Saturday, May 16, 2015

My Experience With Reupholstering A Wingchair ~ Part I Deconstruction

My husband and I are in the midst of our very own “Renovation Realities”. HGTV and DIY have convinced us along with multitudes of others that we can do at least as fine a job of transforming our spaces as some of the Bozos featured on TV.  I decided to start with a small project – recovering a 25-year-old wingchair that had become faded, dated and cat scratched.

The Original - In Its Glory Days 1991

 Whatever possessed me to attempt reupholstering a chair? My younger sister recovered a chair for my niece and in the photos the finished chair looked great. I knew if she could do it, I could do it. And I’d also sewn numerous 19th Century dresses that required piping. My sister told me she’d found a YouTube video for guidance.  My husband was skeptical.

I ordered the fabric after watching the YouTube video and reading some blogs. It looked like a project I could do in a weekend. But…my chair wasn’t constructed the same way as those featured in the video and on blogs. This chair had been made the old fashioned way by craftsmen that made chairs for Maitland Smith. There would be no short cuts.

First I pulled out at least 1000 staples as I deconstructed the chair as if it were an onion – ever vigilant to label each piece of fabric to use as a pattern to cut the new fabric. It took me 8 hours to pull out all of the staples. I photographed every step as I removed the old upholstery. I noted how each section was molded, stapled and sewn to the chair. Yes, sewn. The instructions I’d found did not include the upholstery being sewn to the chair – only stapled and glued with the exception of the seat cushion.  By the time I’d removed every staple, my hands were swollen,  aching and scratched.  I then understood why it costs so much to pay a professional. It’s a lot of work.