way allowed me to hide these staples and cover the staples already underneath the top of the chair.  Then I stapled the inside of the right side of the back panel.  This part was easy, as I still had 2 sides of the panel that had not be attached to the chair.  The left side of the back panel was a challenge.  I used staples where I could, but because the panel needed to be pulled tightly across the back of the chair, I didn't have room to hold the staple gun upright.  So I had to finish adhering the fabric on that side with fabric glue.  I was nervous about using fabric glue, but shockingly it is completely invisible and holds the seam very tightly.  I truly am shocked at how neat it looks.  Lastly, I stapled the bottom part tightly underneath the chair.







And the finished product!  Here is a view of the back...







View of the front...







It's perfect for my sewing desk, especially since it doesn't have arms (they always get in the way when I am sewing).  I am glad that I didn't skirt it- I think it looks better leggier (don't we all?).






In short, I think a DIY upholstery job for an armless chair is doable.  I definitely don't feel ready to do a chair with arms, but this worked out well.  And it was free!





I can't wait to try it out with my next sewing project.  Stay tuned!

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