Zita M. Hughes-Jackson
Zita M. Hughes-Jackson
  • Tutorial Team
  • Philadelphia, PA

No Sew Upholstered Chair

5 Materials
2 Weeks

What a project! Took an originally beautiful decorative chair that was destined for the trash, but decided to give it some love and attention instead. Now I am so proud of it. The best part---I did it all without sewing a thing!
no sew upholstered chair
Ugh! This is what I had to start with. Not shown are the patterns I drew by placing cloth material against each section of the chair (arms, front, back, and seat), and tracing around it. I then laid the handmade patterns onto the material I would use and cut it out, leaving about an inch or two in some areas just to be on the safe side. I could always trim it back later if I wanted. I then cleaned it up a bit by cutting off the worn material, torn foam on the arms, and any loose threads. Still gives me chills to look at this!
no sew upholstered chair
Here I have used some filling to build up the arms and to add a little bit more cushioning to the seat. It already looks better, I think.
no sew upholstered chair
Now the fun begins. Using an industrial strength fabric glue, I glued all the pre-cut pieces to the chair. Since I had to allow time for each section to dry, what you see was done over the course of about 3-4 days. I saved the arms for last since they would need a little more care. The edges of each piece met right at the seam (with some overlap where the arms are). Where the seams meet exactly I will be using a trim to cover this.
no sew upholstered chair
Here you have all of the fabric glued onto the chair. For the arms of the chair, at the front corners, I did use a hand stitch to bring the edges together since the foam underneath was a little too high for the seams to come together on its own. For the bottom edges of the entire chair I used a staple gun in addition to the glue to give it some extra holding power.
no sew upholstered chair
Here I decided to get a little creative and use a trim along with decorative tacks to reinforce the glued seams. I didn't have to use many tacks since the industrial strength glue will hold this very well, and the back will not be showing.
no sew upholstered chair
So here is how the trim that I used to cover the joined seams. In other projects I saw that piping could be used as well. However, I got more coverage of the exposed seams with a wider trim. It also covered some messy glue mistakes I made. This trim was used on the arms in front, the overlapping seams on the side of the arms, and on the back as pictured above.
no sew upholstered chair
And this is the finished product! I think it turned out very well and adds a few more years onto this very nice chair. If I could get it up to my livingroom I would put it there, but my son said "No Mom, it was too difficult to get it in the basement"! So there there she will have to stay! I hope you enjoyed reading and seeing my project. It was a lot of fun to see this transformation.
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Have a question about this project?

3 of 15 questions
  • Chi13126750
    on Dec 6, 2017

    I absolutely love this idea!! I am looking at 4 chairs that need help and this would certainly be much cheaper than sending it out to be reupholstered!! You think it would work on wing back chairs?

    • I'm sure you could. You would just make a pattern of the exact measurements and glue on. You may have to play around with the piping or trim based on what is already there.

  • Dena
    on Dec 6, 2017

    I have a corner upholstered chair that I bought on Craigslist three or four years ago. It was immaculate and was the perfect shade of blue to go with the huge canvas I just had to have of an abstract female back silhouette (black canvas, blues and whites). However, the fabric on the chair is probably the ONLY shade of blue that won't go with the canvas. So, after a week of trying to find some way to pull them together, I decided to store the canvas. The chair was used for about a month, when I discovered that my cats had determined that one side of it was a scratching post. So, into storage THAT went, too. Having it reapholstered would cost an outrageous amount, but looking for seams to attempt it myself was challenging and I didn't want to wreck it. I think I may have to pull that baby out and examine it, again, with this course of action in mind. Thank you for sharing this idea. I have hope for this chair now. Can I find the industrial strength fabric glue at any hardware store?

    • Beth Peters
      on Dec 9, 2017

      She lists E-6000 as the glue she used. You can find E-6000 at just about any arts & craft store.

  • Krafty Mrs.K
    on Jul 11, 2018

    I have used E6000 in jewelry making with glass and metal so I know it is strong. Did you only glue seams with it or the whole piece of Fabric sort of like pasting wallpaper?

    I have a sofa that we have worn out the slip covers we used to hide the ripped up upholstery. this might work on it.

    • Zita M. Hughes-Jackson
      on Jul 11, 2018

      I glued the entire fabric. Although it probably would have held by just gluing the seams, gluing the entire fabric would add extra reinforcement. Good luck!!!

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