7 simple steps for upholstering a chair seat

September 4, 2015

The basics of upholstery are easy to learn, so don't hesitate to pick out a fabulous new fabric and recover that sad old chair seat! Just follow these seven simple steps.

7 simple steps for upholstering a chair seat

1. Web like a pro

  • To re-web a seat base, get some webbing, fold it under by 2.5 centimetres (1 inch), and fasten it to the centre of the rear edge of the frame with five tacks in a zigzag pattern.
  • Pull the webbing as taut as possible, and anchor with four tacks along the front edge of the frame.
  • Cut the strip, leaving about 3.5 centimetres (1 1/2 inches) of excess, then fold it back on itself and tack down with three tacks.
  • Attach other strips in the same way, from back to front.
  • Finally, do the interweaving side strips, again starting with the central strip.

2. Tack it in time

  • Replace old staples with flat-headed upholstery tacks, especially when re-covering with heavy fabric or plastic.
  • Stapling is easier, but the tacks will hold more securely.

3. Give yourself a hand

  • If you're having trouble keeping the fabric taut while you work, try using masking tape to hold the fabric edges in place.
  • Once the fabric is positioned to your satisfaction, you can start tacking, removing the tape as you go.

4. Stop the slips

  • Glue foam padding to your seat base with PVA household glue to stop it from moving around or bunching up when you're tacking down your fabric.
  • This is especially useful when working with slippery fabrics.

5. Learn from the past

  • Remove the old seat covering carefully and you'll be able to use it as a template for the new one.
  • First, iron the old fabric flat, pin it to the new fabric, then cut around it as a pattern for a new piece that will fit precisely.

6. Choose tough fabrics

  • Cottons or synthetics that have the pattern woven throughout the fabric will be much more durable.
  • Polished cottons with surface-printed patterns are pretty, but not nearly as tough.

7. Protect your handiwork

  • Dining chairs are susceptible to food and drink stains at every meal.
  • After going to all the trouble of reupholstering, be sure to spray the new seat covers with one of the many fabric protectors that are available.

Follow these seven simple steps and you'll be on your way to restoring tired old upholstered chair seats.

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