Tuesday, July 13, 2010

$7 Thrift Store Chair

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The short story:



The longer version:

I've been looking for some furniture at the local thrift stores.  It's been difficult--people around here are really good thrifters, and not too proud to buy used.  Good for the planet and society, but bad for me.  It's hard to find a good item, and prices tend to be pretty high.

So when I found this baby for $7, I was pretty excited.  The simple lines were the perfect opportunity to try out my first reupholstering project, without getting in over my head.

(I'm sure some of you are doubtful that this even needed reupholstering.  I can see how the lovely orange stripes of the original would look lovely in someone's home--but not mine.  Plus, the fabric was really itchy, and I don't do itchy.  Finally, the fabric was starting to wear through on the corners, so I didn't ruin an item in perfect condition.)

The chair unscrewed from the base easily.  I got such a good deal on the chair because the joints had come loose.  With just a bit of wood glue, things were as good as new, and the chair was no longer rickety.
Bar clamps: one perk of marriage to a woodworker.

I could have restained the arms of the chair where the finish had worn smooth, but I decided that I actually like the lived-in look the chair has now.  The contrast between light and dark areas makes the nice wood joints much easier to see and appreciate.

Next, I pulled out my Bissell carpet cleaner, and gave the upholstery a good scrubbing.  I'll spare you a picture of the pounds of dirt that came out.  Cleaning it well spared me the trouble of removing the old upholstery--less work, plus I suspect it's all that's holding the old foam together.  Didn't want to open that can of worms....

I traced a rough form of the chair upholstery onto butcher paper, added seam allowances, and used that as a pattern to cut the fabric.  (It's the fabric I decided not to use for curtains, and promised you would see again.  This is the first of many projects--I've got a few yards left to go.)

To get a nice tight fit, I pinned the pieces to the chair, then gently pulled them off, and sewed the pinned seams:

Skipping ahead several iterations of fitting, sewing, refitting, sewing the next seam....  P helped out with the staple gun, and here's the finished chair!  I'm going to use it at my sewing machine in my office for the time being--once we get the living room set up, we'll probably move it in there.  Happily, though the fabric is really bright and energetic, it works well in multiple rooms of our house.


Lacy said...

I think I may have reupholstered your chair's brother for the CSI challenge. lol Our chairs look very similar in shape. You did a great job. I love the fabric you chose.

bennett said...

I love the chair! The fabric is great used this way.


Shanarun said...

Wow, great tutorial! I popped over via your comment at Thrifty Decor Chick. Fab blog!

L said...