New Life for an Old Chair

by A
4 Materials
3 Hours

A while back I posted a chair makeover in which I used a vintage-looking fabric and ruffles. That chair was sold to someone that wanted a mate for it. She provided the chair and I did the upcycle.

I'm posting the tutorial for this one as well, because the seat was constructed very differently from the first one. This was more involved than just unscrewing the seat, recovering it, and then screwing it back on.

This is the original chair, as it was sold to my client.

She gave me a totally different chair to essentially match the one she bought. It sounded simple enough (over the phone, LOL)

This one required a new seat...

Which was roughly cut with a jigsaw then sanded. It wasn't a perfect fit, but that gets taken care of later.

Another detail I had to work with was getting the ruffle around the seat but this brace was in the way. Removing it was the only option but the screws were practically melded into the wood! I was able to remove the lower screw on each side.

To prepare the new seat, I made a paper pattern from the wood base I had cut earlier. From that, I cut the dense foam.

Next, I covered the foam with a layer of wool felt.

I then positioned the fabric over the seat to get the right placement of the design. I then carefully flipped the whole thing over so it could be attached to the base.

Using a good stapler and 1/4" staples, I pulled up the fabric and stapled it to the base, all the way around. As I went, I made sure it remained smooth.

I trimmed away the excess fabric.

Next, I stapled the trim all around, making sure it was positioned so that it would fill in gaps when the seat was attached.

I made a ruffle...not to full, with my sewing machine and ruffling attachment. You will need basic sewing skills to accomplish this, but you don't need the attachment.

I attached the ruffle to the chair frame, using the existing seat as a guide.

To get around the braces with the ruffle, I lifted them up, attaching the ruffle underneath. I then lowered the brace and reattached it, screwing through the ruffle.

Another detail with the ruffle was getting around the back legs. I tucked the raw edge under as I went around them. Once the complete ruffle was in place, I lifted the fabric at each leg and stapled the raw edge to the leg.

Next, I set the new seat in place and flipped the chair over, resting the seat on a table.

Using #10 / 5/8" screws, I attached the new seat firmly to the old seat.

And here's the "little sister", all ready to go!

Resources for this project:
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  2 questions
  • Joan Joan on Nov 07, 2019

    Love the fabric on the seat, where can I get the exact same material?

  • Karen Stutzman Karen Stutzman on Nov 08, 2019

    This is awesome. Do you have the link for the other chair? I am doing the remove your seat one. And my material has vintage chairs(I like the teapots better😊). I really like the ruffle.

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2 of 17 comments
  • Lynne Lynne on Nov 07, 2019

    love this chair, and thanks for the idea

  • Joan Joan on Nov 08, 2019
    I found the fabric at at Walmart, thank you! By the way the chair is beautiful, nicely done!