No Sew Upholstered Chair

Zita M. Hughes-Jackson
by Zita M. Hughes-Jackson
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!
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!
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.icon
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Suggested materials:
  • Upholstery Fabric   (Local fabric store)
  • Industrial Strength Glue for Fabrics   (A.C. Moore)
  • Upholstery tacks   (Jo Ann's Fabrics)
See all materials
Frequently asked questions
Have a question about this project?
3 of 19 questions
  • Elana Gerson Elana Gerson on May 20, 2019

    Finished project looks beautiful. Question, though- are the photos / instructions out of order? On the photo where you said you added the foam (supposedly before putting on the new fabric) the fabric on the chair is already different from the previous photo......??

  • Christine Christine on Jul 03, 2019

    Did you cover the back also?

  • Lillie DeWitt Lillie DeWitt on Aug 19, 2019

    WAs wondering about the “give” that’s needed wont it come apart when you sit on it?

Join the conversation
2 of 75 comments
  • Maxn Maxn on May 05, 2020

    It looks nice, but old foam furniture like this chair are full of carcinogenic flame retardants that are now banned. You are breathing it in & coating your home every time you sit on it.

  • Phyllis K Phyllis K on May 03, 2021

    Wow! The chair turned out beautiful! Very clever to use the glue & trim.